Stay in contention with your main competition, the fast girls & boys, and don’t let them go out of your sight in a race.
I recall my earlier race days as a developing Elite Olympic Distance triathlete in Germany.
At races one of my main goals was to stay with the leaders until T1 then T2. They (my rivals) helped me, they gave me fire, direction and kept my mind in the zone. Grinding it out.
Racing near or from the front hurts and these top athletes knew very well it would from experience. There is nothing easy about racing to “win” or break through.
Athletes who race to win medals and those who want to raise to the next level should expect that the sensation of going fast is uncomfortable so therefore make it uncomfortable to break through and achieve your goal, a higher performance level.
Don’t be fooled,though, the ability to push yourself and sustain fast speeds requires long physical and mental preparation period or otherwise it’s only wishful thinking.
Good news is it can be done.
Where there is a will there is a way.