When I first started skimo racing, I started races way too fast. The gun would go off, and I’d bolt forward. I’d feel great for about 60 seconds and then as if I was running through molasses. I’d have to slow way down. With that kind of start, the rest of the race felt horrible.
By starting too fast:
- I was flooding my muscles with lactate and raising the acidity of my blood;
- Drowning in that metabolic soup, my aerobic system would be overwhelmed. The more acidic my blood, the more I’d have to slow down to allow my aerobic system time to clean things up;
- Later I learned that starting much slower allowed for a more gradual increase in lactate. Although hard to do emotionally, starting slower allowed for a faster average speed overall; and
- The key to making those slow starts faster is to train the aerobic system to absorb larger amounts of lactate so that its tolerable limit is higher.