They say (“they” including my yoga teacher training instructor) that you teach what you need to learn. I just surprised myself as I drafted this e-mail to a coaching client who did her first tri of the season last weekend but agreed to run an 8K with some friends this weekend. Since their speeds are different, I suggest she come up with some kind of race plan, to make it worth doing.
If you know you’d like to start slow, it might be fun to plan to descend your times per mile, or to wear your HRM and raise your HR 5-10 beats per mile and see what happens. E.g., start at a 10:00 pace, then 9:30, 9:00, 8:30, 8:00 (or something along those lines) for the next miles, or HR starting at 160, 165, 170, 175, and 180 (or whatever seems feasible) with the bumps coming at the mile splits, or every 8-10 minutes. If you go with a plan—ANY plan, be it passing everyone wearing red shirts, or going balls-to-the-wall after every left-hand turn—and then execute it, you’ll have had a good mental-training workout, which will instill confidence in the next, more important race.
Advice I need to follow myself, since I am sliding down the slope I avalanched down last year, getting deep in a pile of B- and C-level races that I said I was doing “just for fun.”