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Running 101: Negative Splits

There's a bunch of jargon associated with running, which is ironic since it is one of the easiest forms of exercise to do — just lace up your shoes and go. One term to add to your list of fitness terms is "negative splits," which means running faster for the second half of your run or race than you did for the first half. This increase in speed puts you in the negative in terms of time, but here are a couple of positives for doing so.

  • Negative splits help you warm up thoroughly. Going slower earlier in your run means your joints, muscles, heart, and lungs will be primed to pick up speed in the second half of your run.
  • Running more slowly at the beginning of a race will help you conserve energy so you can finish strong. To have the discipline to race this way, you need to practice negative splits on your training runs.
  • An easy way to incorporate a negative split run in your training is to map out an "out and back" run, so you turn around at the halfway point. Simply run faster for the second half of the run. This will acclimate your body to speeding up halfway through a run.
  • When doing intervals, make the second half of each speed interval faster than the first half. This is yet another way to make intervals more challenging.

Are you going to train negative?

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Zulkey Zulkey 7 years
I am trying to get ready for my first 5K and my trainer has me do "intervals," IE run for 3 minutes at one speed and then a minute at a faster speed. Today I am trying to run 3 miles outside for the first time and I'm not sure how to know how to do these intervals without the treadmill alerting me. I'm considering just using my music, letting the first few bars of each song be my 'fast' time or something.
jillpod jillpod 7 years
I naturally seem to do this, it gets me in tune with my running and I don't even realizing I am running so much faster.
michlny michlny 7 years
I always wondered why the first half hour was always tougher for me and then after I hit the half hour mark, I hit a groove. I guess my body was just warming up....now I won't push myself as hard - the FIRST half :)!
tsp tsp 7 years
funny, this is natural for me. i always feel like the first mile is a bit of a warm up and kind of slower paced for me. then something clicks and i get into a groove and can get a more solid pace & rhythm. my pace has always been pretty solid for 3-4 miles (the distance i run most) but falls off a bit after that. i did my first ever race (a 10k) this past weekend and was able to maintain my pace the whole time. that was a goal for me. i'm a beginner and not the fastest, but i was really proud of achieving that.
tsp tsp 7 years
funny, this is natural for me. i always feel like the first mile is a bit of a warm up and kind of slower paced for me. then something clicks and i get into a groove and can get a more solid pace & rhythm. my pace has always been pretty solid for 3-4 miles (the distance i run most) but falls off a bit after that. i did my first ever race (a 10k) this past weekend and was able to maintain my pace the whole time. that was a goal for me. i'm a beginner and not the fastest, but i was really proud of achieving that.
TidalWave TidalWave 7 years
I'm with lydialee_home. I have so much energy when I start and try to pump myself up mentally that starting out slow seems defeatist. But I am always tired when I turn around (I do 'out and back' runs) and end up walking a bit on the way back. I guess I just need some more discipline when starting out.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
I just started doing this the other day to prevent getting bored on my runs. I didn't realize there was an actual term associated with it.
lydialee_home lydialee_home 7 years
This is very hard for me. I have trouble to maintain a slow/steady pace in the first half during the race - The atmosphere, the adrenaline in my body get me too hyper and always run faster than I should, and I run out of energy at the end. I was following a 3:40 pace group for the first 16 miles of marathon, and then the 3:50 pace group pass me at mile 20, and I was down to 12 min per mile from mile 23-26. I know if I go for a slower pace in the beginning, I will do much better in the race.
lydialee_home lydialee_home 7 years
This is very hard for me. I have trouble to maintain a slow/steady pace in the first half during the race - The atmosphere, the adrenaline in my body get me too hyper and always run faster than I should, and I run out of energy at the end. I was following a 3:40 pace group for the first 16 miles of marathon, and then the 3:50 pace group pass me at mile 20, and I was down to 12 min per mile from mile 23-26. I know if I go for a slower pace in the beginning, I will do much better in the race.
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