Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Race Tactics

Lately, I have been watching a lot of the Olympics. I find it extremely energizing to see each of these athletes pushing them selves to their very max as they strive to bring home a gold metal for their country.

On Saturday, I was glued to my TV watching the Women's Olympic Marathon. Later, I watched the men's 10,000 meter race. Then, today, I watched the Men's Triathlon.

All of these events unfolded in their own way and each lead to someone claiming a gold medal.

As I set back an think about how each of these events unfolded, I came to one conclusion.

All races have exactly one approach to race tactics. From the race start each peson will go as hard as possible to maximize their opportunites for success.

In the women's marathon, the pace was rather pedesterian for athletes of this caliber. Then, the lead women took and never really looked back.

In the men's 10k, I saw serveral men working together for the win. With the race finish in sight, they sprinted to the the finish.

In the men's Triathlon, they were bunched together through the swim. They remained bunched during the bike ride but maybe not as much as the swim. Then during the run, things started to spread out. The finish came down to 4 men sprinting out the finish after swimming, biking, and a 10k run.

What do all 3 of these events have in common for race tactics.

Basically, here's what I saw. In each event, the contestants executed their race until they reached a go point.

So what is a go point. My definition of a go point is the point in a race where I can increase the pace such that I can drop my competitors and maintain that pace to the finish.

For each person, the go point is different Just as each person has different strengths and weakness.

If you have a strong sprinter's speed, then you want the race to come down to a sprint finish. If you lack a fast closing sprint, then you want to push the pace harder earlier in the race to put some distance between your self and your competitors.

In the Women's Marathon the lead woman reach rearched her go point in the middle of the race around 15 miles. She increased her pace to the point where you could build a lead over her competitors and carry it to the finish.

In the Men's 10k, 3 runners pushed the pace to the point where they drop most of their competitors and then decided the race with a sprint finish.
Now, a go point is different for each person.

The Men's Triathlon followed similar to the Men's 10k.

We all have go point and we have to decide where is the best place to use it. So the next time, you are in race. Look around at your competitors. Make the decision on whether you have reached your go point that will carry you past them and to the finish.

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