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Half of running is physical. You must train your body and muscles to respond to the pressure to perform. The other half of running is mental. It is imperative to train your mind to respond to the mental challenge of pushing through tough workouts or races.
One aspect of running that requires both physical and mental planning is the notion of negative splits. To run a negative split, you must finish your run at a faster pace than you started. This means that you intentionally run each mile faster than the one before. Negative splits might also mean that you run the first half of a race slower than the second half. Whatever approach you choose to use, the goal is to end faster than you started.
While this idea might seem like common sense, it is often hard to put into practice because of our desire to constantly push ourselves. It can be hard to tame the lion within that wants to tear up the run from the very first step! Achieving negative split running is rooted in the ability to control your pace by not starting out too fast, which can result in diminishing energy reserves too quickly. By including negative split runs into your training regime, you will allow yourself to become comfortable running at a slower pace at the start of a run in order to conserve energy. Practicing this type of running is crucial as it can be extremely difficult to deliver in a race situation because of the pack mentality. When running in a large group, it is easy to get caught up in the pace of those around you instead of managing your pace and running your own race. Through practice, you will not only train your body but also you mind to finish faster than you started. If you achieve negative splits in a race, there is a great possibility that you will pass many people on the home stretch, so just remember- it’s rude to count the number of people you pass out loud! 🙂