Have you read the July issue of Runners World? I finally broke mine out of the plastic wrapper last week (I think my non-running status had me a little depressed and not as enthusiastic as usual to read it cover to cover the day it arrived) and promptly found an article written by Hugh O'Neill titled "Outta My Way, Grandpa!" with the subtitle, "Exactly who can you blow by - without guilt - in a dash to the finish?"
While the piece conjured up memories of many races run and the excitement of the finish line, it got me thinking about my typical finish line strategy and wondering what is going through the minds of my fellow runners as they get closer to the bagel and banana that awaits them.
For me, it goes something like this: since 99% of the races I've run have been in Central Park (my training ground) I know exactly where the finish line will be. Whether it is cold and brisk or hot and steamy, whether I'm feeling like I could run forever or my legs are feeling like a ton of bricks, I always react the same way as that elusive finish line gets closer and eventually comes into sight. Once I know I'm getting close, I can visualize the finish line and start to pick up my pace a little. As I turn the last corner or the finish line comes into sight, I really start to pick it up, and as I enter the shoot and the crowds are thick and cheering loudly, the thrill of the finish line takes over and my legs start turning over so quickly (it's really not that fast, but it's fast for me!) that it almost seems they have a mind of their own! I tend to be a selfish finisher - I get that finish line in my sight and it's all I can focus on. I may weave past other runners, but not with the intent to finish before them, but to chip off as many milliseconds as I can from my finish time.
With some particular races, I have wondered as I get in line for my cup of water and bagel: "what could I have done if I had pushed it a bit harder throughout the entire race?" It's not like I usually take it easy through the race, and I am usually totally spent at the end, but still. Could I have ticked off a full minute or more if I had pushed it even harder from the start? Or would I have ended up walking over the finish line? Obviously this could depend on a lot of different factors, but no matter what my overall race strategy is (as loose and casual as it is, because really, I run races for the enjoyment, experience, and camaraderie of it all) my finish line strategy is always the same. The harder I push, the sooner I get to enjoy brunch! (oh yeah, and the more satisfied I feel with my effort).
Do you have a finish line strategy?
workout stats -
17 mile bike
3x10 weighted side bends
3x12 cable pull twists
3x10 tricep extensions
3x10 tricep kickback
3x10 lateral arm raise
3x20 hip raises
1x35 seconds plank