Racing Strategy: Start out fast or slow?

Let’s take a look at one example of starting out fast (9:21 pace) and starting out slow (11:05 pace). Both ended with relatively same time (within 21 seconds of each other, official time). Starting out fast certainly made for an unpleasant rest of the run, was harder to keep myself motivated and in the end didn’t gain any time. The fast start had four +25 increase in pace interspersed throughout the entire race. When comparing, the fast start was less steady of a pace than the slow start. You can see miles 8-13 of the slow start varied less than +/- 10 min/mile aside from mile 12 where I got a second wind to get around the crowd of runners or perhaps it was the anticipation of the finish.

Slow Start Indy Mini 2:11:04

Slow Start Indy Mini 2:11:04

Fast Start Oakland 2:10:53

Fast Start Oakland 2:10:53

Next race for a time, I’ll start out slow, but perhaps not as slow as a 11min/mile pace.

What’s your strategy for the start of a race, hold back or go with the flow?

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