Friday, 23 September 2005

Racing Principle #2

Posted by speedygeoff on Friday, September 23, 2005 with 2 comments
"Practise Surging"

My favourite race is the 800 metres because it is the shortest track race run in the inside lane, and therefore is the most tactical race.

What are some good race tactics?

* A sprinter-type sits behind a distance runner-type for as long as possible before kicking past to the finish line.
* A fast distance runner employs surges in the second half of a race to try and build up a lead on a sprinter.
* A runner tries to run as evenly a TIME as possible for each split in order to run a pb or break a record.

In the third case this is not racing; this is pacing, or running a time trial.

In order to race successfully, a runner needs to be able to run at varying pace while very close to top pace. This can be practised at every training session.

Tactics for other distances - a 1500 is more weighted towards the distance type, so a distance runner invites a friend to act as a pacer for the first half of a race, so that a sprinter who tags along ends up tiring and is more easily beaten. A long surge at the right time then wins the race for the distance type. (Hey, I am biased towards distance types. OK?)

Cross Country and hilly road runs - a runner surges over and beyond each hill to catch by surprise other runners who tend to take a breather at the top of the hill.

Summary - in training we must separately practise sitting, leading, and surging. Although I teach that runners should aim at even splits for 800, 1500 and longer races, for any of these distances they should be prepared to surge at any time in response to what other runners are doing, and be prepared to surge when the time is right to make a break themselves.

And a surge to be effective could be quite long and strong - 300 metres say at full pace.

So you could run a session of 10 400s in 70 seconds say - but run each 400 quite differently, throwing in longer and shorter surges at different places, and taking it in turns to lead or trail the group.

But as I said in racing principle #1, when we race others we aren't out to be nasty about it. Let's be open about what we are doing and enjoy the competition, freely encouraging one another and enjoying the challenge of racing other runners, and being generous in complimenting our rivals for their meritorious achievements.

Racing Principle #2 - Surging

There were just a few examples of race tactics in this post. Please add more ideas about race tactics as comments below......


  1. I think I might take up pacing - I think I would be good at that, I always want to give up the race after I have started to fast!

  2. While you are improving it doesn't hurt to "race" quite often.

    Perhaps "doesn't hurt" is the wrong phrase.