Negativity over negative splits?

(Fitting that Moby’s “Run On” was playing when I started to type this.)

I am personally in week 14 of 22 toward training for the Royal Victoria Marathon, and my body can feel the toll all this running has taken. Thankfully, it’s nothing major, so as long as I carry on and take it easy, I shouldn’t experience an injury before October (knock wood here).

The scheduled hill session last week had me huffing and puffing as usual, which was fine; I wanted to focus on form. But for some reason, on the last repeat, I went all out. It was an old-fashioned sprint, but uphill. Calculating it later, that could well be the fastest interval I’ve run. On the cool-down and de-stretching, an employee of the running store I train from told me she was surprised at that burst of speed. She knew firsthand because I had passed her about halfway through that final repeat. I told her that it’s usually my style to start conservatively and finish strongly.

I then described the tempo run of the previous day: an out-and-back 6 km, where the first half was done in 17:00, and the second half in 15:30, which included my first sub-five-minute kilometre (equivalent to an 8:00 mile). That’s when she told me that a negative split should not be that disparate. She recommended, and I agreed, that it would be better to run steadily throughout, then surge slightly in the final kilometre or so. I can understand the reasoning for that; I think that a faster overall time can be achievable using this method. I applied that to this week’s tempo and hill runs and felt that staying constant could give me additional endurance under race conditions.

I’d like to pose a few questions: Have you ever had a negative split? Do you achieve them regularly? Is it a good idea to train (and race) in this way?


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