Middle Distance Race Starts

In middle distance races the start becomes less important than for sprinters. However, using the right technique is still important, as is getting yourself in the position you want when the race settles into a pattern.

Before the race starts you need to have a clear idea of what tactics you are going to adopt. Are you going to sit in the pace, or are you going to front run the race. Tactics will evolve during the event, but you should have a clear plan for the first lap as to what you want to do, so you can start at the right pace and get yourself in the right position, without being boxed to then have options available to you later in the race.

If you are doing the race specifically to get a good time, then your initial lap will be a large factor in getting this, or you'll end up either suffering later on or being too far off the pace. Practice your pace judgement in training to help you get this right.

All longer races start with a standing start. Here you should adopt the position below, crouched forward with one foot about 18 inches behind the other and shoulder both pointing forwards, ie. your upper body shouldn't be twisted at all.

It doesn't matter which leg is your front leg, BUT the opposite arm should be the one that is forwards.

Many middle distance runners don't do this and it means they have to make an adjustment with their arms, before they even start running, which is a pointless waste of time. It will cost you a tenth or two of time as the race starts, which may mean that you can't get the position you want in the pack once the race unfolds.

Here is a video we've put together on how to perform a standing start, so you can get a smooth and efficient start and acceleration.

Video How to do a Standing Start - learn to start faster.

Further Reading - Middle Distance Running »