What a great race this has been! You have run up and down hills, over trails, through mud, and fought off runners trying to pass you. Now you simply have to finish the race strong. Of course, you not only want to simply finish the race, but want you want to do it in style by flying down the homestretch in a massive kick while passing tons of runners. Here are some pointers about how to make the race to the finish as strong as and fast as possible.
Hopefully you’ve been able to pace yourself well and at least have a little energy left for a strong kick. Here are some tips on how to initiate the kick.
Maintain your form. It’s hard, but you’ve got to maintain a solid form at the end of a race. You head should be looking straight ahead and focused directly on the finish line. The reason that your eyes need to be up is to ensure that you take the most direct line to the chute. Additionally, Your arms should be relaxed, but swinging vigorously to generate speed. You should also begin to lift your knees higher, and push harder off your feet like you were running up a hill.
Control your breathing. It’s hard enough to control your breathing when you’re running at race pace, but it’s even harder when you start sprinting. If you feel yourself start to hyperventilate try to get control. The better you can breath, the more oxygen your muscles will have.
Stay relaxed. Once again, that word “relaxed” is mentioned when talking about racing. If you can relax during the start of a race, during the race, and at the end, it will be so much easier for you.
Be tough. I can give you all the tips in the world, but the greatest runners in the world have a kind of “killer instinct,” which allows them to push through tremendous pain and launch incredible, last ditch sprints to catch competitors before the finish line. The best “kickers” I have known have a true hatred of losing and a willingness to give absolutely everything they have to win.
In order to have a good kick, you must try to develop this attitude of not accepting losing and a willingness to push yourself to the limit. Of course, knowing the kind of pain that runners feel at in the last minutes of a race, I completely realize that being able to push yourself this hard is much easier said than done.
Finish a Race With Oxygen Debt
It happens to the best of us. Sometimes we go out to fast, and suffer the consequence of oxygen debt. Oxygen debt sets in when you run so fast that your body can not pump enough oxygen to your legs. This will immediately slow you down, and cause a lot of pain. You probably won’t have enough energy to kick. The only way to counteract energy debt is to:
- Slow down.
- Get you breathing under control.
- And stagger on in.
Your time might be a lot higher than normal, but you’ve probably learned a good lesson: A race is not won in the first mile. This is why it is so important to pace yourself. For example, if your goal time in a 5k in 21 minutes, which is about 7 minutes per mile, try not to go out any harder than 6:30 in the first mile. By running a controlled, smart race you will be beat all of those runners who got caught up in the excitement of the start of the race and went out too fast.
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