Posted by: Joe English | June 24, 2011

Racing — Sometimes it Just Ain’t Possible, and That’s OK

running-advice-bugI’ve had the good fortune recently to race against some very talented groups of runners. There are differences between running against a set of seasoned athletes and a more typical field of road racers made up of different skill levels. You might instantly think that what I’m talking about is speed, but it is smarts that sets these folks apart.

Let me give you an example. In one of the last races that I ran, it immediately became clear that one runner was far and away faster than the rest of the field. In the USATF Northwest Mile Championships, a runner burst out front in the first 100M of the race and do you know what happened next? No one chased him down. There were certainly people in the group that must have gone into the race thinking that they would go out as hard as possible and stay with the leader as long as they could. And even with this race being at most five minutes long, no one attempted to go with him.

Were these runners not being aggressive? Were they giving-in just seconds into the race? Were they throwing in the towel at the start of Round 1? No. They were being smart. There was a recognition that the lead runner’s speed was just beyond what they were capable of, even for such a short distance.

With less experienced athletes, what we might have seen was a “just go for it” attitude. But what would have happened was that these runners would have gone out so hard that soon they would have burned out and then hit the wall. These more experienced runners recognize this fact and immediately adjusted their plans to fit the new information they had about the race.

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  1. You are absolutely right. Now that i am nearly 60, I still have to be careful not to fall into the trap of trying to keep up with everyone.

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