Does Race Strategy Work?

I am wearing shoes that I completely forgot about until this morning.My Nike Livestrongs. I love them ❤

livestrong shoes

I have been running and signing up for lots of races recently. I love races! Last weekend I ran a 7k, and this weekend I am running the Indianapolis Half Marathon, and I have a few more coming up in the next month.

All this racing got me thinking about Race Strategy. I have never gone into a race with planned out splits. In fact, I never look at my watch. I like not knowing. I run entirely by feel. I run as hard as I can, for as long as I can.

I think I would hate the pressure of trying to hit certain splits, hit mile times… trying to speed up, slow down, keep steady… I would panic if I wasn’t on pace, or I would question myself if I was ahead of pace… I think it would stress me out and take the fun out of the race.

But then again, I do have goals. Like my eventual 1hr20min Half. So for the first time, I am thinking about Race Strategy.

I am not really sure how/where to start. I know there are lots of “charts” that tell you average pace to hit a specific time, but I am not the kind of runner that holds one pace the whole race.

I am constantly fluctuating, but usually I run all negative splits. I was even able to do my Marine Corps Marathon with all negative splits! And even on shorter races, I start off slower, evaluate my body, my stride, my breathing, and then take off from there.

So do I go into my Half’s coming up, and especially the Richmond Marathon in November, with a strategy, or do I let me body do the talking and just keep “running how I feel” ?

Do you guys have Race Strategies/Plans?

What exercise are you doing today?

Random Question: Thoughts on Tattoo Sleaves. Love them, or hate them?



  1. That’s an ambitious half goal! I’m so impressed! I have yet to come up with a plan as I’ve only done a few longer distance races and my goal there was to just complete them! Now I’m shooting for a sub 2 hour half and I’m soliciting the same feedback you are – strategy? Plan? 🙂 Today I did a circuit in the morning and plan on doing an easy 5k tonight.

    1. Oh great goal!!! breaking that 2 hr barrier is such a great feeling!! I know you can do it!!

  2. I ran at the collegiate level and now I am an elite runner 🙂 It’s a lot of fun! I enjoy races too! I’m a pretty consistent runner. I ran my first half earlier this year in 1:15.42. It’s definitely different than the 5/10ks I did in college 🙂 I do a lot of longer tempos now (I did a 2×5 mile tempo…10 miles total ..with a 2 mile warm up and 3 mile cool down). I am usually around race pace with my tempos. It helps me to be consistent in races! This morning I did a 60 minute cut down, which was short and fun! As far as tattoo sleeves, some are beautiful, but not something I could have!

    1. I am so jealous…. i would have loved to run in college!! I miss coaches and teams and being pushed… and awesome half time! wow! I also love the sound of your training runs. I usually just go out and do all tempo runs, but I really want to start incorporating speed in there and workouts that will help me race faster so i can hit my goals. I should try some longer repeats or interval work at the 6:30 pace which is a 1:25.0 half … and work from there down to the 1:20.0 goal.
      Thanks for the advice!!!

      1. Of course, Andrea! Nice to meet you from afar 🙂 It’s so cool how running and faith connects people. My college coach still coaches me and writes my training, which is a huge blessing! Speed definitely helps too 🙂 So happy to have found your blog! Good luck with training! 🙂 Let me know if you have questions/need advice!

  3. The Princess Half was the first actual race I ever ran (I started out ambitious, I guess), but my mile pace was 2 minutes slower than what my slowest training pace was! I had no strategy…I just wanted to finish. I think that’s how I’m going to be for many of my races. I just want to finish..and as I become more familiar with racing, then I can deal with strategy 😉

    Today I did more strength training than cardio… I did like 10 minutes of cardio, but I did more strength training than I’m used to and am already feeling sore. Oops!

    I really like tattoo sleeves on certain people. I can’t describe that person, but it’s just one of those things where you look at someone and say “they can pull that off.”

    1. I LOVE doing strength and weight sessions!!! seriously… love that special type of burn! And I know what you mean… certain people can get away with tattoo sleeves and make them look awesome… other people– ahh!!! haha

  4. I can’t imagine running a half that fast! You are amazing!

    1. Thanks Brooke!! You and Lily kill it on those trail runs!! And dogs are hard to run with!!!

  5. Runner Girl Eats · · Reply

    Speedy goal! I never go into a race with a plan bc I’d psych myself out too much. I like sleeves, on other people. I’m not ballsy enough to pull it off.

    1. completely agree! I think it would take the fun out of the race bc I would be so worried about hitting a time! I would get race anxiety… if that is a thing ha

  6. […] you guys remember, I have never followed a race plan. I don’t even look at my watch when I run. I run purely based on how I feel. This usually […]

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