Running in Negative Split is one of those terms in running jargon that has always made me dream. I have always listened to the experts talk about it with passion. So it's quite logical that as a good Running Addict, I did my little study on the subject to share with you my vision on the Negative Split and why it's a paid running tactic. Because yes, I am now categorical on the subject, if we are physically ready, running in Negative Split is the royal way to a good performance! I will explain why it is in your best interest to think about it for your next objective and will give you some advice so that running in Negative Split becomes an automatism for your competitions.
What is running in Negative Split?
Running in Negative Split is nothing more or less than running the second half of the race faster than the first. Simple, right? On paper, yes, in practice much less. Because during a competition, the management of the form is generally the same for everyone. At first you feel strong, you have the impression that you can go fast. As the kilometres pass, this feeling evaporates as fatigue sets in.
At the halfway point, we would therefore tend to want to slow down rather than accelerate. In fact, that's the difficulty of a Negative Split race. You already have to start at a pace where you don't draw on your reserves, a little slower than the target (around 2%), to get in good shape halfway through the race and still have the strength to accelerate. Here it is mentally that you have to be ready to "slap yourself" to take action, without question. It should almost be remembered that the race only starts after the first half.
Why run in Negative Split?
When you decide to run in Negative Split it is because you know each other well, that you feel you can manage your race pace, to within a few seconds per kilometre, which is not so easy. If you are not confident about this part, it is better to forget it because you will spend your time looking at your watch and trying to adjust your rhythm, which is expensive in energy and would make you lose all the benefits of the Negative Split. If this part seems playable to you, the advantages are many:
- Enter a virtuous circle: Mentally, you always feel better when you ride up riders than when you ride up. Knowing that the mind still plays a major role in the achievement of a competitive performance, it is better to give yourself an advantage over others from the beginning, right?
- Controlling your physique: Starting slower means letting your body gradually adapt to the race. It also means minimizing the fatigue that we will have to face in the second part of the race.
- Having them under your feet: You ruminate during the first half of the race, you feel easy, you only want to arrive at the moment when you have to let go of the horses. When this moment arrives, we free ourselves, we enjoy it, the finish is not so far away and we still have the mentality of a champion!
How to work the Negative Split?
To succeed in running in Negative Split, it is good to prepare this for training. You don't upset your training, however, a few simple adjustments are enough to prepare for a Negative Split competition.
- Insert qualitative work at the end of a long outing: Very often, my long outings involve a little qualitative work. No faster than the marathon pace, the goal is not to do volume and quality in the same session, it would be too tiring. Performing 10 to 15-minute segments at marathon speed in the second half of the long run helps to accustom the body to accelerate with a pre-fatigue. Like what will happen on race day, in short.
- Do progressive fractionated training: To accustom the brain to accelerate, in a fairly clear way, we will do it in our fractionated sessions. This may consist, for example, in combining in the same session fractions at marathon speed, then at half speed, to finish at 10km speed. There are many possibilities.
To go further than the Negative Split
For a first test of the Negative Split race, I am quite satisfied. First of all, it led me to a big time. And then it was a totally controlled Negative Split. Gnawing at my brake during the first 10km passed in 38'33 and accelerating on the second part of the course with a last 10km in 37'40 is almost 1′ faster. I listened a lot to my feelings during this race and I think that the Negative Split Running method can still be improved. Instead of splitting the race in two parts with a significant acceleration at mid-race (if I can assure you, when you accelerate, you can still have legs you can feel the difference right away!), I will split the race into quarters.
- 1st quarter: Slowest: 2% slower than the target rate to heat the machine
- 2nd quarter: We gradually accelerate: Km after Km we get closer to the objective rhythm
- 3rd quarter: We exceed the objective rhythm: As we didn't burn our cartridges at the beginning of the race, it must go pretty well!
- 4th quarter: Mind: The legs can't take it anymore, but it would be worse if you started faster and you still have your mind to accelerate again and finish about 2% below the target rhythm and sprint towards your goal!
This progressive acceleration allows to constantly catch up with riders, which strengthens the mind and puts them in a virtuous circle beneficial to the achievement of a performance. All right? Don't you agree? Any Positive Split fans in the room? I look forward to reading your comments on this racing tactic!