Welcome, Guest      Blog      Forums      Calculator
     Log in  

Some links below may be affiliate links. BMOW may get paid if you buy something or take an action after clicking one of these.

As an Amazon Associate BMOW earns from qualifying purchases.

Return to topic list
<< Shoe insoles Muir Woods 25K >>
 Final Kick?
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Posts: 222

Final Kick? Posted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 7:10 am 

So when you're in a race, do you sprint the last few hundred yards to the finish...whether it's a 5K or a Marathon?

I find that I run the last mile to 1/2 mile or so harder, but only by a few seconds/mile, and the last 1/4 or so maybe a little faster than that, but I never find myself in an all out sprint in any race. i guess i tend to try and spread that effort out over the whole distance rather than leave something for a final kick and have a real lopsided split that might signal i left too much out there on the course. anything from the 5-10k range i find i'm running so hard most of the race i'm too exhausted to even consider putting it into fifth gear. In and 1/2 to full marathon, i my legs tend to be so tired it's not an option either. in the marathons, if anything, i was going slower at the end rather than faster but a lot of my friends that ran further back in the pack all talked mater-of-factly about how 'of course i sprinted to the finish line, didn't you?' my response something like 'heck no, are you kidding, i wanted to walk across the line, i was just happy to be running at all'

Just curious about what others do/experience...

Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Final Kick? Posted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 7:45 am 

I'm like you-- I try to push it harder in the final mile or so. If you sprint the last few hundred yards, you'll probably only gain 10 seconds or less since there's just not enough room left to work with. Of course, that's not to say I don't try to run as hard and as fast as possible at the finish... it's just that I've already been pushing hard for so long that it's doubtful I could manage a real sprint.


South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: Final Kick? Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 5:21 am 

Hmmm, good question. For 5K's I usually don't have much left at the end when I'm trying for a PR. But in longer races 10K - 1/2 marathon, I've found that I often have something left in the tank at the end. I guess I hold back until the last mile before I start really push myself. With a 1/4 mile left I focus on passing people in front of me and coming across the finish line strong with a good stride.

I've run over 60 races and it's still hard for me to know what pace to go out at. I've always just based it upon how I feel; how my training times have been rather than some formula. I just shoot for something better than a previous race pace. I've always been fearful of going out too strong and then struggling at the end. I often find myself backing off a bit if I hit the first mile or two well under my goal pace even if I feel great. I've learned from experience that you can feel great one moment and a minute later suddenly feel quite bad.

Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Kansas, OK
Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 100

Re: Final Kick? Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 1:21 pm 

If I have the energy, I sprint the last 100 yards out or so. But I have not run a marathon. I am doing OKC in late April, so I will let you know if I sprint or not. My guess is that I won't. When I did my 20 mile training run, I did feel like I had enough in the tank to blast my way to the finish line. Like you, I suspect that if you have that much left you probably ran at a pace that was slower than it should have been. I don't know though. I spoke to a swimming coach about this very thing a few months back (my theory that you shouldn't have anything left for a kick in a long event) and he disagreed with me. Well, I'm no expert so I will defer. :o)


Canon City, CO
Joined: 09 Jan 2005
Posts: 44

Re: Final Kick? Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 5:54 am 

Every race I've run (which isn't many, of course), when I finally saw the finish line, I tried to get there as quickly as possible with whatever I had left in me. Before every race, I always tell myself that I'm out to have fun and that my sense of accomplishment should be in being able to run the required miles and not in how fast I can run. Once the race starts, however, I'm sure a different mentality takes over for all of us and time becomes our primary focus. No matter how much resolve I had at the start to not worry about my pace and concentrate on not beating my body up too badly, once the charge out of the chute begins, my goals suddenly change: stay ahead of as many people as possible, catch and pass as many people as possible, and try to finish with a faster pace than the last race.

I suppose this human trait is what causes us to run races at a much faster pace than we normally run in training.



Joined: 28 Mar 2005
Posts: 6

Re: Final Kick? Posted: Mon Mar 28, 2005 2:51 pm 

As you can tell from my name i like that final kick in pretty much any race from a 5k to an 800, in track for the 800 and the 1600 i usually go out the first couple laps in last then kick on the last lap and come in 2nd mostly because the first person usually runs away with it.

Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Final Kick? Posted: Mon Mar 28, 2005 5:40 pm 

I find it interesting that a "final kick" is such a common part of racing, especially in shorter distances. I have to believe that the most efficient way to expend your energy is to run at a constant pace the whole way. Going at a slower pace for most of the race, then switching top speed at the end just can't be as efficient, and yet it's still so common. Pacing it this way may result in some kind of psychological advantage, maybe. Demoralizing your opponents?


Joined: 07 Jan 2005
Posts: 30

Re: Final Kick? Posted: Sat Apr 02, 2005 5:41 am 

Here's my picks on the kicks.
- Given the non-linear nature of the body's energy system (think about the WRs; for 1/2 Marathon Tergat ran 59:17, for twice the distance he ran 2h05, i.e. the 1st half in his WR marathon was only 2.5 mins slower than his WR half), the general presumption is that smoothing out the pace is better. In other words, the body as a very thin redline.
- Received wisdom in the elite racing world is that negative splits are the best way to get a PR (see, but only a very mild 51% of the time in 1st half of the race. There are a number of theory about why, but nothing certain. Of course almost no serious amateurs know their pacing well enough to target 51-49 pacing, so the lesson, I take away from the science is that even pacing is best.
- For serious amateurs, I think negative splits (of which the kick at the end is just one form) have a lot to do with uncertainty about their top performance. We all know that going out too fast can produce lots of pain and slow times, but going out too slow is no way to get a PR. Elite runners do so much high-speed work that they have a very good idea of what sort of pace they can handle, but serious amateurs tend to be more cautious. That's why we often have a bit left at the end. BTW, if you want to improve, try to start your kick at 1 k left mark rather that 200 or 500 meters. If you divide the reserve over 1k you can reduce your time much more than if you hold pace till the last 200 m and then sprint (did I tell you about the nonlinear thing?).
- Last point, with very few exceptions, none of us really 'go all out'; like throwing up or fainting at the end of a race, so a lot of it is being able to handle what I call the 'gut pain'. Seeing the finishline provides me with lots of mojo (I visualise the pain like a wave and I stay just in front of it until the end when I allow it to break over my head). For me, it also helps a lot to think about lowering my place finish by one (when you pass people at the end they don't have time to catch you).
- Last point (is there an echo in here?). Sprinting at the end of a hard race is one of the easiest ways to get injured (that's how I shot my Achilles problem the first time). You're muscles are tired and your legs are deadened by the lactate acid, so you don't feel the damage until afterwards. For example, lots of runners have finished races with stress fractures -- completely oblivious of the break.

Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Final Kick? Posted: Mon Apr 04, 2005 2:31 pm 

Runner58 wrote:

- Last point, with very few exceptions, none of us really 'go all out'; like throwing up or fainting at the end of a race, so a lot of it is being able to handle what I call the 'gut pain'.

That's a very good point. I've often thought that racing is 50% physical conditioning and 50% pain tolerance. Personally I am kind of a wimp for pain, and in some races I probably could have physically run a bit faster, but I just didn't allow myself to.


Joined: 20 Jan 2005
Posts: 19

Re: Final Kick? Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 5:38 pm 

Most of the time (if i am still able) i will kick towards the end of the race. From a physiological perspective, what happens is that you run at or near to your anaerobic threshold for most of the race (the pace you can sustain before lactic acid starts building up in your muscles). But at the end of a race, you can cross that threshold and it doesn't matter so much that lactic acid starts to build up (except of course that it hurts a heck of a lot more!). Consequently, the time you could run with a kick at the end wouldn't neccesarily be able to be reproduced by running just that little bit faster over the whole race.


Joined: 22 May 2005
Posts: 22

Re: Final Kick? Posted: Sun May 22, 2005 8:12 pm 

Well, in track, I've never run farther than 1 mile, and within that, I would try to sprint the last 200m, (which is about 220 yards), and it would be so excrutiating that I would nearly puke once I crossed the finish line, and within the last 20m I could see black haze growing in the corner of my eyes...

Of course, next year, I'm trying out for the 2 mile, and maybe the 5k in track, and I'm also running cross-country for high school, events that have not yet been availible to me, though when I'm training, and I'm running long distance, I always push myself as hard as I can when I'm running, though for some reason, I always seem to want to push myself to that point of black haze toward the end, to get a full completion of the excercise, even though I know it's an unhealthy habit that could lead to future problems...

Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Final Kick? Posted: Sat May 28, 2005 10:08 am 

Heh, that urge to puke and black haze reminds me of the race descriptions in Once A Runner. I've heard similar descriptions elsewhere as well. I wonder, is this typical for top milers? I've never experienced anything even close to that, and I don't think I'd want to. Maybe I simply don't push myself hard enough.


Joined: 22 May 2005
Posts: 22

Re: Final Kick? Posted: Mon May 30, 2005 11:30 am 

Well, I've seen top milers on T.V., (Lagat being one of them,) run the 1.5K, or the 2-mile, and when they're finished, they're not breathing really all that hard, and they're not sweating too badly... Maybe once they had to deal with black haze or something, but, from what I see, endurance isn't an issue to them in a somewhat middle-distance event...

And, it's probably not because you're not pushing yourself hard enough... I know people on my former track team that train just as hard as I do, but they don't feel the same effects... I mean, occasionally they do feel a tad bit of lactate acid buildup, and every know and then, just a little urge to hurl, (in fact, some of them do it quite frequently and feel better afterword,) but I don't know if the black haze is just me without an excellent lung capacity, or them with an unusally strong one...


Joined: 31 May 2005
Posts: 1

Re: Final Kick? Posted: Tue May 31, 2005 4:11 pm 

well, i just finished a 1/2 mar last week-end and witnessed two runners almost get run over by some dude who was trying to offer a great show for family and friends @ the finish. the dude almost crushed these two poor girls who i'm sure trained very hard for their race. so, ya, if you got some juice at the end, by all means "give 'er"- but be careful you don't make an ass of yourself!!!!

btw, this is my first post...long time reader

View posts:     

All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Page 1 of 1

Copyright © 2014 Runworks. All rights reserved.   Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group

Questions or Comments  Privacy Policy