How to Run a Race

Okay, the gun has gone off, you are about a half mile into the race, and you are starting to settle into a good pace. Time to race! Here is some advice about how to run a race.

During a race, you’ll almost certainly be in the position to pass someone. When you see a runner ahead of you start to slow, get right up in back of him, then make your move. Accelerate your arm swing, lift your knees higher, and increase the power drive of your legs. Then gradually begin to run faster, and maintain that pace until you are pretty good distance ahead of the runner. If you slow too early, you may get re-passed by the now motivated runner.

After you are a safe distance away, start to move back into your race pace and get your breathing under control. Because you have to be able to accelerate and maintain quick pace, you should only attempt pass another runner if you are feeling pretty good.

Running Uphill

When considering how to run a race, don’t forget the hills! In order to prepare for uphill sections of a course, make sure to include hill workouts throughout your base training. Also, take note of the following technique that will enable you to run hills with confidence.

  • Don’t be scared. If you start to fear a big hill coming up, you’ve already put yourself at a disadvantage. Instead, think to yourself that you’re a good hill runner, and that you’re just move right up it. Pretend you a well oiled machine preparing to move steadily up the hill.

  • Quicken the pace. Shorten your stride, increase your foot speed, and pick your knees up. Whatever you do, don’t over-stride! This will drain you very quickly.
  • Lean into the hill. Slightly lean your body toward the hill. Also, keep your eyes looking up to the top of the hill. Don’t look at your feet when charging up.
  • Drive off your back foot. This is very important. If you don’t power off your foot, all your other efforts will be in vain.
  • Don’t tense up. It will be hard, but try to get your breathing under control, and relax. Tensing up will only lead to more pain running up the hill

Running Downhill

Running downhill is a great time to do some damage to the racing field, and is an essential part of learning how to run a race. Here are some pointers about running downhill.

  • Lean. Lean you body toward the hill. The farther you lean, the faster you’ll go. Try to keep you center of gravity over your lead leg.

  • Keep you arms under control. Don’t make your arms go crazy like many people do. Instead keep them swinging right next to your hip like normal.
  • Bring your knees up. Lifting you knees higher will allow you to maintain your stride. On a steep decline, shorten the length of your stride to control your speed more. On a shallow slope, go ahead and push off your back foot a little to maintain your speed.
  • Relax. It’s funny how so much about running involves relaxing. Downhill running is no different. Keep your breathing under control and concentrate on good form. Feel like you are effortless flying down the hill. Relaxing makes downhill running much easier.

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