Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Negative Splits

I run too fast. For me, that is.
I know it, too; I just can't seem to do anything about it. I just have this phobia of looking down at my watch and seeing the first number of my pace in double digits. But my long run this past weekend helped me get over that phobia a bit.
A bit.
I had a 10-mile run scheduled this past Sunday. But Saturday, though, the Eastern Seaboard was hit with a freak snowstorm that left us with sloppy, wet snow all over, and overnight temperatures in the low 30's. When I woke up Sunday morning and took the dog out before my run, it was 33 degrees, and the blacktop was a bit slick. I knew that my run was going to be treacherous, but I went anyway.
Leaving my house is an immediate 2% grade up the hill for about 1/2 mile to the main road, and then it's a 2% grade decline for the next mile. The footing was dicey, to say the least, on both the incline and decline. I passed 2 women running up the hill as I was going down, and I asked them if it was icy - their 2-word response? "Oh, yeah..."
The result of this is that I ran my first 2 miles at about a 10:30 pace, about 45 seconds per mile slower than I usually go for an easy run. This continued for the next mile before I got to the W & OD Trail. Luckily, the trail was bathed in sunshine as I was heading east, and it dried the road somewhat, but I was still going at about a 10 minute pace fpr the next 2 miles, being overly cautious.
At the end of my 6th mile, though, I noticed that I ran that mile at my usual easy pace, 9:45, and was comfortable enough in my footing that I was keeping that pace for the next few miles. So I'm in mile 10 when it hits me - I'm running negative splits!! My last 4 miles have been faster than my first 5...I had never been able to achieve that on a long run before, simply due to my 10:00 phobia. I actually ran mile 10 slightly faster than my easy pace, around a 9:35. And I came to the conclusion (after being bullheaded for the past 3 years) that negative splits work! I was less sore after my 10 miler than I think I've ever been, and less tired during the day.
So in my continuing evolution as a runner, count me as convinced that negative splits are the way to go.
Now if I could only convince myself to run that way in a half-marathon...

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