Andrew, precisely. There's just something about running head to head against another runner. For most people, it will propel you to a harder effort than simply running against the clock. The clock is just a number. Out on the course, it's an imaginary line in the middle of nowhere. Another runner is someone you can look at, focus on, convince yourself you can pass. Heck, in my case with nobody near me, it was easier to imagine another runner breathing down my neck and use that to push harder and harder than to imagine a line of some magical pace that might pass me.
Double, as usual, I love it! One thing I would ask, are you still not racing when you use a pace strategy? I use a strategy of relatively even splits/effort. When I let someone who is going out too fast go early on, that's my racing strategy. When he comes back mid race, my racing strategy is to bury him before he can recover for that big finish. Yes, it's an even splits strategy, maybe with a surge thrown in to break his spirit when I go by him, but it's still a racing strategy with a competitive focus. I'm still focusing on where my competition is and how I feel much more than what my watch is telling me (which is a good thing since I don't wear a watch 🙂 ).
Cesar, I've looked at quite a few race pictures of KK and have yet to find a watch on his wrist in any. I do think that the elites especially tend to focus more on racing than many people. Of course, it's easier for them probably because they are there up front and the competition is very clear. They are going out there to beat all comers. Same for those collegiate runners, same for top high school runners, same in most if not all cases for Rupp. It's a little harder to see the competition in the middle of the pack but, when I've been in the middle of the pack, I've still never had trouble finding it. There's always someone ahead of you to catch or someone coming up behind you to hold off or to let go for now, with hopes you will pass that runner later. If you look at it that way, the competition in the middle of the pack can be more readily available than it is for the elites.