This approach to running is geared towards improving your speed while you are running training or racing.

So you can think of it this way, to negative split a run means that your splits per mile progressively get faster.

For some people it takes their bodies some time to warm-up, so having them start out at a really fast pace has a double impact on their running from a psychological and physiological standpoint.


So, psychologically, a person can put too much pressure on themselves to get up to speed too quickly, and physiologically some people run better when they start slower (that is why you see some people running a mile or two at a really slow speed prior to a race).

How to run negative splits

During the first part of your training you can start running at a pace of 15 to 20 seconds slower per mile. Then gradually pick up your speed over the course of the run until you are going faster than planned the last few miles.

A big consideration for a person trying to implement the technique of negative splits is the lactate threshold. This is the point where the body cannot keep up with the necessary removal of waste produced by the working muscles.

The waste is being accumulated faster than it can be metabolized. This will cause the body to slow down, so if you run faster earlier, you will probably run much slower at the end.

When you first start out trying the negative split, don’t pay attention to your watch

When increasing your effort, do it by feel. You want to learn and establish a level of patience, which is essential to any long distance running.

So, during each week you should try to make one of your running workouts a “negative split”.

how to run negative splits_2You can apply this to hill running, a tempo run, or track work, just keep in mind that you want to finish faster than you started.

So, in moving forward after you have had some time to work on the “negative” and turn it into a “positive”, you can start out by trying the negative split technique during 5K races.

Focus on what you want to achieve, which is a slower start, but faster finish.

The execution of a negative split

In conclusion, you want to keep in mind that a “negative split” can be hard to execute on race day. The crowd’s energy can potentially draw you into running faster than you intended, especially during those first few miles.

You might find yourself in a “head game” and wonder if you will speed up as the race progresses. Note that most novice runners lack a sense of pacing that permits a successful execution of a negative split.

Also, keep in mind that you cannot run a negative split unless you train to run one! Give this a go and see if you can improve your race time. Let me know how you get on in the comment section down below! 

Connect with Expert Jim Cleveland 

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