One of the biggest rookie mistakes in racing is going out too fast in the beginning of the race. Most runners have at least one story about a race when they felt so great during the first few miles that they ran ahead of pace, only to crash and burn during the final miles. The problem is that if you go out too fast, you'll burn through your stored energy too quickly and your muscles will fatigue faster, leaving you feeling tired and depleted toward the end of your race.
The racing solution: Here are some ways that you can avoid going out too fast:
- Deliberately run your first mile slower than you plan to run the final one. It's tough to do, since you'll most likely feel really strong in the beginning. But keep in mind that for every second you go out too fast in the first half of your race, you could lose as much as double that amount of time in the second half of your race.
- Try to make sure you're in the correct starting position. Don't start yourself with faster runners because you'll most likely try to keep up with them.
- Start your race at a comfortable pace and make sure you check your watch at the first mile marker. If you're ahead of your anticipated pace, slow down. It's not too late to make pace corrections after just one mile.
- Keep telling yourself that lots of other runners are going to pass you in the first mile. But you'll be passing a lot more later in the race.
- Practice starting out slow during training runs. When you do your long run each week, try to hold back during the first few miles, so you get used to the discipline of not going out too fast.
How to Finish Races Stronger and Faster