Could this be why I always seem to run better in training than in races - I mostly train at night!
A recent study by Parry,Chinnesay & Micklewright, published in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology claims that you feel as though you are running faster in the night-time darkness than during the daylight.
When running at night, in the dark, objects further away are not visible to you and you have only close-by objects to use as reference points. You therefore, get a greater sense of speed compared to running in the daylight.
I think I shall have to have a look around for some evening races this winter - put the theory to the test.
I remember a few years back that there used to be a series of 5 mile races held in the dark winter evenings around an industrial estate in Newton Aycliffe and I had some pretty good results then. The first one I ran in 25.04. However, the course was found to be short and re-measured. The second race on the re-measured course I did in 25.11 (still my pb for 5 miles).