Race Tactics: 5 Tips to ROCK your Summer Races

Coach Casey · June 8, 2020

For many of us the summer is the perfect times to tackle some new race distances, work on setting new personal bests, and continue to see incredible running progress! You’ve come off of a strong season of training and are ready to crush your summer races! Now the question is, how? How do you make sure that when you toe the starting line (virtual or IRL) that you’re ready to put your best racing foot forward? How can you prepare to use your running skills to maximize your race results? What even are race tactics???

Don’t worry, Charge Running has got the perfect race tactics and tips for you to show up to each and every race feeling confident, knowing that you can ROCK your races this summer and beyond!

5 Race Tactics to ROCK Your Summer Races! 

Summer race tactics for all of your summer races!

1. Patience really is a virtue!

No matter what the distance of the race, there’s always room for progression. Don’t feel rushed at the start of the race. When the gun/horn sounds and the race starts get into a comfortably-hard rhythm where you feel like your mechanics are sound. Account for a certain amount of adrenaline pushing you through the first 200 meters but then sit back a bit, take a few purposeful deep breaths, and focus on smooth, controlled movements. Crossing through the first segment of the race (1 mile, 1 kilometer, etc.) a few seconds over your goal split is just smart racing, not slow racing. You can’t MAKE your race in the first 1/2 mile, but you certainly can BREAK it.  

2. When in trouble, focus on the little things!

Not all races are going to feel great the whole time, in fact it’s likely that very few will. It’s important to have race tactics for getting through those tough portions without losing valuable time and progress. When you get into a bit of race trouble, don’t panic, get out of your own way and focus on the little things. Pick one element of your running to focus on incrementally improving instead of worrying about the hard stuff. Spend a few minutes putting your mental energy behind fine-tuning your arm carriage, correcting your gaze, or leveling your breathing pattern. Whatever that small correction may be, it’s important to focus positively on adjustments versus negatively on how you feel. 

3. Small goals equal BIG results!

During any race, sound race tactics suggest that you don’t need to think 10 steps ahead. Yes, having an overall race plan ahead of time is a good idea. However, during the race set your attention to smaller, individual goals one at a time. You’ll get a confidence boost with each smaller goal you accomplish and you won’t panic thinking miles and miles ahead. Think of the series of smaller goals as breadcrumbs leading you directly to the finish line, making sure you don’t stray from your set path. These smaller goals can vary. They can be individual mile or kilometer splits, place positions in the racing field, or when you’re going to fuel/hydrate. Set and take actionable steps to hit each goal one at a time. Before you know it that line of breadcrumbs will end at some BIG results.    

Focus on passing fellow racers in the second half of the race!

4. First half is for pacing. Second half is for passing!

There’s always going to be a bit of competitive edge mixed into any solid set of race tactics. There comes a point in every race when your focus needs to shift to passing your competitors. Follow the simple mantra of “the first half is for pacing, the second half is for passing.” Stay content and controlled with your pace to the half way point in the race and then switch your focus to passing! A simple change of emphasis from internal pace management to external competition can be just the boost you need to power through the second half of a tough race. Keep your eyes up on those ahead of you and one at a time pass them while maintaining control of your race. You’ll notice that your natural acceleration during this latter half can make all the difference in your overall finish!   

5. All races are good races!

This final race tactic is absolutely key. It’s simple, straight forward and always right. Don’t forget to remind yourself at the start, and end, of every race that by just getting out there and pushing your body through a race, you’re coming away stronger, more confident and better prepared for your running future. No matter the results, whether you surpassed your personal best or fell short of it. Whether you won or came in last, be proud of the attempt and the fact that you started! 

In the immortal words of John Bingham, “The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

All races are good race, no matter the ultimate result!

Getting ready for your series of summer races? Join Charge Running for all the professionally coached training and virtual race access you need to make the most of the summer competition season!

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