“Last mile, best mile” // Why I love negative splits

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Why save the best mile for last?

Well, because it will make you feel empowered.  To finish strong.  To see what you have left in the tank those last few minutes. To push yourself, body and mind, even when you are exhausted.

Do what you need to do – tighten your ponytail, turn on your power music, tell yourself, “you got this” – and then pick up the pace for that final push.

For whatever reason, I have always liked the concept of negative splits.  Allowing your body to warm up, then progressively get faster with a strong finish. Maybe it’s early in the morning and you’re not quite awake. Perhaps you’re just not feeling a run today, but you make yourself get out there and decide to “start slow.” Just getting started is half the battle and once your body warms up, you’ll often find that the running magic – whether it be motivation, ambition, adrenaline, competitiveness – will kick in and a strong finish is only a mind-set away.


Tank by Sarah Marie Designs – one of my recent favorites! 

During my last half marathon, I started out on my own (miles 1-2), then decided to catch the two hour group, hung with them for a while (miles 4-10) and then decided to kick it in the last three miles. Love seeing those negative splits at the end!


Eric Fruth, owner of  Columbus Running Co (Dublin) offers us this advice on negative splits… “In order to be at your most efficient on race day, and to run negative splits in your own race, you’ll want to practice. Start with one of your easy recovery runs. Run the second half just a little quicker than the first, teaching your body to accelerate as you get warmed up, loosening up as you go. For a track workout, that means running slightly quicker on each interval of your workout. You’ll find that this approach really pays off, allowing you to finish workouts on a high note and with your best effort. By training like this, you’ll prepare yourself for a strong second half on race day, regardless of the distance you’re chasing.”

Two of my favorite negative split workouts…

  • Descending ladder run – there aren’t any set rules here, do what works for you!  I typically do a 2xmile, 2×800, 2×400 with a 30 second recovery in between each rep, getting faster with each ladder.  Add in a 1/2 mile cool down and you’ve got a great 4 mile run.
  • Progression runs – the options are endless!  Sometimes I’ll start out slow for a warm up mile, then pick up the pace by 20 seconds each mile thereafter. If I’m just doing a quick three, I’ll split it in thirds; first mile easy, second mile “push” and third mile “all out.” This is also a good 5K race day strategy (so they say)!

Finishing faster and stronger than you started is an art.  Practice makes you better.  So work it into your training and perhaps even at your next race… we dare you!

Do you like negative splits?  What is your favorite speed strategy?  Let us know! 

Sources and more info…


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