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1504 Views 6 Replies Latest reply: Oct 17, 2012 12:31 PM by swerl
swerl Rookie 3 posts since
Oct 16, 2012
Currently Being Moderated

Oct 16, 2012 11:21 AM

What is Your Race Pace Strategy?

I've been wondering if there is an "ideal" or "recommended" race pace strategy?  For example, do you run the whole race at the same pace or do you go for an average?  Do you start off slow and speed up throughout?  Do you plateau once you reach a goal pace? 


I'd really appreciate your thoughts.



  • BOSNPM We're Not Worthy 2,482 posts since
    Nov 20, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Oct 16, 2012 12:02 PM (in response to swerl)
    What is Your Race Pace Strategy?

    A lot depends on the distance of your race.  Even or just slightly negative is best if you can run your race that way.  One thing for sure is that if you go out to fast you will pay for it latter in the race!

  • Jasko123 Legend 461 posts since
    Apr 18, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Oct 16, 2012 12:48 PM (in response to swerl)
    What is Your Race Pace Strategy?

    I agree that a lot depends on the distance of the race and I have also learned over the years to study the specific course because that influences the plan (so trying to take advantage of flat, downhill portions and preparing for where the long inclines are coming, for example).  Also, it is easy to get "off pace", especially at larger races or with unexpected happenings along a longer route. I would say get into the physical/mental groove early on and keep a good estimate of the sense of mile markers.


    Of course the best pace formula is highly individualized, just as certain training plans are different based on personal abilities and expectations.  I guess if I had to give a short answer, it would simply be to focus on the strongest areas and have faith in those aspects at events. 

  • crl8686 Legend 1,312 posts since
    Nov 11, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Oct 16, 2012 10:01 PM (in response to swerl)
    What is Your Race Pace Strategy?

    Conventional race wisdom is to do either an even pace or slight negative splits. That assumes that the terrain is relatively uniform through the race. If there are significant hills, running them at constant effort - not constant speed - is an efficient way to use your energy - you intentionally slow down on the uphills and speed up on the downhills.


    Starting out too fast is almost always a recipe for burnout late in the race, especially at longer distances, but even in shorter distances like the 5K.


    In a 5K or 10K race, I tend to run the first mile just a bit slower than what I'd consider 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).

    2015 highlights...

    @ 5K: Ontario Mills 5K, Ontario, CA, 25:17

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

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

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

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

  • BOSNPM We're Not Worthy 2,482 posts since
    Nov 20, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Oct 17, 2012 12:16 PM (in response to swerl)
    What is Your Race Pace Strategy?

    I would add that for  new runners that the way you posted is not bad.  It takes time to be able to pace correctly in a race!  You will feel better doing it the way you posted, but it might not give you your best time, which is okay.

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