Question: Why does a “negative split” produce faster times?
Answer: By running a bit slower than you could currently run in the marathon from the beginning, you will save resources (muscle fuel, feet, joints, muscles, tendons). Whatever you save in the first half will be available for use during the second half. Most runners I’ve surveyed, who have run more than 5 marathons, ran their fastest marathon by using this strategy. So, a smart pacer will run about 20 seconds per mile slower than goal pace during the first 4-6 miles. If everything is going well at that point, increase the per-mile pace to 5-10 seconds slower than goal pace for another 5 miles. At that point, increase to the pace you believe you can average for the rest of the marathon. After mile #18, you can run as you wish. Whatever you have saved in the first half you can spend during the last 6-8 miles on race day.
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