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What Does Split Time Mean in Running

What Does Split Time Mean in Running

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What Does Split Time Mean in Running

What Does Split Time Mean in Running? Menu Verywell Fit Nutrition Weight Management Nutrition Facts Nutrition Basics Diets Meal Plans Meal Delivery Services View All News Fitness and Nutrition What to Buy How We Test Products Fitness Gear Nutrition Products Tools Recipe Nutrition Calculator Weight Loss Calorie Goal BMI Calculator Body Fat Percentage Calculator Calories Burned by Activity Daily Calories Burned Pace Calculator About Us Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Search Running Beginners Splits and Negative Splits in Running By Christine Luff, ACE-CPT Christine Luff, ACE-CPT Christine Many Luff is a personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, and Road Runners Club of America Certified Coach

Learn about our editorial process Updated on March 10, 2022 Reviewed Verywell Fit articles are reviewed by nutrition and exercise professionals

Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research

Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates

Learn more

by John Honerkamp Reviewed byJohn Honerkamp John Honerkamp is an RRCA and USATF certified running coach, celebrity marathon pacer, and recognized leader in the New York City running community

Learn about our Review Board Print Westend61/Creative RF/Getty Images Table of Contents View All Table of Contents How to Track Splits How to Use Splits Negative Splits How to Improve Splits How to Maintain Splits “Split” is a running and racing term that means the time that it takes to complete a specific distance

For example, if you’re running five miles, your time at each mile marker is called a “mile split

” Some runners use splits to see if they’re pacing evenly and staying on track to hit a specific goal

So, if you’re running a timed mile, you may check your splits every quarter-mile to see if you’re on pace

Tracking your mile splits during a race is crucial if you’re trying to reach a specific goal time, like qualifying for the Boston Marathon

(For 2022, the qualifying time for men 18 to 34 years old was three hours; for women in that age group it was three hours and 30 minutes

The times go up by five minutes for each five-year age group until age 55 and above

) If you know your split time (or pace), you can estimate your finish time and train to improve it

How to Track Split Time Most running watches are equipped to record splits

During a race, you can hit a split button on the watch each time you hit a mile marker

If you have a running watch with GPS, it will track your splits automatically

Calculating your pace (time divided by distance) after a run will give you an average overall pace, not a specific split for each segment

Here is what 1 kilometer split times could look like for a 5K race run in 24 minutes at an even pace: Split DistanceSplit Time (minutes)Total DistanceTotal Time (minutes) 1 km4:481 km4:48 1 km4:482 km9:36 1 km4:483 km14:24 1 km4:484 km19:12 1 km4:485 km24:00 Or, for a half-marathon, you can check your split times in 5-kilometer increments

These are split times for a half-marathon with a finish time of 2 hours

Split DistanceSplit Time (minutes)Total DistanceTotal Time 5 km28:26

355 km28:26

35 5 km28:26

3510 km56:52

7 5 km28:26

3515 km1:25:19

04 5 km28:26

3520 km1:53:45

39 1

1 km6:14


1 km (13

1 mi)2:00

00 How to Use Split Time During a race, knowing your split time helps you know if you are on track to achieve your finish-time goal

In the half-marathon example above, if you reach the 5K marker at 27 minutes, you are going too fast

Now you know you should slow down a bit to conserve energy

And conversely, if you don’t reach that 5K marker until you’ve been running for 30 minutes, you will need to speed up (this may be your plan if you are aiming for a negative split)

To avoid having to memorize these numbers, some marathon runners use pace bracelets or temporary pace tattoos on their arms so they know what splits they’re supposed to be hitting at specific mile markers

Review your splits after races to determine how well you did with pacing and what you can improve for the next race

Negative Splits Negative splitting refers to running the second half of a race faster than the first

So, for instance, if you’re running a marathon and you run the first 13

1 miles in 2:01:46, and then the second 13

1 miles in 1:59:30, then you ran a negative split

If your second half is slower, it’s called a positive split

Negative splitting is the ideal way to run a long-distance race such as a half or full marathon

 However, many runners do the opposite by going out too fast in the beginning, and then slowing down significantly in the second half of the race

It’s a common mistake

Because you feel rested and strong in the beginning, so it’s tempting to go out fast

It takes a lot of discipline and practice to achieve a negative split

Most people can’t do it in their first marathon

But, generally, if you can hold back and conserve your energy in the first half of the race so that you can run faster in the second half, you’ll perform much better overall

How to Improve Split Time Improving your split time generally means improving your overall pace

There are several different ways to train for faster times

Improve your stride turnover: Work on taking more steps per minute

Try interval training: Add bursts of speed to your training runs

Or, do hill repeats

Add a weekly tempo run: Run at a steady effort level, just a bit slower than your usual 10K pace

Try a progression run: To gradually increase your pace during the course of your run (just like you would do in a negative split), start out at a 4 on the perceived effort scale, gradually increase to 8, and then cool down

How to Maintain a Consistent Split Keeping a steady pace can be challenging for many runners

But working on this can help build the endurance and control necessary to complete a long-distance run or race

You can try strategies such as: Running to music timed to your preferred cadence (say, 160 beats per minute)Timing yourself doing laps on a track, to get to know how a certain pace feelsPace-setting apps or functions on your running watch What’s most important is repetition and practice being aware of what a pace feels like in your body

Then you’ll be able to reach it even without a timer

A Word From Verywell Measuring your split time or running pace can allow you to better approximate when you’ll cross a race finish line or conclude a run

As a runner, this can give you significant insights into your training threshold and how you can improve your finish time

But it’s only one measurement of progress

Track your rate of perceived exertion, perform the talk test, and above all, listen to your body to best estimate how your run is going

How Fast Can Humans Run? Plus, How to Be a Faster Runner 6 Sources Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles

Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy

Boston Athletic Association

Qualify for the Boston Marathon


Marathon pace wristband creator

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Age differences in pacing in endurance running: Comparison between marathon and half-marathon men and women

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3390/medicina55080479 Ravnholt T, Tybirk J, Jørgensen NR, Bangsbo J

High-intensity intermittent “5-10-15” running reduces body fat, and increases lean body mass, bone mineral density, and performance in untrained subjects

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1007/s00421-018-3851-x Del Coso J, Fernández D, Abián-Vicen J, et al

Running pace decrease during a marathon is positively related to blood markers of muscle damage






0057602 American Council on Exercise

Exploring the effects of music on exercise intensity

By Christine Luff, ACE-CPTChristine Many Luff is a personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, and Road Runners Club of America Certified Coach

See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Related Articles Learn Your Pace With Our Running Pace Calculator What Is a Pacer? Basic Half-Marathon Training Schedule for Beginners Walking Time for Mile, 5K, 10K, Half-Marathon, Marathon, and More Running for Beginners: How to Get Started How to Run Faster What’s a Good Finishing Time for Running a Marathon? 6 Track Workouts to Improve Your Speed and Finishing Kick 10 Fun Running Challenges to Keep You Motivated How Long Does It Take to Run a Marathon? What Is a Good 10k Time for Beginners and Advanced Runners? 8 Tips for a Stronger Race Finish What Is a Good Half Marathon Time? How Long Will It Take You to Run a 5K? How to Prepare for Walking a Half Marathon The 9 Best Running Apps of 2022 When you visit the site, Dotdash Meredith and its partners may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies

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