This week I'm wondering about your thoughts on race tactics and what your tendency has been. When watching an elite road race like this weekend's Bolder Boulder 10K on a webcast, you’ll notice the winners are often three places (or further) back on the first lap.
One thing I love about the Bolder Boulder Citizen’s Race is that the frequent bends and turns in the course offer a perfect opportunity to employ a fun racing tactic I learned from the great Frank Shorter:"In any kind of distance race there is an invisible thread that stretches about 10 meters. If a fellow competitor is running 10 meters or less in front of you, you’ll find that you can usually pull even or spurt past them anytime you choose."
Approached confidently, varying the terrain on which you train actually helps you become more efficient and reduces your chances of injury by breaking up the repetition of the same motions. The more precise coordination required to accelerate down a hill or to sustain a steady rhythm up to the top of a mountain pass when combined with the corresponding changes in cadence and habitual stride patterns serve to alleviate the repetitive-stress (and aches and pains) of running the same pace mile after mile on the flats.
Before the London Marathon in April, Eliud Kipchoge promised a “beautiful race.” He delivered, as he always does. What I love about Eliud (besides his magnanimous smile) is that he clearly understands the importance of trunk training: he uses almost all pelvic rhythm to quicken his leg rate, like revolutions per minute. He runs from the belly, which tapers the muscular effort in his legs and feet. It's something to see.
In a quiet moment at this time of year, we might find ourselves dreaming about running well in an upcoming race. But the word “dreaming” has many different meanings: we could be spending our time generating a powerful vision and intention for the future, or we could just be daydreaming and fantasizing.