Every avid runner, whether amateur or seasoned, strives to achieve faster run splits during a race.

According to Jeff Gaudette in Runner’s World: “Every current world record, from the 1500m to the marathon, has been set by an athlete running negative splits.” In fact, per research from South African sports scientists Tim Noakes, Ross Tucker, and Mike Lambert, in the history of world-record-setting runs at 5,000m and 10,000m, only once has any kilometer other than the first or final one been the fastest of the race.

“Analyzing the greatest performances in history at events from the 5K to the marathon reveals another statistic about the importance of pacing--specifically, how fine the line is between too fast and too slow,” notes Gaudette.

When it comes to how your body works, Gaudette adds, one of the primary limiting factors in marathon performance is how well your body can burn fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. He notes the reasoning behind this is that once you burn through your available carbohydrate stores, “your performance will suffer, most notably from bonking" or running out of fuel.

Unfortunately, the faster you run, the higher the percentage of fuel and energy comes from carbs. Therefore, by starting faster than goal pace and putting "time in the bank," you're actually burning through your available carbohydrate stores more quickly, and you will run out of fuel and crash faster.

An optimized intake of nutrients can supercharge your performance in a race and help prevent that avoidable crash that stands between you and your best-ever run splits. 

For Faster Splits, Work on Your Diet!

Runners hoping to achieve faster split times need a nutrient-dense diet rich in antioxidants, amino acids, flavonoids, carotenoids, minerals and vitamins.

Most runners aren’t getting the daily nutrition they need, and often they don’t even know it due to the overabundance of cheap but nutritionally devoid foods on the market advertised as beneficial to one’s health.

If you’re in doubt regarding your dietary nutritional intake of crucial ingredients, ask a fellow athlete what they do. You may be surprised at what they say. As for me, I have achieved success in my races using supplements that meet the daily recommended doses of flavonoids, amino acids, and antioxidants.

I look for a food or supplement that is a rich and comprehensive source of nutritional vitamins and minerals. When taking a supplement, I make sure that I get whole-food organic fruit and vegetable concentrates as well as complete liver detox support to cleanse my system.

As a rule, I keep my vital nutrients at ideal levels which I feel enables my body to make quick muscle recovery and minimize inflammation.

Finally, a healthy intake of essential amino acids is crucial. Amino acids act to help our bodies produce protein, and support our immune system.

In my recent book, “The Search For The Perfect Protein - by  Dr. David Minkoff” I cover of the importance of amino acids and highlighted some patients that I have seen in my practice - from 70+ year old bodybuilders to 50+ year old Ironman Triathlon winners - all having great wins from increasing their amino acid consumption.

I believe that ideal performance starts with ideal nutrition, fuel and body function.

Pacing and Consistency

All runners, regardless of physique, need to accurately and precisely manage their movements and pacing to avoid over-exhaustion and falling behind.

Learning to pace yourself and carefully gauge how balanced your speed and exertion of force is on your feet with each step taken is crucial. Running without pacing and managing your movements is the equivalent to sailing blind, and raising sails to speed up only when it “feels” appropriate, regardless of whether or not it’s the right time.

Effectively managing your bursts of energy during each split helps you attain a regular pace that can give you shorter split times with continued practice.

When we talk about training, it’s essential to respect your regimen and not fall behind in practice. By running in less-than-ideal conditions such as snow, low temperatures, rain, or wind, you are subjecting your body to tough conditions that help to build strength and help you get accustomed to challenging environments. This improved hardiness can help give you an advantage over competitors who stay inside on an unpleasant day, as you are getting that extra day of practice.

Ultimately, the key to running faster splits is a combination of physical, nutritional, and psychological dedication. A nutritious and healthy diet, determination, passion and a regular training and pacing regimen all contribute to your improvement as an athlete and doing the most to achieve your maximum potential.

Author's Bio: 

New York Times bestselling author Ayesha Fox writes sweet, fun, action-packed mysteries. Her characters are clever and fearless, but in real life, Ayesha is afraid of basements, bees, and going upstairs when it is dark behind her. Let’s face it. Ayesha wouldn’t last five minutes in one of his books.

Ayesha is best known for his Southern Ghost Hunter mysteries and for his Accidental Demon Slayer books