Techniques/tips for the finishing kick

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  buxc 10 years, 12 months ago.

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  • #7028


    I've worked on my pace at the start of a race so that I no longer run like I'm doing a mile sprint instead of a 10K.

    Now I'd like to improve my performance at the end of the race. Yesterday I was passed by 3 women in the last 1/4 mile of the race, two were runners I'd passed earlier. I don't like that.  >:(

    Any suggestions for training ideas to incorporate into my workouts or mental tips to help me pick it up & the end? I don't feel like I'm fading, just can't get that kick others seem to have.


  • #24605


    hey  Anne,

    fourtenely  i haven't been outkicked in  a while , the best advice that i can give you is to do 100m strides 2 to 3 times per week after the easy runs and when you are doing intervals( vo2 max) in the last couple of intervals in the last half of the interval try to pick up the pace hard and in the last interval ( in the last 200m) give all you had, doing these 2 things you should nitice an improvement in your finishing kick.

    another thing that i have noted in some runners is that they dont trust their kick, or are too tired in the final stages that they  don't even try to do a kick.

  • #24606


    Tempo runs (esp. predator runs) and hammer intervals.  Anything that works your LT, really, as well as anything that increases aerobic conditioning. 

    Just realize that people who 'kick' past you at the end of the race are as likely to have run the bulk of the race too slowly – and thus underachieved – as anything else.

  • #24607


    Another little mental/physical trick I use on most of my runs is to run the second half faster than the first.  So in training, you get used to running faster at the end.  It's usally easy to do in training, but when the time comes in the race, when it's not so easy, your body (and brain) will know what is expected.  Good luck.


  • #24608



    how well did you do in the race??
    did you continue with the approach of running without the watch ??

  • #24609


    As with GTF, what I've observed is that nearly everyone who finishes with a big kick underachieved earlier in the race. Had they went harder earlier, they honestly would have been well ahead of you before the finish but would not have had as much of a kick. Personally, when I finish with a big kick, unless I'm winning the race, I consider it a hollow victory. Had I put more effort forth earlier in the race, maybe I would have been ahead of more people.

    That said, there are some things we can do to make the most of the limited amount of energy we have in the final 100 yards. I've found that strides are great, as are form drills. Basically, the idea here is that the one who can keep their technique clean and efficient will get more out of their kick when the adrenaline rush kicks in. Also, as GTF mentioned, anything that improves your aerobic fitness and LT will improve your kick by not leaving you as fatigued at the end of the race. Of course, if you accomplish that, you'd apply that to the rest of your race and be well ahead of those who are outkicking you right now but still not having much of a kick.

  • #24610


    Thanks for the suggestions, I appreciate the input.

    I'm not familiar with predator runs or hammer intervals, if I could get a definition, maybe I know them under a different term.

    Ryan & GTF, I've been active on this site long enough to think the same thing as you when I was passed. These people weren't working hard enough if they had this much energy left at the end. >:(
    The phrase “The best defense is a good offense.” comes to mind, doing what I can to avoid this in the future.
    Focusing on the aerobic aspect of conditioning is a start. I also think I have to mentally gear up for the last stretch, it's still an important part of the race.

    I know there are always going to be the 16 yr.old kids who blow past me at the end, that doesn't bother me. To lose 3 spots in the last stretch does, especially when I passed two of those people earlier.

    Cesar, the race itself was o.k., I would consider it more of a run then race. It was a 15K, snow covered thanks to the accumulation the night before & that morning. Footing was terrible but it was for everyone. I never hit a comfortable stride, just tried to keep myself upright. I took first in my age group 1/16, 10/126 division, 52/256 overall. Not a day for great times by any means. Because of the conditions I didn't wear a watch, just ran by effort.
    It wasn't all bad, hot chocolate & Seroogy's chocolate bars at the finish.  🙂

    The race is well organized, Midwest Sports puts on a nice event, if it weren't for the road conditions it would have been fine. Winter in WI, what are you going to do?

  • #24611


    This is directed to GTF.
    I know this is a bit off topic but I was looking through old posts and saw that you have a pdf file of once a runner.  I was wondering if you would be able to help me out.

  • #24612


    Apologies for any vagueness and for taking so long to respond, my proverbial plate has a bit more full than usual. 

    Predator runs are also sometimes known as Kenyan runs and fall under the general umbrella of progression runs.  Essentially, it is a progressive tempo.  It could be done as I used to do them, based on time and perceived effort.  I would warm-up for about 20 minutes and then ease into a 15-20 minute block run at between what I thought I could hold for an hour race and what I thought I could hold for a half-marathon, then do 10 minutes at 10K race effort followed by 5 minutes at 5K effort.  I now do them on a set loop (sometimes marked, sometimes not — my set loop is typically dictated by expected footing conditions and vehicular traffic conditions) and simply aim to go faster for each loop for however many loops or for how long I feel that I can hold it.  Some may prefer to do these by pace or heart rate, instead, though running more by feel is recommended.  This teaches the mind and body what it feels like to not just hold effort but increase it when the body is tired. 

    Hammer intervals are a repeat workout where select repeats are done a little bit faster than the rest, while keeping the recovery interval the same, to teach the mind and body a similar lesson.  This might require some trial and error to tailor to oneself, though the first and final repeats likely should not be among the faster ones.  Think of the faster repeats more as an occasional injection and base the number and frequency not only on the current level of fitness but also on the variables (# of reps, length of reps, length of interval) chosen for the particular workout.  Both of these workouts are based on race simulation.

    Just keep in mind that there will likely always be much faster runners at races who, for whatever reason, underachieve and have too much left at the end that they can go that fast without risking oxygen debt.  Nothing can be done about it, nobody can force them to train and race both hard and smart to get the most out of themselves.

    Re: OAR, to where should the file be sent?  Presumably the desired 'help' entails acquisition of the .pdf file, right?

  • #24613


    Thanks for the description of the workouts. Predator run sounds challenging but I'm game to try it.  If/when the roads are ever clear again I'll figure out a loop. At the rate we're going maybe June.

    Next time I'm at the track I'll do the hammer repeats.

  • #24614



    I recently saw this article on tactics:

    I thought that this might help. Basically, the tactics discussed here talk of pushing when conditions are favorable to try to force the competition to expend extra energy over less favorable conditions and perhaps to get in their head. If someone thinks that they cannot catch you, then they're right.

    I am probably highly qualified to give you advice on beating kickers because I consider myself a kicker — or at least a former kicker. From a kicker's perspective, the best thing that you could do to help us would be to act as a pace setter and apply a nice steady effort — not too fast — throughout the race. We would like to sit on your shoulder and blow by you in the last 100-200m. So, if you're running at a nice steady effort and have someone sitting on your shoulder, you should probably alter your pace — most likely surging (the link above might give you ideas for good times to surge). Optimally, a kicker would like to zone out during the middle parts of the race and only check back in shortly before they make their move. I would often zone out such that I wouldn't remember the middle two laps of a 1600m run in high school — a practice that nearly cost me a state championship because I was sitting on the shoulder of my rival only to “wake up” with 700m to go and realize there was another guy some distance in front of us whom I needed to catch. So, if you have a kicker trying to use you as a pace setter, you either need to set a pace that is too fast for them such that they will have no kick left at the end or you need to vary the pace so that they must work and think throughout the race. If you can get a gap on them, they may choose to settle into a comfortable pace rather than trying to sit on your shoulder. Often that comfortable pace will be slower than the pace that you want to run and you will gradually pull away. If, however, they see you coming back to them, they will sense weakness and come after you again and unless they also have their sights on someone who is ahead of you, you may not know it until too late.

    A final note is never give up. Sometimes when someone makes a move they may not have as much confidence as it would appear. It might even be a total bluff that they know will only work if you believe it because they will have to slow again before they reach the finish. I wouldn't think that is very common though. Most of the time, the kicker probably believes they can kick to the finish. There have been a few times when I kicked, but was watching out of the corner of my eye because I wasn't feeling as strong as I was trying to look and was concerned someone would catch me. Also, not everyone runs through the finish line. Some people let up a bit short of the line or perhaps you could trick them into doing so. Once I was overtaking someone from quite a way back (it was the last leg of a 42 mile relay). As I approached his shoulder, he kicked vigorously to hold me off. He had much more left than I did, so I backed off — basically conceding the race. But, he let up just after I did with only a few yards to go. Seeing that, I kicked one more time, passed him, and was across the line before he realized what had happened.

    I hope that this helps you. I think that writing it has helped me a bit because I now see some of my weaknesses more clearly.


  • #24615


    Steve, thanks for the link & taking the time to discuss strategies. Not being a runner in h.s. or college there are certain aspects of racing  that I've learned through trial & error. Emphasis on error.
    Using the info posted I'll practice in training & put to use in my next race.

  • #24616


    GTF if you could send it to [email protected] I would greatly appreciate it. 

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