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How To Run A Negative Split In Your Next Race

When I first started racing, I went out too fast. Because I didn’t know how to pace myself, I blew up and had to take walk breaks during 5Ks. I was trained for the distance, but I went out at a pace I couldn’t sustain for the race.

As I got into longer distance racing, I still had no idea how to pace myself and often ended up running the last half of the race much slower than I ran the first half of the race.

Running a positive split race is rarely ever fun. Suffering from going out too fast makes the last half of the race feel like punishment.

Related: 11 Things To Do During Race Week

The good thing about running the first half of a race too fast is that you know exactly what you did wrong during the race. It’s not necessarily an easy thing to fix, but with practice, patience and implementing specific pace workouts during training you can avoid the dreaded positive split race and finish strong.

  • Train: Add progression runs and fast finish workouts to your training schedule. If you are not executing a negative split run during your training, it’s very difficult to do so on race day.
  • Practice: Due to excitement and race day adrenaline, it’s difficult to run with control during a race. Schedule a tune-up race to practice executing a negative split in a race setting.
  • Plan: Write out a race-day strategy plan. Many runners show up to the start line without a plan. Map out a pace plan for each section of the race and stick to it.
  • Be Patient: In the early stages of the race, you’ll want to run faster than you should. Hold back your pace and stick to your race plan. Patience will pay off.

Executing a negative split race is a huge confidence booster. Running the second half of a race faster than you ran the first will help your ability to run a smart race and set you up for success.

The added bonus of running a negative split – you’ll pass a lot of runners in the second half of the race.

Related: What To Do In The Final Minutes Before The Start Of The Race

Race Pace Jess

Jess Underhill fell in love with running during a rough patch in life, a time period most people just refer to as middle school. Twenty-six years later that first runner's high she experienced continues to shape nearly every aspect of her life, including her career. She has a Master's Degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion, is graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and is a UESCA Certified Run Coach. Most recently Jess launched Race Pace Run Club, a free virtual run club that welcomes runners of all levels from coast to coast and also meets in-person in NYC. She is an ambassador for Sparkly Soul Headbands