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