negative splits

So I mentioned in this blog about negative splits.

I have to say, having been an keen / avid / wannabe runner for a number of years now, and seeing an improvement over time is a magical thing.

As I progressed, I concentrated on my pacing, and then increased my distance, and with time I became more & more consistent in my pace, performance and results.

When I started out, my plan was to develop from no running, to 5km, and then onward and upward to 10km and more. During the course of this progression, I noticed than in the step-up from 5km to 10km, the 5km distance became much easier, and I was often pushing myself more in the final kilometers from 6km through to 10km, effectively running what is called a negative split.

Now, rewind the tape slightly, and let’s talk about what negative splits actually are…

A negative split or the action of negative splitting is a racing strategy that involves completing the second half of a race or training run faster than the first half. It is defined by the intentional setting of a slower initial pace, followed by either a gradual or sudden increase of speed towards the end of a race or training run.

If you run perfect negative splits, each kilometer gets progressively faster than that of the last kilometer. ie. An example could be a negative split 5 kilometer would be mile times of 6m00, 5m50s, 5m40s, 5m30s, and 5m20s; effectively each kilometer is run faster than the time of the last and you finish the run feeling strong … albeit tired!

This is one sure-fire way of running PB’s, as you start off running slowly, with more gas left in the closing stages of the race or training run, so that you can ramp it up in the end even though you should be feeling fatigued.

So how do I do it?

The three keys to running negative splits:

  1. Start slower than your typical pace – Begin 10 to 20 seconds per kilometer slower than the race pace you’ve predicted. Don’t be tempted to speed up when you notice all those other runners flying by. Instead, hold back by imagining yourself comfortably passing them later in the race.
  2. Build gradually:  increase your pace with each kilometer that passes, and gradually pick up the pace gradually each kilometer. Think of it in terms of thirds:
    1. run the first third at a slower pace;
    2. the second third at your normal pace,
    3. and the final third faster than your goal pace.
  3. Be consistent. Begin your training runs at this easy speed so you get used to the feeling of starting out slow – in time, if you practice this training method, you’ll start running this way without any thought.

One final thing – there is no better feeling than completing a race or run and feeling strong when you finish, and this is where negative splits help in the development.

Let me know how you go!


One thought on “negative splits

  1. Pingback: 2015 retrospective! | 2015 the year of the Half Ironman

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