The first time I heard the term ‘negative split’ I had no idea what it meant. When I looked it up and discovered it meant running your last km or mile faster than your first, I thought that sounded easy, right? Doesn’t every runner start off slowly and work up to a faster pace?
Turns out, it’s a lot harder than it sounds, and up until a few weeks ago, I had never run a negative split. Imagine my surprise when I then I ran a negative split not once, but twice by complete accident!
The first time I ran a negative split was on a 5 mile ‘long’ run on a lovely Saturday morning. I left the house well rested, well fueled and hydrated, and just ran because I was loving running. When I got to my halfway point I stopped for some water, looked at my time and was shocked to discover I’d gotten there much quicker than I thought. That spurred me on to attempt a PB so I cut my break short and started running again. I was feeling really good, my legs felt strong and I was genuinely happy. I even got a thumbs up from a pedestrian I passed, which kept a smile on my face for the rest of my run! I made it home easily and sure enough, not only did I PB on 5 miles (by just over 3 minutes!) but I ended up running the last few kilometers at least 15 seconds faster than the first. In fact, here’s what my run looked like:
Do you know what’s even more shocking about that run? My first kilometer was downhill…which meant my last kilometer was uphill. That’s right. I ran a negative split UPHILL. (Those last few metres are flat.)
The second time I ran a negative split was an even bigger shock. It happened on a Friday morning after a night of insomnia. I’d had about an hour of sleep, was feeling tired and a bit grumpy, but I’d planned a 6k run and I was awake anyway so off I went. I wasn’t expecting it to be a great run, considering my sleepless night. But not only did I overshoot the 6k by running nearly 6 and a half, but I again ran it faster at the end than the start. My first km was in 8:34, my last was 8:16.
I think it’s funny that when I try to go faster at the end of my run, and sometimes I actually think I AM faster, it turns out I’m not. Then, when I’m not even trying or thinking about it, I run a negative split by accident.
But however much I think it’s cool to run a negative split, that’s not the point of my running. And I think I need to learn to run at a more consistent pace overall. I’d love to come home from a run one day and find my splits were the same across the board. If you have any tips that will help me do that, please leave a comment below! I could use all the help I can get! 😀