It might be tempting to run at full pace from the start of a race. However, jogging at a regular pace isn't the only method to break your personal best. Why not slow things down with the frequent beginning-of-race bottlenecks that may make passing look like an obstacle course? With negative splits, you may save your mental and physical energy for the finish line.
In practice, running negative splits means starting slowly and gradually increasing your speed. This strategy, often known as a progression run, involves running faster and faster through tiny segments of a workout.
The positive splits strategy is the inverse of negative splits, which means you start out quickly and then slow down later. There are few instances of positive splits being helpful, mostly in competition, but in general, this is not an effective training strategy.
Another technique is neutral splits, which include running at a constant speed throughout the whole distance. At the INEOS 1:59 event in Vienna, Austria 2020, world record holder Eliud Kipchoge used to run a whole marathon using this strategy. He ran the majority of the 42.195km at a steady speed of around 2 minutes 48 seconds (2:48) to 2 minutes 52 seconds (2:52) per kilometer at the time.
Advantages of negative splits
Suitable for all runs: You can do negative split no matter how far or how long you run as long as you determine the distance and average speed on that distance and track the pace parameter through each segment. In the absence of a gadget to monitor distance or speed, runners can use a more simplistic approach: identify a location and run there at a slower rate, then return at a quicker pace.
Good for training and competition: The key to gaining endurance is to start slowly and progressively increase the speed. Reality demonstrates that many great athletes have won by having negative splits upon beginning the race. If the 32-35km mark in a marathon is regarded a "wall" - a level that restricts both a runner's mental and physical health - negative splits - properly planned and rigorously maintained - might help you prevent burnout when you reach the threshold. Furthermore, you may use this approach to defeat many opponents who run fast from the start but run out of energy near the conclusion.
Getting started is easier than you think to negative split
Starting slower than your race speed allows your muscles to adequately warm up and prevents injury. Your joints will appreciate it as well!
It might be tempting to go all out at the start of an event. Hopefully, you arrive at the starting line sufficiently fueled and energized. You're excited to put all of your hard work to good use. However, if you start too quickly, you risk "blowing up" in the race. Negative splits are an excellent technique to avoid wasting energy by beginning too quickly. Setting yourself some manageable pace targets and adhering to them can help you avoid going too hard, too soon.
Access your negative split
After you've established into a race rhythm, start picking up the pace. Evaluate how you feel and whether going faster is even feasible (hint: if it isn't, you started too hard). Plan to begin speeding up at the midway point of your event, depending on the length of your race and your own fitness. Approach your racing speed in the middle of the race.
The angle of your pace ramp will be determined by your degree of expertise and fitness. Because they will start closer to their maximum sustainable pace, more experienced athletes with good fitness may begin their ramp after the first kilometer. Less experienced competitors or those with weaker fitness levels should begin their ramp later in the race and use a shallow ramp (i.e., increase speed in very small increments as opposed to trying to set a new PR every kilometer).
Try your hardest to negative split the end
Try to negative divide your race's last kilometers even more than the prior kilometers. Dig deep within yourself until you have nothing left. But be cautious! Starting this final negative split ramp too far away from the finish line may result in a crash! If this is your first time attempting to negative split an event, start the last ramp near the finish line. As your experience and fitness improve, you may begin the last ramp from a farther distance and dig even deeper into whatever strength you still have.
Practice negative splits with running apps
It may appear tough to maintain your speed throughout a race. However, using some running app trackers throughout your training runs will help you maintain your pace. Before you out for a run, decide on a distance so you know where your midway point is. Set the app's audio feedback to report your pace for each interval so you can remember what your goal speed is for each half. At the end of your training runs, check the app for a chart displaying the average pace and speed for each kilometer.
Five steps to running a negative split
- Determine your average pace: Before you begin running negative splits, you must first determine your average pace. This will be made easier if you monitor your runs with your phone or smartwatch. Once you've calculated the average pace for the distance to run, you may create a timetable for each split, beginning with a comfortable running speed and progressively increasing to the rate you run at full strength. If you just run 5km, the runner can opt to alternate between the comfort zone at the start and the complete release zone at the conclusion for roughly 30 seconds. For 10 kilometers, this oscillation can reach 50 to 60 seconds, and for 15 kilometers, it can reach 60 to 90 seconds.
- Begin slowly: Once the desired speed has been decided, the runner can begin at a slower rate of 20 to 25 seconds. For example, if you are committed to run 10 kilometers in 6 minutes 20 seconds, you may run the first kilometer in 6 minutes 20 seconds (6:20). The struggle for runners at this level is primarily psychological, since they must run slower than they are accustomed to.
- Raise your speed gradually: After the first kilometer, you will progressively increase your speed every kilometer. This helps your body to warm up and conserve energy for the rest of the run. Still on a 10-kilometer course, after the first kilometer at 6:25, the speed for the next four kilometers will be 6:20, 6:15, 6:10, and 6:05, respectively.
- Stick to the plan: Begin at a slower speed than normal, then swiftly accelerate to the average pace - the most comfortable running pace. The purpose of the negative splits workout, on the other hand, is to maintain strength in the first half of the distance and then pull out, using the collected strength and energy to go faster in the second half. And, in order to keep to the plan, you'll need to know how long it takes to finish each kilometer - not tough with a smart watch.
- Strong finish: The most difficult aspect of negative splits is that you must run at your quickest speed when your body is weary. However, you have prepared for this by starting slowly and conserving energy in the first half.