What are negative splits?
It’s pretty simple. Negative splits are when you complete the second half of your run faster than your first!
Why should you run negative splits?
Every runner—whether you are a beginner or an experienced runner—should practice running negative splits on a weekly basis. Practicing negative splits in your normal training runs will translate into racing negative splits.
Why does this matter? Ok, here’s a common scenario. You are at a road race. The gun goes off. All the excitement and the adrenaline at the start of the race leads to a super speedy first mile or two. Even though you know it’s too fast, you feel good so you try to maintain the pace but totally bonk and have to practically shuffle your way to the finish line. Has this ever happened to you?
In an ideal race situation, you start out at a comfortable pace. In fact, you can use the first few miles of your run as a warm up—just don’t skip the pre-race dynamic warm up and form running drills! By starting out slow you are conserving energy for the end of the race and hopefully avoid hitting that infamous wall everyone talks about. After the first few miles, gradually increase your pace and finish strong, giving it all you got in the final miles.
You may think that starting out at a slower pace will effect your ability to run overall fast times but this is not true at all. In fact, Runner’s World wrote at article a few years back about the last five men’s marathon world record runs. Going out too fast and “time in the bank” rarely works out in favor of distance runners. Spoiler alert! 3 of the last 5 were run at negative splits. You can view the full article here: http://www.runnersworld.com/newswire/what-world-records-teach-about-marathon-pacing
Patience is a hard trait to teach. There is such thing as starting out TOO slow and not being able to make up for the time but that’s why training runs are so important. The more you practice running negative splits, the more comfortable and confident you will become with your own pacing strategies. As always, you need to trust the process and work on your ability to hold back, build on your speed and cross that finish line with a new PR.
How can you practice running negative splits during your training?
Good luck out there! Happy running!
Blog post by Jen Skiba.
About Coach Jen Skiba
Jen began her running career as a middle-distance runner for Falmouth High School and has been involved with the sport for over 12 years as a runner, official, race management, and coach. A Mashpee Fitness trainer and Certified Running Coach through the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA), Jen enjoys working with runners in the gym and on the roads. “Whether you are a beginner looking to get started running or at the intermediate level hoping to improve your times or tackle new distances, I can help you reach your goals!”