By Ryan Gregson
There are many different ways to approach race tactics. No two races are the same, and depending on the type of runner you are, there will be a certain style of race execution that is best suited to you. They key is to try a range of different tactics and work out what feels right. There are front runners who like to lead the whole way or be close to the front, kickers who like to be at the back and finish hard late, runners who like to sit mid pack, and versatile athletes who who can do it all. Working out what is best for you is the key.
When I was younger, I only knew one way, and that was to lead from the front. My aim was to go hard from the gun, set a solid even pace and wear out my competitors. This was very effective in local junior races when I was superior to my opposition, however when I raced in bigger races I was often out sprinted in the finish by athletes who sat in behind me for the whole race conserving energy. As I grew stronger in my later teenage years and developed some power, I was able to employ different tactics and became more versatile. Now I was able to sit in the pack more and use my finishing speed to come over the top of other runners at the end of the race.
Throughout this blog I have included some clips from some memorable Olympic 800m finals over the past 20 years. I have focused on 800m races as they take less than 2 minutes to watch, a great event to watch on a YouTube binge!
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