Sunday’s run turned out to be an interesting experiment in negative splits. My wife was scheduled for a ten-miler but I’m only up to eight miles in training as my hips and strength training progresses. So I ran four miles out with her and turned back to complete the run on my own.
We started with a warmup 10:00 mile. Then we dropped to 9:40 for the second mile. From there it was time for Sue to start her first 6:00 interval at her 10K pace, so we hit 9:24. A pattern was emerging.
The next mile I dropped another twenty seconds or so to come through in 9:07. Then came an 8:39, another twenty second drop to 8:18 per mile, and then the seventh mile in 7:55.
That was seven consecutive miles of descending or negative splits. Each of those miles dropped the pace by essentially twenty seconds. The final mile I used as a warmdown at 8:54.
The trick to running negative splits is to be consistent in how you increase the pace. Those twenty-second drops were the result of an increase in stride rate and style. They are also the result of years of practice running pace workouts on the track.
It’s also about stride changes. As the pace increased I moved onto the forefoot and increased my back kick a bit as the miles went along. I was running as if I were a younger guy again.
It’s been a laborious process at times getting back to this point of fitness. Last year was a depressing debacle for me with injuries and illness. That meant much of the time spent on winter runs was plugging away 4-6 miles at a time at 10:00 mile pace. Humble duties require commitment. Part of me wondered if I’d ever run any faster again.
Sticking with it pays dividends. And when one of those days comes along with negative splits and some evidence of results, there’s no better feeling in the world of running. Here’s hoping you can be negative sometimes. It’s a great feeling.