There are no shortcuts. Be patient and look long-term. It's a foolish idea that if you do a little more, faster, then you'll get better than the rest. It ignores the fact that you must train at your optimal level, not your maximum level. Consistency is the secret to improvement and success. You have to keep training when others lose interest.
What I've done in this older part of my life is I started foundation called 261 Fearless, named after my old ,1967 Boston Marathon, bib number. I thought we could create training and a communicative, non-judgmental platform, in a movement to let them know they're not alone. Then fearless women can reach out to help women who are fearful and take that first step using the vehicle of running because it's transformational. It works for every woman every time.
Get out well, but not too quickly, move through the field, be comfortable. Strategy-wise, go with your strengths. If you don't have a great finish, you must get away to win. I've always found it effective to make a move just before the crest of a hill. You get away just a little and you're gone before your opponent gets over the top. Also, around a tight bend, take off like holy hell. I've done that a number of times. You should not be flying down the home straight. Most of your efforts should have been put forth earlier.
Jesus said when the woman poured the alabaster bottle of perfume on him that was worth almost a year's wages, and Judas, who was very money-minded, said you shouldn't have done that, because you're wasting that, we could have sold that and given it to the poor. And Jesus himself said, you will always have the poor with you, but she has done this as an honor to me, and she will be honored for it all of her days. And so you never run out of poor people. You could give everything you had, I could give everything I had, and the world would still be full of poor people.