pre race advice

In the few races that I've ever been in, I'm warm and stretched at the start, and a little nervous.

2 mins into the race and I'm puffing and panting and wondering if I'll ever last until the end.

20 mins in, and I've found the right pace and rythmn.

I usually end faster than what I started.

So what's going on?

How can I avoid the 10 mins at the start of gasping and panting for air, and get off to a good and regular pace that will carry me through?

ps. I am in a half marathon this weekend.


  • I'm the same Dave, it takes me at least 2-3 miles to settle into a run even when training.

    It's the same whatever I do - Swimming takes about 400-500metres before my breathing settles down and about 10-15mins on the bike before I feel right.

    I've just thought it was my body getting use to the exercise, the heavier breathing and higher heart rate that goes with it.

  • i'm pretty much the same Dave, hence i prefer longer distances, i only start to *kick in* 2/3 miles into my run!
  • p.s , i'm also in half mara this weekend!
  • Glad I'm not alone, I'm in the 4 Villages Half marathon this weekend in Helsby near Runcorn.

    ...went out this morning and ran a personal best on my usual route which lasts about 1 hr 14 mins. Did it in 1 hr 12. BUT again, the first 10 mins was puffing and panting although I was really trying to control my breathing. matter how hard I try to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth, I end up panting like a dog.

    Two things I'm going to concentrate on this year are breathing and stride length/regularity. But if I am not concentrating on them, I go back to my plodding rythmn and gasping for breath after 5 mins.
  • Dave,

    Come onto the Event thread for Helsby - there are loads of us running!! I'll go boing it for you!!

  • Why do you want to breathe in through your nose? What's wrong with using your mouth? I'd say that's probably a better way of getting as much oxygen into the lungs as possible.

    As an aside, I also run negative splits up to half-mara distance. I guess it just takes the body a while to settle in, muscles to get properly warmed up, etc.
  • Someone once told me that racing is 20% psycological and I tend to agree with that. From the sounds of it you need to prepare a bit better mentally before you race. Watch how top runners prepare themselves, spend time on your own stretching and striding and take this opportuinity to really motivate yourself, think about how you want to race and take yourself through those first few miles, try to be really positive and keep tellling yourself your going to have a really good run. Be positive at the start and really concentrate on your goal pace. When feeling tired it often helps to think about a good run or training session you had, think about how good you felt, be positive and concentrate on pushing yourself.
  • thanks for the advice guys.

    Greg, I was reading a Triathlon mag recently, where they were concentrating on breathing technique. They were saying that you need to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. They were also talking about breathing with your abdomen as well as your chest....

    ...a lot to think about....

    I'll take a look at the Events section too. cheers.
  • Dave

    Did they explain why?
  • Yep, its all to do with controlling your oxygen intake and improving performance.

    More oxygen = more energy

    It was part of an article on 10 ways to improve your running.

    OK, I'm no triathlete, nor even a good runner, but if I can learn some techniques that will better my performance and improve my fitness then I'm up for it.

    Controlled, rhythmic, deep breathing (using your belly) utilises more of your lung capacity with a greater output of energy. Breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth regulates rhythmn.

    Apparently if you cant breath regularly in through your nose then you are overdoing it, so its says anyway. So by definition, I am overdoing it all the time.
  • Oh Sh** - I'm also in that Half this weekend !

    As Johnny says - its all about the warm up - thats why you'll see the elites having big warm ups with some speedwork in it before they begin.

    Its probably more important for us for the shorter races - as say for a 5k - you'll be finishing before you're warmed up properly.
  • come and say hello. I'll be the guy in the Oakley black surfers rash vest, and bright orange Adidas Adios Lighstrikes. Cant miss me.
  • I'll probably be in a yellow tri top with a black skull on. I like to dress down at the weekend you see.
  • I'll keep an eye out for you. Cant be many dressed like that.
  • 10 minutes must be the magic number! When out running I find the first 10 minutes the hardest - I can almost set my clock to it.

    I've found on race days I need to warm up for 10 minutes so my heart rate is up enough, then I can run at a 'normal' pace from then on.

    Definitely look at your warm up procedure.
  • thanks, will do.
  • Yes, definately warm up but don't stretch before you race, Dave. Stretching puts your muscles to sleep, which is the last thing you want just before the start of a race.

    Do stretch afterwards though.
  • What do you mean "stretching puts your muscles to sleep"?
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