How to run a negative split marathon by Galen Rupp

In winning the Chicago marathon Galen Rupp has broken a long drought since the last American won in the windy city. The first since 2002 to win and the first American born in 35 years.

He has done so with an impressive negative split. Rupp was ultra consistent running with a large lead pack through halfway in 66:11. The second half of the race run in 63:09. Rupp was extraordinarily strong over the last five miles running his last five mile splits in 4:39, 4:35, 4:30, 4:34 and 4:33 finishing the last 5.2 miles or sub 2:01 marathon pace and gave himself a 38 second personal best at the marathon.

A 66:11 first half is certainly not fast by runners of these standards but for Rupp to be able to still have this type of speed at the end of the marathon is highly impressive. The absence of pacemakers in Chicago impacts the times compared with the fastest marathons in the world. Be interesting to see Rupp line up in London or Berlin in time and test his ultimate marathon speed against the likes of Kipchoge an co.

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For the average marathon runner this may be a ‘don’t try this at home’ moment. Being able to run a large negative split in a goal marathon is obviously difficult. It’s much easier and safer to run a consistent race.

Even if you were to run below your goal race pace for the first half there is no guarantees you’ll be able to run above your goal pace late in a marathon. There is not many of us have the ability of Galen Rupp to run a large negative split and still run your best marathon time on the day.



Marathon training week 12

A successful weeks training in week 11 of my program with my key sessions hit as planned. These were my hill repeats on Tuesday which as always tough but managed to get through the run. My long run on Friday I completed 39km and just under my goal time of 3:30, it’s very difficult to run almost past your house after 39 km and I didn’t have the willpower at that stage so I didn’t continue and run the extra 10 minutes. Sunday I completed intervals, these were 10 x 4 min at 3:45min/km with a 1 minute recovery between each. This was a really good session where I felt comfortable throughout and my favourite run of the week.

This week sees my last strong week of training before I start to taper off for the marathon on September 24th. Again my three key session will be run and for remaining runs I will keep the runs aerobic and make sure I get enough rest.

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – Hill repeats

Wednesday – Aerobic 40min

Thursday – Intervals ( 20 x 2 min with 1 min recovery)

Friday – Rest

Saturday – Long Run ( 3 x 14km)

Sunday – Aerobic 40 min

As the race gets closer I will run some shorter intervals this week but maintain the intensity that I have been running them. I have changed to these to a 2:1 effort/recovery ratio to help keep me fresher for the Saturday long run.

The Saturday long run is good session which i like to run a few weeks out from a marathon, 3 x 14km = 42km so essentially I am running a marathon in the three efforts with a 20-30 min recovery period between each. These will be run over a undulating trail and beach terrain close to my home at goal pace for the marathon. This session has been a real confidence boosting run for me in past marathons, coming out of the third effort well gives me the confidence that I am able to push my goal pace during the dark times that the marathon throws at you and helps you overcome these.

Looking forward to this week, it’s a week that will  allow me to test my training over the last 11 weeks and see where my fitness is at going into a marathon in a few weeks time.

August running recap

My August running stats are fairly unimpressive for someone heavily into a marathon training period and building endurance. Overall I managed 178km in August with an also unimpressive 2169 m of elevation ran.  On face value a failed month of training that didn’t see me run enough kilometres to gain the value that I was hoping.

While not the monthly mileage I had planned the month had it’s challenges at the start of the month and I was able to come through and post some really valuable runs. Overall I missed 12 days of running at the end of July and beginning of August through having a flu. This meant I was only able to run on 13 days of August. One of the worst colds and flu’s I have had in my life and I was just unable to shake it off for quite some time. The first week of August saw no running at all followed by 37km in week 2 with most of this on the Sunday 13th August where I ran through a 19km long run on the beach. This was basically the start of my training in August, from here I new I needed to up the distance on my weekly long run each week more than I would normally to get enough running into the legs before a marathon.

I was able to run 29km and 36km long runs for the remaining two weeks of August and this morning ran 39km albeit on the first day of September so kind of exempt from this August recap. Each of the last three weeks i have been able to put out interval and hill repeats sessions as planned and continue to build my speed and strength.

When you have a good base of training from a number of years of running, fitness come backs fairly quick. The 12 days off running with the flu followed by a week of running while still having the flu have not affected my fitness too much and I have been able to come out the other side and be relatively comfortable with my overall fitness.

It’s now just over three weeks till my race and I feeling pretty good about my fitness and my endurance.  August hasn’t provided me with a perfect preparation but it has ended much better than it started and I am beginning to feel some confidence going into September and the last couple of weeks of training.

The very first run back in Australia

After returning to Australia on the weekend I returned to running today. An overnight flight took running Sunday out of the equation and waking to torrential rain to took Monday out of the equation. This morning I went running though, skies still dark and stormy, small amount of rain falling but I needed to get out and run.

So I headed from home straight to the beach, which was pretty ugly after some very poor weather while I have been away from home for three weeks. I decided to get straight back into my normal hill session I’ve been doing on a Tuesday.

Some major differences to running in Korea at the start of spring to Australia at the start of Autumn.

Korea in March – Cold mornings, under 5 c and low humidity. Once I acclimatised to the colder temperature it was perfect running conditions.

Australia in April – Warmer mornings, 15 c and 80-90% humidity. After a 7km run this morning the humidity had sapped.

Needless to say I am going to need to reacclimatise to the higher humidity here in Australia. It has surprised me that running elsewhere with a vastly different climate for only three weeks has altered my ability to cope with humid conditions. It was only a month ago that I finished a 14 week marathon preparation through a record Australian summer. I was doing tough long runs in much hotter and humid conditions.

The other difference is coming from a city back to a smaller regional city. This morning at 6am there were very few cars, Korea last week was a bustling city. There is much more to see in a city, but the serenity of running in quiet streets early in the morning is nice too.

It’s always good to come back home and run in familiar surrounds, exploring Korea on the run was fantastic, but coming home and running my familiar paths is equally as great. I am sure it won’t take long to readjust to the climate that I spend most of my life.

Now to find a new race goal, there are a few on radar that I’ll decide between and work out a plan soon. Until then, more running…

Gwangmyeong, Korea last week.

Port Macquarie, Australia today.

Take me to the Beach

Summer in Australia is a great place to be and a great place to run. This time of year when I go running I am normally going to the beach. It’s my favourite place to run.

Beach running isn’t always easy, if it’s high tide it can be hard work. If it’s windy it can be hard work. If it’s high tide and windy it can be hard work, but it’s still my favourite place to run. if the tide is low or a falling tide and the weather is nice there is no place i’d rather go for a run. And lately the weather has been spectacular where I live and the beach has been calling my name almost every run.

Today is officially the first day of summer in Australia  and although the spring weather has been kind recently, I am looking forward to spending as much time as i can at the beach running this summer. I started summer with a 7km run on the beach so i got off to a good start.

Good Run W/E

Last weekend I had two of my most enjoyable for quite a while.

On Saturday I ran from my house towards the beach which is not unusual as I spend a lot of my running at the beach. I decided to warm up on my way to the beach and then do a 3km effort down the beach. The tide was low meaning the sand was hard and I put in 3km in about 3:40 min/km. From there I kept running a further kilometre and decided to exit the beach on a beach track that I’d never decided to go down before, this took me to the edge of my local golf course. Being early in the morning I decided to run through the golf course not expecting there was anyone playing golf just yet. It’s a nice picturesque course and it was enjoyable to run through the manicured lawns until there was a couple of groups of people playing. I managed to run to the edge of the course and avoid getting hit with a golf ball. From there a few kilometres more over the road till home and i had managed a 10km run with a 3km beach effort and run through the golf course to start my weekend.

Following day I had scheduled my virtual run for the Indigenous Marathon Foundation. this foundation teaches young aboriginal people about running and changes the lives of many who are seemingly stuck in a cycle of poverty, alcohol or domestic violence that they can change their lives with the power of running. At our event we were lucky enough to have one of their graduates join us who has changed his life through running and managed to run five international marathons all in good time. I had registered for a half marathon distance event, we had our running club set up a course with an undulating terrain over road and gravel through the local state forest. Temperature was close to 30 degrees celsius for the run meaning conditions were tough. This was not a race, it was a group of people running together for a good cause. I managed to run this course in 1hr 40 min which was a tough but enjoyable pace for a tough half marathon course in tough conditions.

I ran both these runs in my Gladsoles sandals, which I am doing almost all my running in currently. During this half marathon about half the course is over gravel road, when running over this terrain in sandals occasionally you can land on the ball of your foot on a sharp rock and you can feel some pain due to the minimalist style of the sandal. This possibly happened 20 times during this run (not a lot over 10km) and interestingly and coincidently every time on my left foot. Afterwards I have some slight bruising on the ball of my left foot. Nothing too intense that will stop me running.

Overall a great weekend of running, a mix of beach and bush and some great company to run a half marathon with. Enjoy your running.


When you don’t want to run

A few months ago I had a period where it was tough to go running, my motivation to go and run had been lacking and just didn’t feel like doing it. So I didn’t. For a month I didn’t run at all. Just couldn’t be bothered. I still volunteered at my local parkrun a couple of times, still searched Facebook and the internet for running related information, and still spent social time with my running friends, just didn’t run. They would all ask me if I was injured and why I wasn’t running. I told the truth, lacking motivation, can’t be bothered. They thought I was weird.

I run because I love to run. I didn’t start running to lose weight or gain fitness in the beginning. I started running because it’s what i have always loved to do since I was a child and have never really stopped. So it is weird for me to tell people I can’t be bothered to go for a run.

During this month I thought about going for a run a few times, my body clock will still wake me up early like a personal running alarm clock. I thought about running but just didn’t want to run. When I woke up in the mornings I drank coffee, or watched television or played Fifa on the xbox instead of running. Although it wasn’t satisfying me doing these things I wasn’t missing running so I didn’t go running.

After a month of no running I could feel myself lose fitness and beginning to put on weight. This didn’t bother me as I knew I could change this quickly when I returned to running. I needed to go running again, I needed to establish a short-term goal, I needed to kick-start my motivation again.

Over the past year I have not run very much in my Gladsoles sandals and preferred using minimal shoes as I have been chasing times and some race results.I have never believed I could run fast enough in race conditions in my sandals so I have run these races in shoes. I decided to put my sandals back on and go for a run. Close to barefoot, back to basics and just go for a run.

It was kind of liberating to run in the sandals again and in two months since that run I haven’t run in shoes. Returning to sandals has helped me regain my motivation. I am now back to running 4-5 times per week exclusively in the sandals. I now can’t wait to put the sandals on and run. A week ago I ran a parkrun in the sandals and ran 18:20 for the 5km (my PB is 17:39), disproving my own theory that I can’t run fast enough in the sandals. Hoping to get down to my PB again soon.

From not running for a month I discovered that I really want to run barefoot or as close to barefoot as I can. I had become unmotivated to go running but I still loved running. It’s helped me choose my path that I want to be a barefoot sandal runner and focus on improving my running in sandals. My marathon PB can wait till I’m ready to achieve it in sandals. I’m going to focus on what I love about running and stay motivated, it took me a month of television and Fifa to rediscover that running is part of my dna and I need to run to satisfy my own self. For now that running won’t be in shoes.






Goal Race Time

This weekend marks my first goal race for the year as i compete in a half marathon on Sunday. It’s the time when my training from the last few months gets put to the test and I see where I am at as a runner against my goals and hopes.

My training has been going well, I am injury free and haven’t had any major setbacks over the past few months so i am confident that the training has worked and i will run well on Sunday. I have gotten through my long runs with the longest being a week ago at 30km, I am still building my long run for monger races later in the year but trying to peak for each of my goal races along the way. I have been doing 1-2 interval sessions per week and have enjoyed running with speed. I have regularly been competing in my local parkrun which I find is great to keep me motivated and also to test my short course speed on a weekly basis if I choose.

I am hoping to run this half marathon at 3:55 min/km pace which gives me a time of around 1:22. I ran this half marathon two years ago and ran 1:24 and feel i will be able to push harder if I race smart with my current fitness. My plan is to go out conservatively over the first kilometre at 4 min pace or just slower and then work into my rhythm over the first 1-2 kilometres. From there I plan to hold a consistent pace around 3:50-3:55 min/km for the next 15km and if there is something in the tank for the final 3-4km I will give it everything I have and hope to make up a few places.

Races don’t always go to plan and I have been guilty in the past of letting racing get in the way of my own race plan. I really want to run my own race on Sunday and give myself every opportunity of running a fast race. There is no point trying to take on someone who can run 1:15 or lower for a half in the opening stages as it will hurt me later in the race.

So the keys for my race on Sunday are run my own race and stick to my pacing strategy. If I do this then the training will take care of the rest.



Back for another Mile

Next Tuesday evening I am running my second mile race. A month or so ago I blogged about leading up to my first ever mile race put on as a low key event between the running group in which I am a part. We are back for round 2 next week.

Last time I ran a 5:12 mile, went out way too hard over the first half and paid for it in the last 400m. This time I am going to still try and get out hard but hold something in for the last 400-600m. This is where I need to be doing my best work. I think I have the speed endurance to be able to run a sub 5 min mile  sooner or later but I need to learn how to run these shorter events to get the best result.

I’m hoping I can get closer to 5 min this time or if I fluke a tactically brilliant race I could go under. More than likely I will not run sub 5 min mile just yet but I am excited by this new goal.

I am still building miles for my longer races coming up, I have a 30km long run tomorrow and a half marathon in two weeks followed by a 45km coastal run in mid April. My goal is getting as best prepared for those races. Running a mile on Tuesday night is a fun distraction and something I’d like to improve on from my previous effort.

Regardless of the distance it is great to be out there running.