written by runnergirl training
Will starting a race out too fast be detrimental later in the race? It very well can be even with the best intentions to avoid problems. Find out why & how to avoid it. See more below.
The concept behind why starting a race too fast can make you slow later is related to lactate threshold. Running fast generates lactate in the muscles. When the level of lactate reaches a certain level (the threshold) it can no longer be cleared out of the bloodstream quickly enough. This causes a decline in athletic performance and running economy. That’s the amount of oxygen is consumed and energy is required to cover a distance. Roughly put, you will run slower as the race progresses.
If the runner is racing a 200 meter track race then a fast start is essential to utilize that quick energy system. If the runner is racing a half or full marathon then a fast start will slow them down over the race.
A good way to make sure you don’t start a race too fast is to practice running negative splits. That means running your training workouts first half slower and second half faster. It will train your body to run faster at the end of a workout and race.
Another way to help yourself go slower at the start is not to line up at the front. Pick a spot in the pack where you predict to finish. Starting at the middle of the pack will help you moderate your pace and not be overzealous.
In the race, use a pacing group or watch the mile split time of your heart rate monitor to stay consistent with pace. The more you practice a consistent pace in training the easier it will be on race day.