What Are Negative Splits?

Improve race performance with this popular running technique


Officially, the term “negative splits” refers to completing the second half of a race faster than the first. It can be applied to almost any racing sport but the technique is very frequently used by runners as a pacing method.

The negative split concept can be applied to races of any distance but is most commonly practiced for long distance events like half and full marathons. The idea is to begin the race at a more moderate pace in order to conserve energy and gradually increase your pace as you move closer to the finish line.

Running a negative split race is not an easy feat to accomplish; achieving such a goal will most likely require that you incorporate negative split techniques into your training regimen.

The Runner’s World guide to negative split training suggests doing so by gradually increasing your sprint pace during a fartlek workout so that each fast interval is quicker than the last.

See also: What is a Fartlek Workout?

It’s also important to note that negative split training and racing is a technique used by intermediate and advanced runners who are familiar with their average race paces (e.g. they know their average 5k, 10k, half marathon, etc. pace and can create a negative split race plan based on that information).

Although runners of all levels can use negative split training to improve performance, it’s a good idea to build a solid running base before incorporating it into your routine.

Related: How to Run Hill Repeats


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