After last’s week disappointment of fading hard in the final mile and getting passed, I decided to lean on my training partner Lana. Saying that I trust her is such an understatement. We have 5 races in this series which is giving us a chance to try different strategies and techniques. Last week at Race The Landing, I averaged a 6:55 pace. Here is a look at what my splits were:
mile 1: 6:48
Mile 2: 6:52
Mile 3: 7:26
.1 finish: 8:13 (I clearly had no juice left in my tank to sprint it out)
This week we decided to play with pacing. We agreed that no matter what, we would not let our first mile be any faster than a 7:00 pace. We were going to try and negative split this beast of a course and see how it effected our time. Our goal was to start at a 7:00 pace and go down from there. The idea behind this was that we wouldn’t go out too fast, we’d have enough energy to get faster as the race progressed, and I’d have lots of steam left in the tank to sprint the finish. Ideally, my time for the race would be almost exactly the same as my time last week but the race would feel better and I’d be rabbit hunting at the end of the race instead of being the rabbit that everyone is passing. It can really change your mood when people are passing by you left and right at the end of a race because you ran out of steam.
I honestly didn’t know if this was going to work the way we hoped but I was willing to give it a try.
We got to the race and got our bibs and this weeks special goodie which were a pair of Race the Landing socks. We headed back to the car to throw the items in there and off for our warm up we went. Even though the weather was hotter and more humid, our warm up was faster than last week but didn’t feel any harder. The shade that was coming from the sunset and the cool breeze was certainly helping. After our mile and a half-ish warm up, we went to the start line to run some sprints. We did 4 quick sprints to get our muscles going and went over our plan of attack again. I told Lana to force me to go slow if I started out too fast. We got to the start line and off we went.
Mile 1: I promised Lana we would not take this mile any faster than 7:00 pace. I watched Lana as she looked at her watch and gave me the thumbs up that our average pace was on point. We clocked in our first mile at 7:05. A little slower than we had hoped but this was our first time playing with negative splits so we were both happy that we didn’t have to say we went out too fast. My legs felt great and this mile felt too easy. We were going along at a super easy pace and I felt like we should have been pushing harder but I trusted the plan.
Mile 2: This is where Lana and I needed to rev our engines just a little bit. We wanted to bring the pace up a little bit and see how well we could manage negative splits this race. My legs still felt well but I didn’t focus as much on my watch as I usually do. I went based off of feel and Lana pushing me. We clocked in mile 2 at 6:59. We were completely successful in bringing up the pace. Although mile 2 hasn’t been my problem thus far, it’s been mile 3. I was a little worried because by the end of mile 2 I was feeling tired.
(Photo by: Brian Fancher Photography) Check out how bad ass Lana looks!
Mile 3: So the plan was to speed up a little bit more in the third mile but that didn’t really come out as planned. BUT I didn’t fade. I didn’t fall as hard as I have been. I clocked in mile 3 at a 7:05 pace which means I ended at the same pace that I started with a faster mile in the middle. I will absolutely call that a success. At this point I saw the finish line and I was going to give everything in my engine I had left.
.1 sprint was at a 4:38 pace. I’ve NEVER run at that pace before, so to go that fast was absolutely absurd for me. If you remember last week I was finishing this sprint at over an 8 minute pace. I nearly cut my pace in half and was sprinting faster than ever. This was all because we stuck to our guns and started out slower, allowing our body to preserve energy for the whole race.
I ended up finishing the race in 21:36 which was only 5 seconds slower than last week. This week was hotter & more humid and yet I only was 5 seconds slower. I am so excited that I trusted Lana to put into effect this idea of pacing for negative splits over going out as hard as I could. I was really nervous at mile 2 that I was going to fade and be slower than the previous week but it all ended the same. Even though my time was basically exactly the same, the race was executed so much better. I felt better at the end of the race. I wasn’t being passed at the end of the race. I was able to do the rabbit hunting and had enough energy to sprint out the end of the race faster than ever. This race has given me such a huge confidence boost that I needed after two weeks of fading at the end of races. I’m going to use this technique going forward for improvement.
After the finish I turned around to see Lana finish since she was right behind me, killing it as usual. We grabbed some water and sat down to talk about how awesome our strategy worked out for this race. After getting our medals and chatting with a few running friends, we headed out for a short cool down. I was so ready for a celebratory beer though.
This week for food we had a choice of ribs or turkey, collard greens, rice with okra, mixed vegetables and a roll. The beer this week was provided by Frothy beard and was absolutely delicious. The awards this week were cute dogs! I had so much fun with so many of my runner friends. It definitely made for a great night out.
Overall I could not be more happy with this race. Sometimes achievements don’t come in the form of a personal best. For me, achieving even splits and executing a great race is reason for celebration. I hope I can take what I learned from this race and implement that strategy going forward.