The 1000 meter run is a middle distance race that is much more commonly ran during indoor track. I used to call it, five laps of fun. There was always a hint of sarcasm when I said this.
What type of race strategy should you have for this race? I attacked it a couple of different ways, but ended with the same results. Here are a few different race tactics that could help you understand, and thrive competing in this unique event.
First 1000 Meter Race Strategy – Take it out hard and hang on for dear life.
One distinct advantage that this strategy has is you guarantee yourself a chance at a really fast time. If you are the one in front, controlling the pace, you only have yourself to blame for a slow finish time.
In a smaller meet, a teammate of mine and myself settled on this strategy. Our goal was to get a good time so we could establish a nice seed in the upcoming conference meet. It should be noted, that I was a Division III runner in college. I was in a very competitive conference, but my times aren’t nearly as fast as some scholarship athletes on the Division I level.
We decided that the only way to make sure our times would be fast, would be to take it out fast and see what we were capable of. Goal Time 2:30. Strategy – Get to the 800 meter mark under 2:00 and see if we have gas left in the tank for the last lap. (Our indoor races were on 200 meter tracks. 5 laps = 1000 meters). The gun goes off and we were out in 28 seconds at the 200 meter mark. From that point on, we traded places and crossed the 800 meter mark at 1:59. I was pretty much dead at this point, but a third runner started challenging us in the last lap. My teammate bolted to the lead, I struggled through, and held off the third runner. I finished one second behind my teammate with a 2:32.
Was this a complete success? Not really. I would have like to run under 2:30, but I didn’t have it in the last stretch of the race. Overall it was nice, because I was seeded high for the trials at the Conference Indoor Meet.
Second 1000 Meter Race Strategy – Lay in the weeds and kick like hell.
This strategy was actually kind of by default. The first day of the indoor conference championships, I had to kick hard to win my heat and ensure I would be in the finals. Right after the victory, I felt awful and puked all over myself. In my competitive days, I wasn’t much of a puker, so I was a bit disturbed. That night, I worked out a plan for the finals because I thought if I took it out too hard, I would die a slow and painful death.
Finals Day. The race went out pretty hard, but I stayed back and came through at 30 seconds for the 200 meters. By the last lap, I was in seventh place, but the leaders had pulled away. I made a huge surge and was able to move all the way up to fourth position at the line. Finish time – 2:32 again.
This race was actually more disappointing to me. I took myself out of contention for winning way to early.
The Best 1000 Meter Race Strategy - Get in the mix early and push the pace late.
If I were able to lay out the best possible race plan and actually execute it, it would be to get out moderately hard, but not lead the race. At about the 600 meter mark , put in a strong surge. This will keep the pace nice and fast. The last part of any race is won on guts anyways. If you can stick it out, you’ll end up with a fast time and a chance to walk away with a medal.
Here are five things to consider when running the 1000
1. Pass on the straights. Hang tight on the curves. You’ll end up running more distance trying to fly out wide around people on a curve.
2. Don’t be afraid to lead. Indoor track is tough. Running in the lead is nice because you’ll have the inside position and a clear running path in front of you.
3. Watch out for the slow lap. In almost any race, there is one lull in the pace. If you aren’t in the lead, and you can sense the pace slacking, this is a great time to strike and move up.
4. Run big. Indoor can get a bit rough and tumble. Keep those elbows out and don’t let people get inside of you.
5. Have a race plan for the 1000 meter run, but don’t be afraid to adjust on the fly. If you want stay out of the lead, but the pace is too slow, grab the lead and run away with it. If you planned on running at the front, but the pace is way to fast at the start, have confidence in your fitness and stay back for a while. When the pretenders fade, you’ll have energy in reserve to pass up and bury the competition.