Monday, April 6, 2009

Finishing Strong

I'm always amazed at the last 200 meters of a running race how some have that finishing kick and others, well not so much. I experienced this a few weeks ago at the Austin Cap 10k. I was in a pack at the last turn with a long 200 meter drag strip to the finish. I'm fairly good at timing my finishing kick based on distance and gauging the runners around me. It is a GREAT feeling to blow the doors off the competition and finishing strong. It is a humbling experience to kick to soon, and blow up before you cross the line.
Well, I had a young kid on my left start the sprint out, and everyone else followed. Needless to say the youngster was gassed with another 100 meters to go. I finished second in this group. I was out kicked by a gentleman with a higher leg turnover, OUCH!!
If you have ever watched a finishing stage at the Tour De France you get the idea, but on a smaller scale. This is a trained technique like most other skills in competition. You have to train for this to get better physically and mentally.
I found a simple workout to enhance your finishing kick. This is used by University of Oregon track star Galen Rupp. I have seen this kid run, he is the real deal.
He has improved his kick by doing 6 x 200 meter sprints at 90% effort one-two times a week at the end of his long interval and tempo runs. These workouts teach his body how to recruit fast twitch muscle fibers late in a race while running fast with good form when fatigued. This also means that he never goes more than a few days without running fast.
This is a beneficial technique if you run local races. You will have a faster kick that will last a few more meters. You will also be more mentally focused and recover better physically at the finish. Give it a shot!! Trainer Todd

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