Explained: Negative Splits

Explained: Negative Splits

Like a 10-pin strike with no bumpers or a knockout boxing win, running a race with negative splits is considered flawless technique. There are, of course different strategies but this is the holy grail of long-distance racing. It’s how the pros do it, it’s how world records have been broken and it’s how you can gain that evasive PB.

running, race, pace, pacing, speed, splits, negative

Essentially, running negative splits means the second half of your race is faster than the first. You start off slower at the beginning, hit your ideal pace in the middle and run faster at the end. If all goes well, you should be reaching the finish line feeling strong.

At the start of an event, you’ll often see runners shoot off over excitedly, only to see them well and truly in ‘struggle town’ later on. It’s hard to be patient and hold back, especially when everyone else seems to be going much faster and passing you by but you’ll thank yourself later when you’re hurtling towards the finish.

A slower pace at the beginning will help you to warm up and allow your muscles and joints to work better and hopefully avoid any injuries or niggles along the course. It will also allow time for a good level of endorphins to kick in, which will help you push harder in the later stages of the race.

Starting off slowly is also beneficial to your fuelling. If you go out hard, you’ll burn your reserves early and find yourself having to chug gels by the bucket-load to get yourself through. Saving some energy in the bank for later on, will mean you’ll feel you can keep going for longer and are less likely to ‘hit the wall’.

It will take some planning and a bit of pacing maths but if all goes to plan, you’ll be spurred on by continually picking off tired runners who are shuffling towards the finish. As they start to slow down, you’ll start to increase your speed and power on with enough energy left for a photo-perfect sprint finish.

Good luck!


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