Did you know that…

Valentin Belz 29. August 2022

Foto: Morat-Fribourg

…A quick start only pays off for distances of up to 5 kilometres?

When we study the split times at our events, we notice time and again how many runners collapse during the second half of the course after a quick start and ultimately lose a lot of time. This is actually a pity, because with the right tactics, a much better result and more happiness could be achieved! 

Admittedly, it’s very challenging to keep yourself in check, what with all the pre-race jitters and the other participants who take off like rockets at the start. However, it might help if you consider the following facts based on research:

  • In a marathon, a 10% faster pace during the first 5 kilometres leads to a 37-minute slower finishing time on average.
  • The best marathon times are achieved when the first 5 kilometres are run at your finishing pace. 

Only in races that are no longer than 5 kilometres will you achieve the best results if you run the first third 3 to 6 percent faster than your average pace for the total distance.


What can we learn from this?

  • Starting too fast always leads to a slower finishing time. Unless the race distance is 5 kilometres or less.
  • It is important to know your own capabilities in order to choose the right pace. A GPS watch and a race time calculator are a great help here in determining your finishing time on the day of the race.
  • Your chances of success will increase if you practice getting a feel for your racing speed during training and run the second half of your units at a faster pace.
  • With regard to your major goal for the season, it’s worth participating in preparatory races in order to run through all the sequences. Not to mention dividing up the race correctly.
  • It is advisable to test your fitness level two to three weeks before the main competition in order to determine a realistic racing pace.