Achieving the Negative Split

If you look around at a race you will see many things going on but largely you will see 2 or 3 types of runner but mostly 2. Firstly, you will see those who go out fast and try to hold onto their pace but slow down or fade later on or you might see those who manage to run at the same pace from start to finish but if you look closely, you may see the guys who start off slow but finish strong. These runners tend to be smaller in numbers compared to the other two but these guys use the tactics normally used by elite runners – the negative split.

What is a Negative Split?

The Negative Split is when you run each mile quicker than the one before or run the second half of a race quicker than the first. More importantly, it’s being able to enjoy a sprint finish. It’s not easy and takes a bit of practice but if you can nail it then it makes a huge difference.

What are the benefits?

If you watched the London Marathon on tv, you will have seen the majority of the elite runners go steady at the beginning and then speed up as the race went on and world records are set by people who perform negative splits. For us mere mortals, the benefits are you will learn how to control your pace better and psychologically, it’s a great feeling to pass so many people later on in a race who have gone out too quick and are slowing down. If you’re trying this in a marathon, it will likely stop you from hitting the wall.

How do I do it?

The easiest way to do it is to go by how you feel rather than by your watch. You want to start out by going at a ridiculously easy pace so you can master the technique better then gradually increasing the intensity as each mile passes. This can be hard to do, particularly in Parkrun or in a race when you see everyone else go flying at the start. If you normally listen to music, switch it off and focus on your pace. When you get it right, you will likely notice your times starting to improve dramatically and is the most effective way of smashing your PBs

Steve Bonthrone

Steve Bonthrone

I qualified as a Personal Trainer in 2000 and have been working for myself since 2006 and opened my own private studio in 2012. I specialise in helping people lose weight, change body shape and also become better runners. I have set up my own Running Groups – Zero to 5k, to help beginners get into running and Go Faster, to help those already running to be able to run quicker and more efficiently.

Outside of work, I am a keen runner. I love running! I have run a number of marathons and half marathons since the late 90’s and most recently, I did the ‘Hairy’ (5km, 10km, Half Marathon and Marathon) at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival in 2014, helping raise £10,000 for Macmillan and I’m about to do it again in 2015. My proudest moment was being awarded the Running Inspiration award in the Charity Runners category by Run 4 It in 2014.

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