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The strategy of negative splits involves completing the second half of your races at a faster pace than your first half. Negative splits are a far cry from the traditional strategy of giving it your best and then using all the mental strategies you have learned to psychologically ‘push’ yourself in the second half.
Given that you are going against the norm, what’s so positive about negative splits? In this article, we will cover a range of benefits including physical and mental benefits, as well as a look at what statistics has to say. Read on and prepare to go negative at the end of the article!
Statistically Shown to Generate Better Timings
Whether you are a casual or professional runner, a consistent goal will always be to surpass your personal record, be it how long you can run for or how fast you can run. Here’s the good news if you want to improve your personal best: statistics have shown that negative splitting generates better timings.
According to these numbers, negative splits are 52% more likely to result in a better performance than a positive split. Furthermore, of runners who have tried both positive and negative splits, it has been found that a slightly negative split commonly generates the best performance.
Prevents “Going Out Too Fast”
Ever gassed out and gave up during a scheduled run before you hit your distance goal? Running negative splits means that you initially start off at a slower pace, allowing your body to clear lactate with more ease. This improves your lactate threshold management.
It helps you to keep a steadier pace throughout your race, which likely results in you hitting your lactate threshold and “gassing out” only at the end of the run. So if you want to start and finish strong, running negative splits may just be the solution for you.
Psychological Confidence for the Later Half
In a race or when running with a group of peers, most runners are likely to run in the traditional positive split method. By running in a negative split, you will likely have everyone overtaking you at the start, but it’s fine for your psychological health because you still feel energetic at this point.
The difference it makes is on the second half. As you pick up your pace, you will likely pass these runners, and the overtaking effect increases your confidence, giving you the psychological boost you need to finish the last few kilometres strong. Say goodbye to all that struggling!
Warms You Up
Besides improving your lactate threshold, starting at a slower initial pace allows you to effectively warm up physically and mentally as well. By taking the first half of the race at a steadier pace, your muscles become more pliable, and your joints are better lubricated.
Endorphins released during the run will also create a better mood as you race. The combination of these factors creates a solid foundation for you to go all out upon reaching the later half, resulting in a run that creates better results, better mood and less chance of injuries!
Builds Discipline and Precision
As you can imagine, forcing yourself to run at a slower pace than usual can be counterintuitive. This is especially so on race day when the energy of the crowd and the exciting atmosphere can distract you from maintaining a steady speed.
On the flip side, this builds your discipline in any run, improving your ability to pace. In the long run, this also creates precision in running at exactly the speed you want to run at different points and remaining consistent in different scenarios when you need to.
Not only are negative splits statistically proven to generate results, but they also come with a variety of physical and mental benefits to boot! Can’t wait to start? We would recommend you to start doing negative splits with half the distance that you are used to in running and gradually adapt to longer distances over a few weeks.
The key to successful adaptation is to start painfully slow. Be sure to bring along a stopwatch to time your first and second halves of the run to ensure you are training correctly. Happy training negatively!
“Negative splits are a far cry from the traditional strategy of giving it your best and then using all the mental strategies you have learned to psychologically ‘push’ yourself in the second half.”
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