From the fire roads to the interstate
My race tactics were to run an even effort from the start, try to pick off a few rivals along the way, and to finish strongly. I was moderately successful. Ran through 1k in 4:25 before spotting Jim up ahead then gradually pegging him back by 3k. He was slowing though, so I set my sights on Charlie, about 80 metres ahead. For the rest of the race the elastic in that gap only varied slightly — until, that is, the final kilometre. Suddenly I could see that I was catching him! I put in a major effort and closed to within 10 metres before the last little rise, 100 metres or so before the finish. Then it was a matter of kicking very hard inside the last 30 metres to take the 'victory' by less than a second. It had been a fun race!
I like racing! As I've said in earlier blogs, I much prefer tactical racing than 'time-trialing' during a race (with the goal of running a personal best time for the distance). The recent World Championships in Daegu has me thinking about the tactics I might employ during races to finish ahead of my rivals. For instance, I could just run hard out in front and hope to burn them off — like Binnaz Uslu did in her heat of the women's 3000m steeplechase. Or I could follow the pace à la Jennifer Barringer Simpson in the women's 1500 final before kicking hard off the final turn (Joe wrote a nice piece about Jenny B). Or I could run steadily with my rivals for over half the race before putting in a withering surge, leaving them demoralised (as Abel Kirui did by running a 14:18 5k split from 25 to 30k in the men's marathon). I have lots of opportunities for racing coming up, with the commencement of our Spring/Summer racing season. The ACT Veterans organise track racing on Thursday evenings and the YMCA of Canberra Runner's Club have a 5k series starting on 1 November.
I'm wondering how you, the readers of this blog, go about racing? How many of you run races as time-trials and how many enjoy employing tactics against your rivals as I do? If it's the latter, what tactics do you use? Promise I won't tell!