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Part 1 – Beginner Racing Mistakes to Avoid

As you begin your racing career you will learn many lessons.  Many of these lessons will be learned by making mistakes that are very common. In this five part series you will learn about common mistakes that many beginners make and ways that you can avoid them.

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when running a race is going out too fast.  This is a mistake that beginners and experienced racers both make.  As you get more and more involved in the running community and you begin to talk with other runners you will notice that almost everyone out there has some kind of story about a race they blew because of starting out too fast.

Many times when a beginner runs a race they have already set themselves up for a lactic acid filled last mile death march by the time they reach the first half-mile mark of the race.  As a beginner to racing many times you are excited, nervous, filled with adrenaline, and just not sure what kind of pace you can hold.  When the gun fires you take off running trying to stay with anyone and everyone around you.  You think to yourself that there is no way that you are going to let that 70 year old man beat you.  Then 15 minutes later your legs are filled with lactic acid, your breathing is heavy, and all of a sudden you are more worried about finishing then beating anyone else. The next thing you know you are the one telling stories about the race you blew because of going out too fast.

Here are some helpful ways to help you avoid this mistake.

1. Run your first mile slower than you think you should be going.  If you are like most runners when you run a race you will be excited and the shot of adrenaline you get will make an all to fast pace fill easy for the first mile.  If you make an effort to run the first mile a little bit slower than you think you should be going then odds are you will probably be running closer to the pace you should be at.  With more experience you will soon learn exactly what pace you can and should run the first mile at.
2.  Be sure that you start in the correct position.  Almost every one who runs races has a story about someone who lined up way to close to the front of the race.  These people will get mixed in with runners who are much faster than they are.  When the gun fires these slower runners will do one of two things.  They will either run the first part of the race way too fast because they are mixed in with the faster runners or they will cause problems for the faster runners who have to swerve around them.

Darrell Lewis is the owner of Peak Performance Running. Through his company Darrell offers runners of all ability levels the ability to receive coaching from a certified running coach. You can view Darrell’s website at http://www.peakperformancerunning.org or read more of his articles at http://www.examiner.com/x-7413-St-Louis-Running-Fitness-Examiner

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