Coach Bill Peyton sat down with Khadevis Robinson to get his advice on running the 800m. Khadevis shared these tactics.
LEAD FROM THE FRONT
This strategy is usually performed if the runner feels like they can win the race or feel confident in their ability. If a runner feels like he/she can run the legs out from under the other runners, he may choose to run from the front. Another advantage is you get to dictate the pace. You are the person that gets to decide how slowly or fast the race will go. This way, you will have a grasp of what you can do from that pace.
You also have the advantage of running the shortest distance if you are able to stay in lane 1 the entire race. The disadvantage of leading is that you break the wind for the other runners. You do not know what they are doing behind you and they are able to pace off of you. My philosophy is that if you are going to be someone who leads; you should make sure that you at least practice bits of it in training. Johnny Gray, David Rudisha and Alysia Montano are runners that use this tactic.
START IN THE MIDDLE
This is a tactic or strategy that most people like. Most people choose to tuck in somewhere behind the leaders without being too far back. The advantage of starting from the middle is that you allow the front runners to break the wind for you. This allows you to have a pretty good grasp on where everyone is. You will not have to make up too much ground and you are always in striking distance.
Running from the middle gives you the option to strike when you want and you are able to respond to any sudden movements or change of pace in the races. The disadvantage is that there could still be people behind you pacing off of you. Additionally, you will not be the person that dictates the race and usually the middle is where most of the traffic is at, so this could increase your chances of getting bumped, spiked or even tripped up. Ajee Wilson, Clayton Murphy, Caster Semanya, and Gary Reed are runners that used these tactics.
Photo by Photo Run
RUNNING FROM THE BACK
This is a tactic or strategy that the kickers like to use. The advantage is that it allows you to see what everyone else is doing. This strategy allows you to let everyone else block the wind for you and you can stay out of traffic and you can decrease the risk of being tripped up or spiked.
By knowing where everyone is at, you are able to adapt and adjust to anything that happens, while knowing no one is behind you coasting off of you. The disadvantage is that you are giving away a lot of ground. If anything happens, you could be too far away to respond and in a world class field if you are too far back it is very difficult to catch up. Nick Symmonds, Brenda Martinez and Yuri Borzakovsky are runners that used these tactics.
Obviously, if you are in the middle or back, you will have to find a way to move up into striking position. Earlier in my career, I liked running from the front because it allowed me to use my speed and allowed me to make it a proper race. I was not experienced enough to navigate through traffic and I was not patient enough to wait for things to open up.
In the middle of my career, I would run from the middle. This would allow me to not have to lead everyone but still stay in striking position. I could determine if the pace was too fast or slow and adjust accordingly. The thing that I did not like running from the middle is that I have a long stride and I would often get spiked or tripped which would sometimes agitate me.
As I got older I would run form the back. The reason for this is because I was more focused on place and not time. By running from the back, I could always gauge what I needed to do to get a certain pace. I could run within myself and ensure that I did not go out too fast. At this point in my career, I was not concerned about going out too slow because I knew I could run off of a slow pace.
The tactic you use all depends on what type of runner you are and what type of training you do. I have always been a believer that if you are better than everyone, why even play around and give them a chance. There are many ways to run a race and we all have to find out which tactic best suits our skill set.”