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Race strategies (Read 601 times)

farandfast


Jackalope

    I'm run cross country for my high school down in texas. I run 2 or 3 mile races and my coach is always telling us that our first mile needs to be considerably faster than our other miles. I'm not sold on this though so what are ya'lls thoughts on this?
    "Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true fearlessness." -Laozi
    westsidefirst1


      my xc coach tells our team that "slower means faster" meaning not to go all out on the first mile. at a meet for example, i went out in 5 20 and was 11 22 at the 2 mile. so our coach said that even though 11 22 is a good 2 mile time for me to hit, i would be able to do better on the 3rd mile if i went out slower on the 1st one. so maybe make the first mile faster than the others, but not considerably faster that was for a 5k race, just so you know
        I won't say I've never heard *anyone* suggest that kind of strategy - but most people I've heard or read rather strongly suggest starting slower, aiming for a negative split, getting faster throughout the run, and saving something for the kick. From my own experience, in my own runs, whether it's a 3-miler in the neighborhood or a marathon, I do a lot better overall with either a steady pace or a negative split. Okay, I'm lying. I haven't pulled off a negative split marathon. But I think when I do, it'll be my fastest! I do know that the other day I shattered my own personal 7-mile neighborhood run record - and I did it by starting slower than usual, not faster. In fact, the reason I finished so strong was I wasn't even planning to run it fast ... and realized at mile 4 that I was feeling awfully fresh. With all that said, your coach is the expert - and even though I think he's wrong from a physiological standpoint, he might be right as far as mental racing strategy. In other words, some people do suggest going all out to demoralize your competitors and burn them out early. Prefontaine was famous for it. But I'd guess that's a crash-and-burn strategy more often than a winning strategy. All that matters is the end result - so why not try it both ways. Betcha a beer (or a soda for you!) that starting slower will end up faster. Let us know what happens.
        E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
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        farandfast


        Jackalope

          Thanks for all the great advice. I've made a point to hit negative splits on my runs the last couple days and I felt like I was going a lot faster with less effort. Can't wait to try it in a meet!
          "Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true fearlessness." -Laozi
          Scout7


          CPT Curmudgeon

            When I ran XC, my coach saved that strategy for our rabbit(s), and the rest of us did the exact opposite. I naturally run slower for the first bit, anyways (although not necessarily a whole mile, but I had and have slow starts). I can see the point your coach is making in that depending on the course you're running, it can be demoralizing to have to adjust your race plan to try to keep up with a bunch of guys going all out in the first mile, as well as losing sight of your competetion within the same. It's always a balancing act, and there is a fair amount of subtle strategy that can come into play on a short course.
            farandfast


            Jackalope

              Wow! I ran a meet today and ran almost even splits (5:41 and 5:44), and I shattered my PR by 30 secs. It did help that the course wasn't too hard and the weather was wonderful, but I felt like I had so much more for my finish. Thanks again for all the great advice!
              "Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true fearlessness." -Laozi