Dusting Off The Old Negative Split

Saturday provided a rather interesting practice run, and got me thinking about pacing strategy. The LMJS training group previewed the Tilden Tough Ten course which we will be racing in two weeks.. This is an out-and-back along four somewhat hilly miles of asphalt trail and a fifth mile of very hilly dirt trail. I had a vague plan to do some tempo running during the session but started out at a very easy pace, chatting with my fellow runners, and enjoying the beautiful weather. This was easy running. When I got to about mile 5, I found myself alone and started to increase the effort level. Miles 5 and 6, being on steep trail chewed up by cows, were necessarily slow,  and I didn’t push it too hard, walking up the steepest hill.  Once I got back on the asphalt trail I got down to business, staying close to tempo effort the rest of the way. Not race effort, just tempo. I got a surprise when I looked at my watch at the end. I had completed the course just 68 seconds slower than I raced it last year.  OK, that was a hot day, but it still seems that the easy-then-hard effort had produced an efficient result. Here’s the course profile from my Garmin.

Looks like a positive-split course, does it not? dropping about 200 feet on the outbound leg, then gaining it back on the return. But if you don’t count the middle two miles of trail, it looks much more even. Still hilly though.

Although it’s a trail race, there are some pace goals here. Running it sub-80 minutes gets you an imprinted shirt, and there are others for sub-70 and sub-60. Last year no one went sub-60. I only have to cut 6 minutes from my practice time to get a sub-80 shirt. Rather than try to compute a pace for each mile, I shall simply have the Garmin display average pace from the start which will give me an idea how I’m doing relative to that 8:00 goal. Last year the middle two miles took me 20 minutes., so the other 8 should average about 7:30 pace. My plan is to get to the 4 mile marker at 7:35 pace, and the 6 mile marker at 8:15 pace, about 90 seconds in arrears. Then I will “put the hammer down” as they say, and claw it back in the last four miles. That’s the plan, anyway.


4 Responses to “Dusting Off The Old Negative Split”

  1. 1 Flo May 4, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Sounds like a great run you had. Also sounds like a tough race, but I love how fast you are compared to last year, no matter if it was a hot day, that’s very exciting. That shirt will be yours!

  2. 2 jime2 May 4, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    You’re quick off the mark, Flo! Pace yourself….

  3. 3 Loraine May 5, 2010 at 7:52 am

    Neat plan. You could definitely wear that shirt! I’ll be at the first out/last water stop, so hope to see you blasting past on your final couple of miles.

    I’ll be wishing for a much cooler day this year and a lot less runner-down drama for all.

  4. 4 Flo May 15, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Good luck tomorrow, Jim!! Sending you speedy trail kickin’-ass vibes your way. Go Jim Go! WOOHOO!!!!! 🙂

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Race PRs

5K20:43 (LMJS 6/28/09
12K54:36 (Across Bay 3/21/10)
15K1:09:51 (LMJS 19/27/09)
Half1:31:28 (Kaiser 2012
Marathon 3;13:14 (CIM '11)


May 2010
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