New Plan to Negative Split

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Good afternoon!  I am having trouble with my Internet – bah!  Hopefully this post goes through at all.  :)  Oh, James says hello.


Earlier this morning I put together my game plan for tomorrow’s Half Marathon.  As you know, my goal is to finish in under 2 hours.  My previous Half Marathon times are 2:05 and 2:03, so this is definitely attainable.


The issue I have been having with races is that I have been unable to pace myself correctly.  I have started off fast, and ended up crashing at the end – like I did at my last 15K.


Miserable face:


To ensure this doesn’t happen at my Half Marathon, I’m going to aim for Negative Splits, starting off slow (for me) and finishing fast and strong.


I plan to run miles 1 – 3 in 9:30, miles 4 – 7 in 9:15, 8 – 11 in 9:00, 12 –13 in 8:30, and then I’m going to haul ass across the finish line.  That’s the game plan, anyway.  :)  Who knows what will happen?


I’m either going to cover this paper in tape (so I don’t sweat it off) or write the splits in marker on my arm so I can remember my goal paces.


Eck!  I’m getting nervous (and excited).


Lunch was lame:


Just a veggie burger with mustard and cucumber, plus a lot of Colorado Kernals cheddar popcorn (times two of what’s shown).



Need to go find some fruit!


And I’m off to get work done!  I have the Canon Rebel camera class tonight, which I’m super excited about.  I will take loads of notes so I can share my knowledge, too. 


If you’re a runner, cyclist, or triathlete, what is your “technique” for races?  Do you just go balls to the wall or do you actually form a game plan?



  • Diana November 13, 2009, 12:35 pm

    Aw, good luck on your class! 🙂 It’s definitely useful to learn more about the camera you’re using.

  • Sana November 13, 2009, 12:38 pm

    Have fun at your camera class! It’s a good thing there is one 🙂

  • Evan Thomas November 13, 2009, 12:39 pm

    Lunch was not lame. Cheddar popcorn is never lame 🙂

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite November 13, 2009, 12:39 pm

    I’m a runner, but I promised myself a few years back that I wouldn’t run for “time” anymore.

    I found I always put pressure on myself and when I didn’t meet my goals, I felt down 🙁

    So, I vowed to never “run for time” again and just enjoy the race! It’s the best decision I’ve ever made! The funny part is that my times got better without even trying. When I run I just take my time.

    Probably not the advice you were looking for… but thought it was worth posting 🙂

    Good luck this weekend 🙂

  • *Andrea* November 13, 2009, 12:40 pm

    VEGGIE BURGERS ARE NOT LAME 😉 haha. the popcorn looks delicious! i love gourmet popcorns. when i run roadraces i usually try to pace myself evenly the firs 3/4 and then pick up steam for a grand finale 🙂

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) November 13, 2009, 12:41 pm

    I like to repeat the time to myself as I run. I have my HRM so I can check it and push myself when I need it 🙂

  • Jessica (Mile High Jess) November 13, 2009, 12:41 pm

    I just set my Garmin to beep at me when I’m moving too fast or too slow. That range (usually about 30 secs or so) keeps me in check. The too fast beeps constantly at the end when I pick up the pace when the finish line is in sight. I try not to put too much pressure on myself. When I do that, I perform worse than if I just go to finish. But then again, I’m still a pretty new runner.

  • Carrie H November 13, 2009, 12:42 pm

    I’ve run two half marathons and I tried to do what you’re planning (without the exact mileage time planned). I start out a little slower and really pick it up at the end. It’s a little nerve wracking to see everyone pass you at the beginning, but then at the end, you’re passing those same people! It feels so awesome! My first time was around 1:58 and my second was 1:52. You’re motivation for me as a runner, so I KNOW you can get under two hours if I can!

  • Madeline @ GreensAndJeans November 13, 2009, 12:43 pm

    My strategy is pretty different for cycling and running races. I was a hardcore cyclist in college and in those races (criteriums were my specialty) I would stay towards the front of the back, but not in the front until the last lap and then I’d really gun it. When I run I’m usually not setting out to win, but just to set PRs and have fun. I always start off fast, like so many runners do, but I manage to reel myself in by the 2nd or 3rd mile and just get into the zone. I have been running since junior high so I know “my” pace and what I can and can’t do to get my butt across that finish line! I always try to kick it into the next gear during the last mile though!

  • Dori November 13, 2009, 12:44 pm

    I used to start off fast to get through the crowd but then I would burn out SO quickly. The hardest run I’ve ever had wa a 1 mile race where I just pushed myself way too hard! Now my strategy is to start off at a slow, comfortable place and speed up later on when I am feeling good and it’s not so crowded with people around me.

  • Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers November 13, 2009, 12:46 pm

    BALLS TO THE WALL baby! I’m not competitive AT ALL & just race to enjoy the atmosphere & experience. no planning in the least for this gal.

  • MegaNerd November 13, 2009, 12:47 pm

    Balls to the wall.

    I don’t mess around.


    You’re gonna rock tomorrow. You’re setting yourself up to do awesome with your positive attitude, and taking the time off your body needed. You got this, Caitlin!!

    Btw…Do you want me to come with you and K tomorrow, or show up later for picture taking?

  • Megan November 13, 2009, 12:48 pm

    I always go out WAY too fast and end up finishing slower than I know I can. I’ve been practicing going out slow and finishing fast on my long runs so I get the feeling down (and see that you CAN run at a faster avg. pace this way). We’ll see if it works for me at the Philly half next weekend…

    oh, and DEF write it in sharpie on your arm..way more hardcore 😉

  • Dee November 13, 2009, 12:53 pm

    James’ ears are so symmetrically cute! Your race plan is PERFECT. This is a very smart strategy and I’m guessing you’ll earn a PR if you stick to it! Just trust yourself and don’t get too anxious when you see others zooming past you in the beginning. The best part of racing smart like this is that you’ll pass many, many other runners during the last several miles of the race which is a big brain boost and will keep you going when it becomes tough. Good luck!!

  • Allison November 13, 2009, 12:55 pm

    Love the game plan, but don’t get down on yourself if you don’t hit your time. Just finishing is a HUGE accomplishment!

    I’d like to read about your plan for hydration and nutrition before, during, and after a half. I’m running/walking a half in March and am working on my plan for that day.

  • Ali @ Food, Fitness, Fashion November 13, 2009, 12:59 pm

    Look like a good plan Caitlin. I come up with a plan too, I start off really slow and gradually built on that pace and then make up for the slow start towards then end. I makes races much more enjoyable for me. I has an awful race once and learned my less after that FOR SURE!!!

  • legalstyle November 13, 2009, 1:00 pm

    can’t wait to see the notes from your canon rebel class. i’ve got one, too, and always love reading about photography / cameras.

    your pictures are looking beautiful, by the way!

  • Nicci@NiftyEats November 13, 2009, 1:01 pm

    I just startign runnign again, soI’m trying to stick with a plan.

  • Jenna November 13, 2009, 1:02 pm

    i hope your plan works!

  • whitney November 13, 2009, 1:04 pm

    I love your little bracelet. I usually try to pace myself. If I start out to fast I can never finish. I feel that is where a lot of people fail. Putting all your effort in the beg. sets you up for a severe challenge and horrible feelings at the end. My first mile is always my slowest and I work my way up so that I can finish strong at the end.

  • Allison November 13, 2009, 1:06 pm

    I always negative split. I think the only time I would go “balls to the wall” would be in a 100 meter dash. There’s no way I could run even a 5k all out! Just trust your plan and don’t speed up too much if your first couple of miles feel easy- they should feel easy! The easier your first couple miles feel, the better your last few miles will feel.

  • Whit November 13, 2009, 1:14 pm


  • megan November 13, 2009, 1:16 pm

    I used to stress myself out way too much, so now I focus on just enjoying the run and accomplishing the distance. I try not to have a set time in my head (although i always do unfortunately), and I don’t even like anyone other than my husband to know what my time is. kinda crazy, but it helps me enjoy it and not dread it.

  • simpledaisy November 13, 2009, 1:22 pm

    I run and bike!! I NEVER have a game plan….maybe I should!! I also don’t participate in all that many races!! I do like them because they give you a goal to work towards!! Good luck:)

  • Natalie November 13, 2009, 1:25 pm

    I’m a runner and I always turn to negative splits when racing longer distances. I think it is the best way to finish strong and prevent “hitting the wall”. Good luck this weekend!

  • kirsten November 13, 2009, 1:27 pm

    good luck tomorrow lady!! can’t wait to read the recap!! 🙂

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is November 13, 2009, 1:30 pm

    I bet that Canon class will be so much fun!

  • Matt November 13, 2009, 1:31 pm

    I pace myself according to my goals for the race. If I am going all out, I will push myself depending on how I am feeling that day.

    As for the pace band… You have a Garmin right? You can setup a pacing feature to help you on raceday. Just open the program and it is easy as pie to make.

  • Britt - Runnerbelle November 13, 2009, 1:31 pm

    For longer races my first couple of miles I usually see as my “warm up” and then I try to fall into a comfortable race pace. I usually aim for consistent effort, I’ve never been good at negative splits. All the marathons I have done, my 2nd half has always been slower. I’ve tried to take it easy the first half, but I feel so good and the excitement of the races gets me every time. I do use pace bracelets though, most big marathons offer them and they definitely help me gauge where I am at.

    Best wishes this weekend!!

  • Whitney @ Lettuce Love November 13, 2009, 1:37 pm

    I just got into running and I am loving it. Good luck this wkend 🙂

  • alli November 13, 2009, 1:37 pm

    good luck! you can do it! i admire your determination!
    i was just writing out my “plan” for tomorrow. i dont have a race, just a “fun” 14 miler. after your post last week i was so motivated to see if i could do another 13.1, which i did. but now i want to push myself a little farhter tomorrow. thanks to you, i am actually thinking about considering a marathon distance. 🙂 i was wondering where you got your training plan, or did you make it yourself? i’m not sure if i should do one long run per week or not, and what lengths my other runs should be.

  • kilax November 13, 2009, 1:42 pm

    I almost ALWAYS start off too fast! I am excited to hear how you do tomorrow!

  • Jessica November 13, 2009, 1:43 pm

    I love that you wrote down your splits! That’s awesome. Also, to answer your question I guess I technically go balls to the wall! HAHA

    I have found that I naturally run negative splits. Weird, I know. I always just start out at a nice pace. I find that I don’t let it get to me that people are passing me because I know that in a few miles, they’ll be huffing and puffing and stopping or walking and I’ll be pacing myself right on through. I also like to pick out people near me at the beginning who take off like a bat out of hell and see if I can’t pass them before the finish line (not to sound like I’m bragging, but I normally do :))

    I guess I would just say, as a piece of advice and as others have said, don’t let people passing you at the start bothering you. Pacing is super important in running and if you can do that well, then you’ll achieve any goal!

    GOOD LUCK!!!! You’ll do great!

  • Nicole November 13, 2009, 1:52 pm

    Oh, no no. I never go out without a plan. It doesn’t have to be as detailed as yours is (although I do like detail!!), but it is good to have some type of plan. Lately, the half marathons that I’ve been running have had a lot of hills, so I can’t make up a detailed list of paces like you. I’m glad that you are aware of your racing “issues” and you are willing to do something about it. Don’t let people passing you get you fired up. Concentrate on YOUR plan. You will pass them towards the end when they hit their wall, trust me!

  • brandi November 13, 2009, 1:54 pm

    i think that sounds like a great plan!

    that popcorn looks so, so good. cheesy and caramel corn are one of my weaknesses.

  • Angela (Oh She Glows) November 13, 2009, 2:01 pm

    I usually form a game plan, but end up going balls to the wall (love that expression, haha).
    I love your wrist guide…how smart!!

  • Pete November 13, 2009, 2:13 pm

    Good luck with the race! I used a pacing band in my last half marathon and it helped. Ultimately your body needs to be able to keep up with the pace, so listen to your body just as much as the wrist band. One thing to note: If you are running 8:30 pace, then you can finish the last 0.1 miles in 51 seconds (not 90 seconds). If you think you will want to go even faster, then 8:00 pace is 48 seconds for 0.1 miles. You might want to allocate those extra seconds to other miles in your plan. Or you can just be surprised when you finish BELOW two hours!

  • pen November 13, 2009, 2:17 pm

    Good Luck Tomorrow!!! Running negative splits is the best…I always get so energized as I pick people off as they fade.

    I’m totally a “plan” girl…however, those plans rarely ever stick. My last big race was the Chicago Marathon and my plan was to run it as a “warm up” for the Philly Marathon. Then I got out on the course and decided to bust my little rear for a BQ. I felt great and would have hated myself if I didn’t see what I could do.

    For me, it’s all about going in with a plan and tweaking it as you see how you feel on race day.

  • Lindsey @ EatReadRun November 13, 2009, 2:38 pm

    I can’t wait for your feedback about the Canon class! I have a similar idea as far as sticking to my splits for the next marathon I run. I was going to laminate the splits and tape them to my watch. Goodluck with your plan – interested to see how it works for you.

  • Ada November 13, 2009, 3:00 pm

    I’m a triathlete and have found that it’s best to just sprint as much as possible and don’t restrain anything. My motto is “everything is eventual”, so you know you will make it through the race and think back on it later.

  • Katie November 13, 2009, 3:42 pm

    PLans never work for me. I am not fast enough to worry about time I discovered so I just run to be running!

    I can’t wait to hear about the class. I’m using my Rebel as a point and shoot because I have NO idea what to do with it!

  • Mel November 13, 2009, 3:44 pm

    I like to have a plan. I feel like there are so many things you can’t control on race day, that it makes me feel more secure. HOWEVER, because you can’t control things like weather, your stomach, etc, I always have a plan B, too. Anyway, I tend to be too conservative in my races IMHO. But I’d rather have something in the tank and finish strong. In half marathons I do a jogging warmup till I’ve broken a light sweat. Then, I make sure to take the first mile easy, which usually turns out to be faster than I think.

    Good luck, I bet you’ll do GREAT.

  • stephanie @ Foodie McFood November 13, 2009, 3:46 pm

    I have the opposite problem you do. I start out too slow and then byt the time I realize I should speed up, the race is almost over and I always feel like I could have gone faster sooner. I’m too conservative, I guess? So, I am working on starting slow, but then trying to find the right time to pick it up so I don’t conk out too soon.

    Good luck!!

    • Anne November 13, 2009, 6:25 pm

      I had that problem when I ran my first 5k–then I started doing acceleration gliders (!
      This really helped me to make sure I speed things up when I need to! It also helps me to go faster with less effort–always a good thing. It’s nice if there are mile markers in the race (if you don’t have a Garmin or equivalent) so you know how far into it you are, so you can gauge your progress. Hope this helps! I’m still trying to get faster, but I’ve never had a time as slow as my first 5k again by doing these.

  • Katie @ Life Discombobulated November 13, 2009, 3:47 pm

    Your strategy sounds great! I’m pulling for you and can’t wait to hear how it goes! I bet that with the motivation from the last race, you’ll be ready to GO!
    When I ran my first half marathon, I had no strategy. I had a goal time, but mostly just wanted to finish. When I ran my second one a month ago, I decided to take it easy for the first few miles, pick it up around mile 3 or 4 if I was feeling good, then kick ass for the last mile. I did all but the last part — I was SO spent by mile 12, that I just couln’t go any faster. BUT, I pr’d by 9 minutes, and overall felt like I had a great race.

  • TorontoGirloutWest November 13, 2009, 4:10 pm

    Don’t stress to much about it – you’ll do just fine! 🙂

    As for me – I’d like to pretend I have a plan but I’m just content to finish. lol

  • Joelle (The Pancake Girl) November 13, 2009, 4:22 pm

    Oh, so smart that you’re taking a class on your new cam.. I have a simple camera and still feel like I could use some teaching haha.

  • Tami November 13, 2009, 4:23 pm

    i realize you made your own but for future races

    this band worked well for me, i got under 2 hours at a half once. you need to start slow and not get caught up in the racae, it’s your race not anyone elses

  • Julia November 13, 2009, 4:42 pm

    I’ve run three HM, and have VERY similar splits as you, and was able to bust through the 2 hour mark on my second HM. My strategy was BALLS TO THE WALLS all the way. I took mile one as a warm up and just ran my little heart out. I did this thing where I RUN for three cone lengths then jog for one cone length, etc. This really kept my focus… if I don’t focus enough, I fall back into my more comfortable/slower pace without even noticing. Also, find a faster person, and cling onto their heels for dear life.

    You can do it Caitlin! Good luck!

  • jewels November 13, 2009, 4:50 pm

    I think its an awesome idea, i haven’t done this for running but i was a competitive swimmer my whole life, all through college and we analyzed/planned/ and trained based on the perfect splits for a race. It seems like you formulated a good plan based on whats good for you!

    GOOD LUCK!!!

  • Andee (LAEasyMeals) November 13, 2009, 5:19 pm

    Good luck tomorrow! You can definitely hit sub 2 hours with all your training and dedication 🙂 My plan is really to go all out and enjoy the race course. My last marathon in October, I was shooting for Boston time so it was pretty miserable to be so attached to my Garmin and try to hit every mile split perfectly. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you what the course was like or how scenic it was. I was so focused on the time that it was all I thought about for the whole 26 miles. I actually ended up pushing myself too hard and coming in 2 minutes faster every mile that when I hit mile 20, I completely tanked and hit the wall physically and mentally. Long story short, I was too late by 7 minutes to qualify, sometimes you just need to go with the flow when it comes to races. You have good and bad running days, just trust in your training and know that you are prepared. The hard part is over (the training), the race is the celebration.

  • Paige @ Running Around Normal November 13, 2009, 5:28 pm

    I think this is a great idea! Good luck, Caitlin! I’ll be rooting for you 😀
    I don’t know why but I LOL’d at your “Lunch was lame” statement hehe

  • Carolyn November 13, 2009, 5:48 pm

    Good luck on your half marathon! I need to take a class like that, but I think my camera is too old. 🙁

  • ida November 13, 2009, 6:18 pm

    Great idea planning out your splits. I hope your achilles doesn’t give you any trouble

  • Shannon November 13, 2009, 6:38 pm

    Good luck tomorrow! I just ran my first half last weekend and it was great!!

  • Sammi November 13, 2009, 7:20 pm

    I’ve only ran two races but my ideal would be to start out at a pretty slow pace for a long race and then build up. I always give it everything that I have at the end (previously it has been for the last .2 of a mile). Running as fast as I possibly can at the end is probably my favorite part of the entire race. I love the way I can pass people at the very end! It’s a major ego booster and it’s awesome not having to worry about burning out since it won’t matter since I do it at the very end.

    Good luck tomorrow! I can’t wait to hear about how you do! You’re definitely an inspiration for me!

  • skinnyrunner November 13, 2009, 8:03 pm

    i never have a game plan, i just go on how i feel that morning. normally i have my best races when i think ill just run for fun instead of time.

  • AM November 13, 2009, 8:04 pm

    C, don’t forget to factor in that the half might be a few tenths of a mile longer (due to the way races are measured). The last half I ran was closer to 14 than 13 — I was so mad about my time! (And that was from start to finish line, not from when the gun went off. The actual course was longer.)

    • caitlin November 13, 2009, 9:52 pm

      yes! that is why i buffered in loads of time at the last 0.1 mile 🙂 well not loads, but hopefully enough.

  • Ann K November 13, 2009, 9:06 pm

    I get to the front of the pack before the start and then I start off as a slow pace. Let all the crazies pass me for the first 5-10 mins. and then watch them all drop as you slowly but surely pass them all.

  • Alison November 13, 2009, 9:10 pm

    I ran my first half at the end of this summer and I didn’t know what my plan was – I ended up going balls to the wall and it went well. Given what happened to you with your 15K though I think you’ve got a great game plan! Good luck this weekend, can’t wait for the re-caps!

  • Susan November 14, 2009, 6:14 am

    I’m not one to give advice on how to pace yourself in races. I’m usually a mess! I’m the opposite from most people though, I stress so much about starting too fast, that I often start too slow, then have to haul some major ass at the end. I don’t have a garmin either, so I don’t have a sweet clue how fast I’m going until the mile is over.

  • Lee November 14, 2009, 12:19 pm

    I almost always naturally have a negative split. I think my body just goes out very slowly in the beginning until it warms up after a few miles.

    I love that popcorn. We always get big tins at work and I cannot stop myself. Weird how popcorn is sort of synonomous with the holiday season.

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