Jan | 15

Runner Help: Four Ways to Plan Your Race-Finish Strategy

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Runner-San! Yes, you!

With your skills in shoe tying, joggling and neon outfit making, you’re just about ready to defeat any opponent.

But wait! Before you go out on your race journey, don’t forget this one piece of #runnerhelp advice:

Plan your race-finish strategy.

Trouble at the finish of a race often comes down to timing your kick. You know, it’s what happens to runners when we empty the tank just a little bit too soon and find ourselves struggling to cross the finish line only to get passed by one, two, maybe  three people just before reaching it.

We’ve all been there. Don’t worry. Sometimes it’s hard to know how to balance “leaving it on the track” and being able to finish the race standing up. But if there’s one thing we do know, it’s to plan your race-finish strategy. Here are our four tips:

  1. Know the course: For shorter distances, try running the course for a warmup or you can look at a map of the course beforehand. Knowing when you’re approaching the end of the race, even before you can see the finish line, will help you gauge when you should go for it.
  2. Know the distance: A 5K is not a 10K is not a marathon, and so on. Plan how you’ll finish a race at different distances and anticipate how fresh or fatigued you might feel heading into the kick.
  3. Know your own limits: You might hear someone yelling at you to sprint in the last 200m of a race, but your sprint speed might not be Fawn Dorr’s sprint speed. And that’s OK.
  4. Be confident: Sometimes races don’t always go as planned. Keeping track of mile splits, monitoring the competition and managing a race plan is a lot to think about during a race. But when it comes down to the final meters of a race, you can always finish.

What tips do you have to help keep yourself from kicking too early or too late? Share them in the comments below.

Got a question about running? Follow Brooks on Twitter and send us your question using the #runnerhelp hashtag and we just might send you an answer.

Good luck!

About Derek
I’m a runner, a writer, and a shoe lover who enjoys morning coffee, travel, singing in the car, and getting legitimately lost on trail runs. Three things I can’t live without: bubble tea, Fridays, and my Brooks PureFlow’s.
  1. Jessica Lin

    Train well! When I train, I almost always aim for even or negative splits, and I try to save energy to speed up at the very end, since I know that’s what I will want to do when I race! That way, on race day, I already know what it feels like and what I’m capable of.

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