It's funny because of all the races I've ran, I've not set out with an actual goal of winning. Of course, I won't finish in first overall in this Saturday's 5K - some skinny guy or gal with long gazelle-like legs usually ends up winning - but I am set on beating Danny. Thus, I have to have an actual race strategy.
I've thought about what kind of strategy to have and am leaning towards one. Which one, I won't say because I don't want to tip my hand. Danny lurks around here sometimes and can easily throw a monkeywrench into my plans. But since this is my blog and this is where I can think about things and brainstorm, I still wanted to write about my race strategy.
So, one of these strategies is probably what I will use on Saturday.
Strategy No. 1
I've been running non-stop for a while I'd say. Since September or so, I've probably logged at least an average of 20 miles a week, and today I will pass the 300-mile mark for miles logged in 2010. So I will put my faith in my training, run my race and let everything fall into place without paying too much attention to Danny.
For a 5K, I can handle a faster-than-usual pace. I think what I'll try and do is to divide the race up into thirds, and try to get my pace ever so faster with each passing third. So, I'll try and start out with my first mile in the high 7-minute-per-mile or so and then push it higher for the second mile.
By the third mile, I want to have enough gas left in the tank to maintain a pace that will be under 7:30 overall. During my interval runs of late, I've done two minutes at a 6:40 pace, at the 35-minute mark of the interval, so I feel I have one great late surge in me. I'm hoping at the 2.75-mile mark to do that, to give it all I have.
I don't think Danny will be able to maintain those kinds of paces, so I don't anticipate seeing him during the last part of the race, unless I look behind me.
Strategy No. 2
I want to stay close to Danny. I want to let him get out in front and set the pace. He's going to try and run really, really fast to try and bury me. I will push him hard and then when he thinks he's going to try and take a surge at the end, I will blow him away with my own speed.
The fastest mile I've ever ran was a 6:57 mile. Eight of us split up into teams of four and we ran a relay race on a track. Danny and I started and he was out in front of me. I didn't have a plan other than to stay as close to Danny as possible. He beat me in our leg but just by a few seconds. I stayed with him all along and I was encouraged by how I responded. And that was in 2008, before I had even run six miles at once.
I will enact the same tactic, draft off of him but this time my training and experience will allow me to blow past him at about the 2-mile mark and leave him behind. I figure Danny has two good miles in him, and if he pushes himself too hard he will crash and burn soon enough.
I'll make sure and wave at him as I go by.
Strategy No. 3
I'm going to keep an eye on Danny but I'm not going to obsess over him. I want to balance two things: 1) managing my own race and the things I want and need to do in order to finish with my best time possible, and 2) my ever-present supposedly-superior brother.
How will I do that?
I just have to be aware of where he is in the first mile or so. If he shoots out way in front and I lose sight of him, I don't necessarily want to take off after him. If I plan to run my race, I want to stick with that. If I try to zoom after him, I will hit a wall and won't finish in a good time. I need to maintain my focus and concentration.
I have certain milestones I want to hit - Mile 1 in under 8 minutes, Mile 2 in about 15, Mile 3 in about 22 or 23. I'm not sure how close I can get to them but I'm going to try and stick to those. If I start out too fast, I'll be gassed by the 2.5-mile mark.
Conversely, if I pay too much attention to Danny and start out to slow, I could be playing right into his hands. He might try to lull me by staying slow or maybe even running slow in front of me, and then he might try and turn on the jets. In a 100-meter sprint, I can't win against Danny. If he wants to turn the race into a 1-mile sprint, I probably wouldn't win. So I can't shorten the course by allowing him to relax and give him strength to push forward when he feels like it.
Well, there you have it trusty blog readers. My strategy. Which one I choose will be revealed after the race. Of course, I'd be happy to e-mail you my race strategy. If you have an e-mail address in your profile, I can shoot an e-mail right back when I get notified of comments via e-mail, so I'd be happy to send you a 1, 2 or 3 to let you know just what's inside my head.
I'm confident enough though that if I were to employ any of these strategies I could get the job done. I just happen to have more faith in one of them.