I’ve been focusing lately on negative splits.
Negative splits are when you run (or swim, cycle, etc) and you finish the second half quicker than the first half. So, if you run four miles, you run miles 3 & 4 faster than 1 & 2.
I’ve been seeing blog articles and information about negative splits for a couple of years, but I thought it was a little advanced for me and just wanted to focus on running as fast as I can, and work on my mileage.
But I noticed this year that I was running out of gas at the end of my runs, especially my longer ones. So I decided to work on the negative splits. Running negative splits takes some practice and patience, but are good because
- you benefit from having warmed up joints, muscles, heart and lungs and end up running faster later in your race/run with less effort
- they offer quicker post run recovery
- they’re better for your mood – running faster at the end always makes you happier
- if you practice with negative splits, you will become a faster racer
For someone who bursts out of her driveway excited for every run with a “Wheeeee!!” in her head, this is difficult for me. I started on the treadmill, which was the easiest way for me to regulate my pace. I would run one mile at 6.0, the next at 6.1, and the last at 6.2 and up. It definitely takes practice and discipline. My instinct is always to play with speed after five minutes and go as fast as I can whenever I can, but that’s how I run out of gas at the end, and I like to finish strong.
After a couple months of doing this on the treadmill, I started trying to put it into practice outside.
That 5 mile run in May was done with negative splits. My pace was slow, but it got faster as the run went on. I can’t be sure, but I feel like I did that run on the treadmill. Even though I ran this one slow, I felt great because I gave myself time to warm up before speeding up.
The next runs I recorded in June were speedier (for me), but I didn’t consider them as successful because I ran the second mile slower than the first mile. And I didn’t feel great physically at the end of these runs.
The 2.5 mile run last week was exactly what I’ve been trying to do. I have picked up my pace and really watched myself at the beginning so I have enough gas at the end to finish strong.
My goal is to keep focusing on negative splits… its making me a faster runner and I’m enjoying my runs more. We’ll see how it works out with my races this summer!
Do you keep track of mileage and times on your runs?