If I look back over my running and particularly the marathon, out of the 10 marathons I have raced only 2 have been with negative splits. Yet a fellow Blaydon Harrier, Steve, always seems to run negative splits.
The first time I ran negative splits was in my second marathon (Newcastle 1983) and it was a definite plan from the outset, having suffered so badly in my first marathon (London 1982), where I had went through 20 miles in 2 hours only to take 56 painful minutes to complete the final 6 miles.
Newcastle saw me set off and maintain a steady pace just below my average planned race pace for the first 13 miles. After which I steadily picked it up and worked my way through the field to finish strongly in 8th place with a 22 minute improvement of 2.34.
It would be wrong of me to credit all of the improvement to the tactic of negative splits as other factors like increased training, experience etc. also came into play. But it did work and I felt really strong at the finish. Despite this I only managed to run this way on one other occasion.
And it seems I am not alone. The following statistics regarding marathons in America have just been released atrunnersconnect.net following research by Phil Miller:
- 3 out of 108 men who ran the 2016 Olympic Trials ran negative splits
- 4 out of 149 women finishers ran negative splits
- There were 37408 finishers in the Chicago marathon of which only 5% ran negative splits