And then all of a sudden the horn blows and you’ve taken off like someone or something is chasing you and there’s a steak at the finish line!
(Or a giant cheese pizza if you’re vegetarian.) You’re going all out and there’s not much more you can do to stop it! Then you look down at your Garmin and see that you’re going to PR the race! This is fantastic!
And then it happens. You realize you went out too fast and you can’t even keep up with yourself. What started out as the amazing race has turned into the turtle and the hare and all the turtles are beginning to pass you.
Your legs are concrete stumps.
You crash and burn.
What just happened? Race Day Mistake #1: You went out too fast.
So what physically happens when you go out too fast? Your body uses its stored energy all up which leads to muscle fatigue. In a 5k, it means you can struggle in the last mile by going out too fast, but if you go out too fast in a marathon, you’ll struggle through at least the last 6, perhaps even more. And you don’t want to do that.
It’s hard NOT to go out too fast isn’t it? It seems impossible to avoid!
But here are some ways to try and dial it down a little:
-Start in the correct position at the starting line. If you start out at the front of the pack, you’ll try to keep up with the fastest runners. Try not to start too far back, either, because that may mean weaving in and out of the slower runners. Note: don’t be discouraged by people passing you at the beginning, you’ll be passing plenty of people later, once you all get moving.
-Focus on a relaxed pace at the start. Check your pace at the first mile marker and back off if you went out too fast. It’s not too late to correct it, just slow it down a little and then leave yourself some energy to pick it up in the end. Your best race is run when you keep an even pace throughout the race or you run it in negative splits, which is when you run the second half faster than the first half.
-Plan to run your first mile slower than you plan to run the last mile. It takes mental discipline and practice to start out slow, so practice going out slow in your training runs and speeding up in the end.
Have you ever gone out too fast in a race?? How do YOU dial it down? Share it in the comments below!