Monday, May 19, 2008

Tactical Racing

Many elite level races, especially during the World Championships and Olympics are tactical. A runner in the 1500m., for example, may have to run the event three times in three to four days. Because of this, they may run the first two rounds as easy as they can to move on to the final. In the final, you would think that the runner would use whatever they had in the tank and go as fast as they can. Yet, this rarely happens. Runners tend to sit for the majority of the race and then kick. With the 1500m. example, the runners are basically making the race a 1300m. jog and a 200m. sprint.

This even happens on the college and high school level. Runners are winning championship races way slower than what they are capable of running. A college 1500 meter race may be won in 4:00, when the top five runners are capable of running 3:40. A high school Mile race may be won in 4:30, when the top five are capable of running 4:15.

There are many reasons for tactical racing and I understand the coaching behind it. The biggest reason being the fact that a win is a win. However you can get it, get it. My only question is how satisfying is a win when you didn't give 100% of yourself? When you are a 4:10 miler and you win a State Championship" in 4:30, how satisfying is that? I guess there are two ways to win a race; 1) Only run what you have to and finish the race not being too tired, or 2) Run with everything you have, finish exhausted, look up from the grass and see that you won in a blazing time.

How would you like to win the "big" race and be remembered???

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