Kenefick, R. W., DeCamp, A. E., Edwards, D. G., & Quinn, T. J. (2004). Does pacing strategy affect 5-km running performance in competitive female distance runners? Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 36(5), Supplement abstract 833.

This study evaluated the optimal first mile pacing strategy for 5-km running performance in female distance runners. Ss (N = 11) performed two 5-km time trials on a treadmill to establish baseline 5-km times. For each S, the average mile pace of the fastest preliminary trial (TTE) served as the pace that was manipulated for the first mile of the subsequent experimental 5-km time trials. The first mile of each experimental trial was performed randomly, and was run either equal to TTE, 3% faster (TT3%), or 6% faster (TT6%). Ventilation (VE), oxygen consumption (VO2), respiratory exchange ratio (RER), and heart rate (HR) were measured continuously.

Overall 5-km experimental trial times were not different. However, the fastest time for 8 subjects resulted from the TT6% pace and 3 subjects' fastest times resulted from the TT3% pace. For the first mile, overall exercise intensity [%VO2max, %VO2max above LT, HR] was not different between TT3% and TT6%, despite different first mile times.

Implication. Going out "faster" in a 5-km race does not necessarily result in greater metabolic costs. This study suggests that Ss could be starting races by covering the first mile too slowly.

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