Getting outkicked sucks...But you can train to fix that

In the world of distance running it seems there are two kinds of runners: the kickers and the pace-pushers. The former are the ones that are often times thought to be just blessed with the ability to hold on tight for the ride (the race) and then breeze by the poor sap who had led up until about 200 meters to go and then gets to watch as the win goes to someone else. Still, they get the runner-up title, oh and equal amounts of pain from all that lactic acid! Hehe...kidding aside though, having a fast finishing kick is a major benefit to any runner or racer; think of it like a secret weapon to be unleashed when you need that extra gear.

True, some runners are just naturally blessed with more raw speed than others (when I was running I most definitely fell into the category of NOT having it :P) but that doesn't mean that you are a lost cause if up until now you've tended to be the one being passed down the home stretch. If you look at the harriers charging home they usually look like they are running much more 'comfortably' than the others; that doesn't mean they aren't working just as hard but they are holding their form together to be the most efficient. When we tire, our form breaks down, and this only slows us down. At the end of a race you want to stand up tall, relax your face, drop your shoulders so they aren't up to your neck, and let the legs roll...though MUCH easier said than done.

Before you even get to the line though you want to have worked on your finishing kick and that will be doing those shorter intervals and sprints. Don't neglect those 200 meter repeats if you are running a 10k or even a marathon; then you can also do power moves like plyometrics to build strength, explosiveness, and that will translate into speed. Another thing that can improve your finishing kick, and your overall race, are drills; doing quick feet drills that work on a faster turn-over will make you more efficient on the track and you will be able to relax and sprint home. Finally core work and lifting weights will also make you stronger and able to maintain proper form; if your core is weak you'll naturally hunch over as you tire.

Just because you tend to be one of the racers who feel they have to take the pace out from the gun and tire out your opponent, that doesn't necessarily have to always be the case. It was once said that the more confident runners are able to sit back, be patient, and let others do the work because in their mind they know they can out duel them in the end. Now, I'm not saying it's always best to just sit and kick because if you are aiming to hit a certain time you may need to be the one to nudge the pace along; but there are always races for times and races for titles or places. That is another topic all together; but the point is you can be a runner hybrid and possess both the ability to take the lead but still charge home with a fast finishing kick. That is of course an ideal all are working towards but the fastest runners work on all aspects of their sport. So if you want to get a faster finishing kick that means increasing your raw speed and working on you form so that when you are tired you are still able to relax, and dig, then tap into that 'extra' gear.

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