How Important are Negative Splits?

Girl running

And What Are Negative Splits Anyway?

One of the things I learned when I began training for half marathons and marathons was about how to control my pacing in the most efficient way. I used my Garmin watch to keep myself within a certain pace threshold depending on what I was training for. An important piece of advice I learned was about running negative splits. Today I’m going to teach you about what negative splits are and answer the question: How important are negative splits?

First of all, let’s talk about pacing when it comes to running.

Negative Splits

As you are completing your run, you gradually increase your speed during the run. You end the run at a faster pace than when you started it.

Even Splits

Even splits means you run the same pace for the entire run. You do not increase or decrease your pace.

Positive Splits

Running positive splits means running faster in the beginning of your run, and ending at a slower pace. This would mean you would gradually decrease your pace throughout the run.

So What’s the Big Deal about Negative Splits?

The reason it is typically recommended to run negative splits during training and races is because negative splits help you to conserve energy until the latter part of your run. This will lower your chance of running out of energy, or hitting “the wall”. You will have some extra energy built up which you can use to finish the run strong.

It can be hard to do this, especially during a race. It is very tempting to start out the race fast when the adrenaline is pumping and you’re excited. But if you start out too fast out the gate, you’re setting yourself to run out of steam too quick. I know I have seen my share of runners at races that sprint by me in the beginning and within a few miles they are walking and just trying to catch their breath.

How to Run Negative Splits

In order to plan for running negative splits, you will need to go into the run with a good idea of the pace that you are targeting for run. You will want to start out running 10-25 seconds slower than that pace goal.

Something that I usually tell myself when I start out a run is: Run slower than you feel like you should be. When I first start running, I usually am tempted to run fast. I consciously tell myself to go slower than what feels natural. This helps to set myself up for negative splits and conserving my energy to finish the run strong!

I also find that when I conserve my energy and start out slower, I naturally will speed up during the run without even realizing it. Suddenly I’m about to finish my long run and I am feeling amazing running at a fast pace because I conserved my energy to prepare for this! It’s a great feeling.

It can take a bit of time to feel comfortable with this new pacing skill, but one you get the hang of it, it can be a great tool to use to help you improve your runs!

What are Your Thoughts on Negative Splits?

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How Important are Negative Splits?

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