The following are some helpful hints for your future racing techniques.
The first mile will set the tone of your race. Going out too fast can lead to disaster. However, going out too slow may hurt all chances for a good time. Given a choice of the two evils, you are better off going slow at the start. You may be caught up in a slow pace if the field is crowded. Speeding up all the way will give you a better feeling at the finish.
Look for the point on the course to make your moves on the hills, corners and straight-aways. Try to hang the corners on the inside which will put you ahead of the other runners. A quick pace at this point will give you the edge as well as a strong psychological gain on your fellow competitors.
If someone passes you, move over into their wake and try to hang on as long as you can. Your times can't help but improve with this approach, but be careful not to burn up your energy which will cost you time at the finish.
When there is a headwind, as well as a crosswind, try to get someone else to lead into the wind while you stay close behind with your head bent down for added resistance.
Always shift your pace and pay attention to the clock while moving ahead of your opponents. Take advantage of short, downhill sections to pick up speed. Lower your head, which is the heaviest part of your body, and get on your toes to allow yourself to pick up 20 or 30 yards on your opponents.
The right race strategies will save you energy and give you a good pace with a good time.
Dr. Robert F. Weiss, a Sport Podiatrist, was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials. A Veteran of 35 marathons, Dr. Weiss has a practice in Darien: The Foot & Ankle Institute of Darien. For more information, visit www.therunningdoctor.net.