800 Meters: “What’s a negative Split?”

It’s essentially known in the running universe that: to run your fastest times; you run even or negative splits. It comes from old and new coaches, and TV reporters, and Hollywood the same. (The late-1990s films concerning the life of Steve Prefontaine “Without Limits” highlight off speeches about the benefits of running each lap at almost a similar pace.)

Generally, the advice sounds valid. World records in events from the 1500 meters to the marathon race will begin somewhat quicker than usual, slightly slower in the middle, and close quicker than how you started. Title/championship races follow this to a significantly more misrepresented level, with the opening lap(s) regularly being horrendously slow, trailed by a frantic scramble to the finish line.

So for what reason don’t 800-meter runners at any point negative split, including at the Olympic Games? Wouldn’t they be able to run quicker than they do what other distance runners do and save their best for last? Consider: The world’s quickest 800-meter, David Rudisha, burst a 1:40.91 world record in 2012. He did this by running an initial lap of 49.28 and getting done with a 51.63. Rudisha’s first world record was set similarly, with parts of 49.1 and 52.0. Both address a subsequent lap that is 5 to 6% slower than the first. This is much in accordance with how other sub-1:42 sprinters—Wilson Kipketer (1:41.11; 49.3 and 51.8, a 5% distinction), Joaquim Cruz (1:41.77; 49.7 and 52.0, a 4% contrast) and Sebastian Coe (1:41.73; 49.7 and 52.0, a 4% difference).

The Olympics follow a lot of a similar race. The first lap for the men’s 800m is typically set at an average strategic 52.8. The insane, hard and fast running that follows the bell lap? It brings them home in just 53.4.

Is the 800 a long-distance-running event any longer? What’s more, is this the best way to race a half-mile? Most people consider the event to be a mixture/hybrid event, with competitors generally determining 50% aerobic and half anaerobically. This implies a competitor should have the potential to be highly competitive (however not necessarily world-class) in the 400-meter and 1500-meter occasions to be competitive at the most competitive level, mixing raw speed, strength, and endurance.

A track runner’s maximal anaerobic (3-second speed test) and aerobic (as long as 240 seconds) yield could predict a runner’s performance over a range of distances. When in doubt, the thing to understand is that the more prominent a runner’s speed is, the quicker they could run over various distances despite the way that anaerobic energy becomes less forceful as the event proceeds. Applied to the 800, a fast 400-meter sprinter coming up to the 800 would have a higher potential than a 1500-meter runner dropping down. So we can conclude that the 800 is an extended sprint, especially when competing at a world-class level. But there’s a difference between going out hard and going out like an idiot.

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