Re: Re: Racing strategies

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I think that the best strategy is to maximize your fitness and mental focus. If you're fit and focused, then you have a lot of flexibility in your strategy and you are less likely to despair if another runner makes a move. I think that those factors are far more likely to separate you from the competition than a strategem. Strategy can make things a bit easier though. I find it interesting that part of Ryan's strategy was to promote an appearance of strength. I like that strategy myself. I believe that if you appear strong, other runners may not even test you. It's much easier to ward off the attack that never comes.

I ran a 5K several years ago on an out and back course with three corners. Two corners were fairly near the start/finish and one corner was near the turnaround. I led most of the race as part of a pack of 5-6 runners, but I briefly slipped to third or fourth at the turnaround. As the leader rounded the corner closest to the turnaround on the way back, I observed that he gained a step or two on the guy behind him. Assuming that this phenomenon occurred at every corner, I decided to take advantage of it later in my push to the finish. There were two more corners remaining — one about 600m from the finish and one about 150m from the finish. I assumed that everyone would kick if the pack was still together at 150m. Back in the day, I would have been happy to let it come down to the last 150m, but in my 30's, I was not so confident in my kick. I resumed the lead shortly after I observed that cornering phenomenon. With about 1000m to go, I picked up the pace a little to insure that I would be leading at the 600m corner. As I rounded that corner, I surged hard and separated myself from the remaining 2 guys. I don't know how much making my move at the corner helped or if it was just that I was a stronger runner that day and I chose to strike first. Though I probably won the race right there, I never looked back and I kept racing toward the finish line as if they were right behind me — which in my imagination, they were.

I think that the best way to improve your strategy is to analyze your races — especially the decision points. If you identify a situation where you would like to try something different, rehearse that situation in your mind so that you will be ready if it occurs again.