Knowing When to "Go" to Run Negative Splits (Runner's Tribe)

One of the joys of podcasting is getting to pick the brains of people who have helped to define their industry. Greg McMillan is one of those people. The veteran running coach, creator of the McMillan Calculator, and author of three books joined us on Fueling the Pursuit to discuss the mental side of training and his new book, Running Nirvana: 50 Lessons to Elevate Your Running (Amazon**).


I covered a couple fun topics from his book in my newsletter (here and here), and in my latest article at Runner's Tribe I explore how Coach McMillan's concept of "Go Zone Racing" can be used to run negative splits. Here's the middle section explaining the problem with trying to sustain a consistent effort level.

Why consistent effort results in positive splits

When we assume the effort required gradually gets harder, we set ourselves up to run positive splits. That’s because our energy isn’t being used up along a linear curve. We’re going to feel more tired at the halfway point than we expect. 


This is true of any race distance but it was always particularly apparent for me when I raced the mile. I was a 5k/10k guy, so I enjoyed the mile as a “short race.” But I found it so hard to stay on the pace in the third lap. I would hit 800 meters at what felt like a reasonable time but my body was already screaming to just hold my effort, to save a little for the end. When I did, I always ran a slow third lap. 
Time lost by maintaining a consistent effort level
I see this with many runners. Even if we gradually increase our perceived level of effort, our fatigue increases faster and our pace starts to slip. And as we get more and more tired, we keep telling ourselves to just hold on, and we slow even more. Then we kick it in and regain some of the time we lost, but not enough to get negative splits or, often, our goal time.


As you can see in the second diagram, the red section above the line (our time lost) is far greater than the green section below (our time gained).


That's the problem. If you want the solution, read the full article and be sure to pick up Greg's book. Or heck, go all in and hire him to coach you!


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