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1664 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Oct 22, 2012 1:27 PM by BradW44
TazDevil1979 Rookie 4 posts since
Feb 19, 2012
Currently Being Moderated

Oct 10, 2012 5:22 PM

Training Question - Start fast or finish fast

So I've tried both approaches and I always seem to come back to trying to finish harder than I start out; however, I've heard to start hard because you'll tire out and not have as much energy as you think you'll have at the end of the run but my thought is, if you go out hard to start, you'll burn out before you even get to the end anyway. I was curious what other runners techniques are. I'm sure it will depend on the person and everyone is different but I was curious which method seems to be the general practice.

  • skypilot77 Legend 1,077 posts since
    Dec 16, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Oct 10, 2012 6:09 PM (in response to TazDevil1979)
    Training Question - Start fast or finish fast

    Are you asking about regular training, or racing? And if racing, what distance are you asking about.


    If you are asking about training --- training involves a bunch of different types of running. For Example, tempo runs, long runs, hills, intervals, just running to run, etc Each of those types of runs calls for a different effort, mind set, and goals.


    If I am running a long run I am not going out fast, and will not even try to finish fast. If I am running intervals I am working on speed. The goal is to gain speed. To run faster one has to run faster, but not every day.


    I hope this helps

  • BOSNPM We're Not Worthy 2,482 posts since
    Nov 20, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Oct 11, 2012 7:24 AM (in response to skypilot77)
    Training Question - Start fast or finish fast

    Races even is the best!  Training I think you need to start at a pace that you can end with, I tend to end my workout faster on repeats.

  • Jasko123 Legend 461 posts since
    Apr 18, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Oct 11, 2012 2:10 PM (in response to TazDevil1979)
    Training Question - Start fast or finish fast

    I agree with skypilot in that it depends on many different factors (what you are preparing for, your expectations, the course, the distance and so on).  I tend to start out faster for shorter races.  I know this is an overly simplistic answer, but, in general, it really comes down to individual sustaining options for a particular length of time. 


    I have never been a strong finisher, so usually I find it more beneficial to begin with greater speed and plan that the final few miles will probably be at a reduced pace. 

    If you are talking about race events, this sometimes works out fine to place yourself in the upper top 25% early on, but it still depends on all the other variables. 


    As a general practice, I try to start out fast with a prayer that my "afterburner" will kick in and I will just go into that numb mental haze of continuing to move quickly. 


    Again, everyone is different, so it is important to indentify your personal advantages. 

  • crl8686 Legend 1,313 posts since
    Nov 11, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Oct 14, 2012 9:28 PM (in response to TazDevil1979)
    Re: Training Question - Start fast or finish fast

    Conventional wisdom is either an even pace or slight negative splits. This assumes, of course, that the terrain is relatively uniform through the race. Starting out too fast is almost always a recipe for burnout late in the race, especially at longer distances.


    Personally, I tend to run the first mile just a bit slower than ideal pace. This is often unavoidable, especially in a large field, where it can often take a quarter mile or more for the crowd to start thinning out. That usually leads to slight negative splits. In the last mile, I'll often turn up the heat as far as I can without burning out - leaving just enough for a final acceleration if I need it, say to beat a certain clock time (or to get past someone who looks like they're in my age group, LOL). But if I have enough energy left at the end for a major finishing sprint, it means I was too conservative and didn't push hard enough during the race.

    2015 highlights...

    @ 5K: New Balance Palm Springs 5K, Palm Springs, CA, 24:32

    Angels Baseball Foundation 5K, Anaheim, CA, 24:24

    Pride of the Valley, Baldwin Park, CA, 24:28

    @ 10K: LA Chinatown Firecracker 10K, Los Angeles, CA, 52:15

    Great Race of Agoura - Old Agoura 10K, Agoura Hills, CA, 51:40

    Fiesta Days Run, La Canada, CA, 49:57

  • BradW44 Pro 119 posts since
    Jun 15, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Oct 22, 2012 1:27 PM (in response to TazDevil1979)
    Training Question - Start fast or finish fast

    There is no right answer to this questions.  From a physiological standpoint, it is common to give in to the adrenaline rush at the start and go out fast.  Unfortunately, that rush wont last long and you end up going out so fast that you doom the rest of your race/run.  If you really concentrate on remaining in control at the beginning and getting into a good rhythm, you may be better able to run faster as the race progresses.  If you get really lucky, youll get a nice endorphin high that will carry you.  I can tell you that I have experienced that many times but not once when I went out too fast.  Every person is different though!  This will require you to continue experimenting as to which works best for you!  Good luck!


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