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Racing Tactics 101: Four Ways To Dominate Your Next Race

  • By Jeff Gaudette
  • Published Sep. 25, 2013
Racing is a game of tactics. Hone yours well before you step on the starting line. Photo: PhotoRun.net

Relax At The Finish

If you’ve ever watched the last 100 meters of a local 5K race, you’ve probably seen most runners flying down the last straightaway with their faces clenched, arms flailing and veins popping out of their neck as they strain to extract every ounce of speed from their legs. Compare this to how relaxed elite milers are during the final 100 meters of their race.

Straining your face and flailing your arms to gain momentum wastes precious energy and distracts you from moving straight ahead as fast and efficiently as possible.

This tactic applies to any point in a race, not just the finish. When you hit a rough spot during a race and need to throw in a surge, keep your face relaxed and your form strong. Don’t strain and grit your teeth when running uphill, or windmill your arms in an uncontrolled fashion on the way down. Stay relaxed, focus on your form, and let your speed and power come naturally.

How To Implement In Training

Like surges and recommitting, practice staying relaxed in training. When you’re finishing the last mile of your tempo run or launching yourself down the home straightaway on your final 400 repeat, focus on staying relaxed and running with good form. You can also implement core work and form drills to help you stay strong and fluid in the final miles of a race.

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Jeff Gaudette

Jeff Gaudette

Jeff has been running for 13 years, at all levels of the sport. He was a two time Division-I All-American in Cross Country while at Brown University and competed professionally for 4 years after college for the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project. Jeff's writing has been featured in Running Times magazine, Endurance Magazine, as well as numerous local magazine fitness columns.

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