Below are a few of the Race Course Tips that have been passed along to me. For many of you more experienced runner types, I’m sure this is nothing new for you, but for the newbie runners, they may be helpful. Please feel free to chime in and leave a comment with some of your favorite “Tips”.
Take the path of least resistance and do not weave from side to side in order to make your way through the crowds. Typically the far outside of the pack is less crowded, but if you are running along the side make sure to watch your footing for any potholes, gutters, grates, etc. and remember to still aim to run the tangents of the course (see below).
Think Negative Splits in longer races (above a 10k):
A “Negative” split is where you run the second half of the race faster than the first half. Plan to start out 10-20 seconds per mile slower than your goal pace, then gradually ease into goal race pace by Mile 2-3. If you feel like you are going too slowly at the start, you are probably running at precisely the right pace!
Run in Straight Lines:
Try to follow tangents on the race course to avoid adding extra mileage to the course. To make sure you run tangents, when the course curves, do not run along the curve- rather, aim for the next curve that comes into sight. This is not cheating, far from it, it’s just smart racing. For a good description of running tangents, check out this article.
If it is windy, draft. When you are running into the wind, find someone about your size or larger, or a group of people, and tuck in behind them. Just be careful not to fall into their pace, either too fast or too slow. Common race courtesy is to offer to swap places leading (and taking the wind) with others, so if you find yourself doing this take a turn at the front, as well, but drafting will help you conserve your energy.
Until next time … Happy Running!
Have any additional race course Tips? Take a few minutes to shares in the comments. Thanks!!
Great tips! My best advice is to “seed” yourself properly in the start corral. This could be based on actual pace groups or for small races, just by looking at the clothes people are wearing! If you are planning on running a fast 5K, don’t get behind the lady in yoga pants. She’s probably not going to be running 8:00 min miles. And that dude in the split shorts and tank top, he’s probably going sub 7 min miles, so if you can hang with that, you’re in the right place. Otherwise, back it up a little! That takes the pressure off of trying to dodge people and get at your ideal pace.
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Good Tip! Never thought about that. Thanks.