The following article suggests that there are two strategies you can choose when running a road race. Either you race against other competitors or you race against the clock. My strategy is always to be racing against the clock and not pay attention to other runners during a race. I generally enter every race with a goal time in mind and race to at least match that time. As I have already mentioned, my next planned race is an 8 km race. Yesterday I ran an 8 km tempo run and gave myself an idea how quickly I can complete that distance. Next weekend I will be looking to either match or beat that time when I run the race.
The article also goes on to indicate that the best way to run your fastest time is to run an even pace. For example, if you start too slowly in a 5 km race you will not have time to make up the difference and if you start too quickly you will burn out before the end. Similarly, if you go out too quickly in the first half of a marthon the second half will be a struggle. At PEC earlier this month I ran the first half in 1:37 and the second half in 1:45. I think my splits may have been closer if not for the windy conditions experienced late in the race. Next time I will be aiming to run both halves of the marathon at a more even pace in order to maximize my performance.