>> Thursday, August 30, 2012
I was thinking about my recent BONK last weekend at the Rochester Half Marathon. I thought I'd plot out my mile splits to see how they looked. Being I'm a nerd, I jumped into Adobe Illustrator:
And THAT, my friends, is what a "bonk" looks like...
or at least what "going out too hard" looks like. (1:25:44)
Took it easy, and then threw the hammer down at the half-way point. (1:25:22)
Read my race report to see this great race unfold. (1:20:54, PR)
The graph made this very clear: the more consistent splits that I post, the better my race will be!
OK, there are plenty of variables that make this far from a perfect system. The Securian Run was in January, and winter races in MN are always slow. (Training on slick surfaces and in lots of extra clothing.) The New Prague Half was constant hills, but it was the perfect temperature. And Rochester was just horrible - it was a little warm and I went out too hard.
You should try this and see if you can figure something out about what works best for you! Do you need to go out hard? Do you need to start off slow? Do you need to ease up in the middle for a while to have enough to nail it hard at the end? How did you feel during each race?
On a quick related note, I did this about 10 months ago (seen in this post) comparing my 3 runnings of the "TC 10 Mile." Here's an image I posted back then:
In 2010 (59:05), I went out a bit too easy, but I got back on top of it ASAP. I suffered a lot later in that race, but I hit my goal of sub-60!
In 2011 (1:01:20), I really took it too easy in miles 6 and 7, and my time suffered because of it.
That's the big thing I had learned back then when I plotted out that graph: at the TC 10 Mile, I have the urge to really ease up too much near the middle (miles 5, 6, and 7). I don't know if it's the hills on THAT course, or if it's just a "mental issue," and that's where it gets tough for me in a 10 mile race. So I learned the faster I could keep those miles, the faster overall finish time I'd post. (Duh.)
So if you haven't tried graphing out your splits of the same race over a few years, or the same distance at different races, give it a shot and see if you learn anything. You might be surprised....