Ask Coach Bradley - Improving Your Finishing Race Kick
Whether you are part of our CARA training programs, working towards your next 5k PR, or a beginning runner CARA Director of Training and Head Coach Tim Bradley is here to answer your training questions!
Q: My racing season has been going relatively well, but I keep getting passed in the final stretch of races. How do I improve my finishing kick?
A: If you find yourself getting passed or not having much of a kick towards the end of a race, you can take a few approaches to improving this part of your running. Essentially, your body’s ability to “kick” comes down to four primary factors: pacing strategies, fast-twitch muscle fiber recruitment, running mechanics, and anaerobic tolerance.
Always easier said than done, but give yourself a bigger margin to speed up as the race progresses and focus on running even or negative splits. Having just a little more in the tank to push at the end of a race can make a huge difference in your kick.
Train your body to recruit muscle fibers when in a fatigued state. This can be done in several ways, like focusing on it during your last interval of a track workout or running strides of 50-70 meters after a tiring run. You can even incorporate doing pushups and core work after a run to teach you how to engage muscles when fatigued.
Focus on driving your arms and opening up your stride. Covering more ground per stride while driving your arms and lifting your knees is key to a strong finishing kick.
This is your body's ability to handle lactic acid and muscular fatigue when you are really hurting and well above your lactic threshold. In order to work on this, you might need to shorten your workout rest for your typical track workout. Workouts like 8 x 400m at 1-mile pace with just 60-seconds rest is a classic that is guaranteed to challenge you.
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