Sunday, September 11, 2011

From the fire roads to the interstate

I raced in the Canberra Times 10k this morning — my first road 10k since last year's race at the Gold Coast on 3 July. Then: 49:26. Today: 46:23. So, a nice improvement, but aside from that, I was most happy about how my legs felt. They were springy! Especially so during the first 3k, prior to the gradual 2k climb up by Julia's house (I didn't see her cheering).

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!

Tortoise beats Hare at Copley Square in BostonI used tortoise tactics to beat Charlie today - as I perfected at Copley Square in Boston on our recent holiday