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THE POWER OF
THE NEGATIVE SPLIT
Finish your next run faster than you started,
and you'll be stronger when you're done.

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No one likes to start a race out slowly. The gun goes off and you feel an urge to run as hard as you
can for as long as you can. It's only natural. But if your goal is to finish strong (or in some cases, at
all), then it's way better to rein it in, ease your way out of the gates at a steady pace, and then
gradually pick up your speed so that you don't end up crashing before you reach the finish line.
One way to improve your mental and physical ability to do just that is to practice running negative
splits (where the second half of your run is faster than the first) throughout your training.
"If you train with that principle in mind and tune your body to different paces, you will experience
one of the best feelings in the sport—the feeling of getting stronger and more powerful in the
second half of a race," says Nike+ Run Club (NRC) San Francisco Coach Jason Rexing. "There
is no greater motivator than watching runner after runner grow bigger and bigger in your view until
you fly past them on your way to a PR."
Here's a quick primer on where (and how) to successfully work negative splits into your routine.

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PROGRESSION RUNS
Within the NRC Weekly Workouts, both the Recovery Run and the Long Run should be
performed as progressions, in which you go from slowest to fastest miles and naturally produce
a negative split.
HOW: These workouts should be performed at a relaxed, comfortable pace that allows your body
to recover for more strenuous training sessions during the week.
"Over the course of the run you'll progress from slower than projected average pace to average
pace to faster than projected average pace. [For example, if you want to run 5 miles at 8:00 pace,
run your first mile at 8:20 and increase the pace by about 10 seconds every mile. So you'll run
8:20-8:10-8:00-7:50-7:40.] In the end, your average speed will still be exactly what you set out to
run. Plus, you will have taught your body a good lesson: The longer it goes, the better it runs,"
notes NRC Global Head Coach Chris Bennett.
For your Long Run progression, try breaking the distance up into thirds, recommends NRC
Chicago Coach Robyn LaLonde. Run your first third 15 seconds/mile slower than goal pace, the
second one at goal pace and your last third 15 seconds/mile faster than goal pace.

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TEMPO RUNS
"During tempo runs, the goal is normally to try and run even splits (where all miles are performed
at the same pace), but increasing your speed at the end every now and then is actually great
preparation for the last few miles of a race when you need to push yourself beyond your comfort
zone," says Rexing.
HOW: Bump up your speed for the last two miles of your next tempo run. So if you're planning to
run 6 miles at 7:30 pace, hold that pace for the first four miles. Then try to drop your pace down to
7:20, then 7:10 for miles 5 and 6.

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INTERVALS
These speed workouts involve running fast for multiple brief periods, allowing time for your body
to quickly recover after each. Since they're normally performed at varying paces, intervals are the
perfect type of workout to practice negative splits, notes Rexing.
HOW: Do progression mile repeats. Try 4 x 1 mile, with a 2-minute recovery interval between
each. Mile 1 should be hard, yet comfortable, miles 2 and 3 at 10K pace and for mile 4, push it at
5K pace.

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TUNE-UP RACE
"Pick a shorter race before your goal race and run it progressively as a way to simulate what you'll
need to do come race day," says LaLonde.
HOW: If you're training for a half marathon, run a 10K about six weeks beforehand. Perform the
first 2.5 miles calmly, pacing yourself comfortably below your goal half-marathon pace. For the
next 2.5 miles, gradually increase your pace until you reach goal half-marathon pace, and then
hold it confidently. In the final 1.2 miles, push yourself up to about 10K pace and finish strong.
"Running negative splits in a race takes patience, discipline and toughness. You need the
patience to stick to your race plan even when you see people who you know you can beat darting
ahead of you in the opening miles. You need the discipline to increase your pace steadily, even if
your legs feel like they can handle a more ballistic surge. And you need the toughness to continue
increasing your speed at the end of the race when your body's natural response to the lactic acid
in your legs is to slow down." —NRC San Francisco Coach Jason Rexing.

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CHRIS BENNETT NRC GLOBAL HEAD COACH @coachbennett

ROBYN LALONDE NRC CHICAGO COACH @coach.robyn

JASON REXING NRC SAN FRANCISCO @coachrexing

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For more running inspiration, motivation and advice,
follow these NRC coaches on Instagram.

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RUN SMARTER

Learn how to become a fitter,
faster and healthier runner.

Go deeper and run further
with Nike+ Run Club.

Get up to speed with popular (and
often misunderstood) running topics.

Get inspired with nutritional advice
and recipes for runners.

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as a runner.

Explore in-depth workouts designed
by athletes and elite NRC coaches.

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