Keep On Running: Ensuring A Fast Finish To Your Race

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Running is hard. Finishing a run or race faster than you started feels nigh on impossible when you’ve used up almost all of your energy.


Maybe you’ve just quit smoking, moving onto the electronic cigarettesto ensure a healthier lifestyle? Here is a guide to finishing faster than you start, and I won’t lie to you, it is hard work; there is no easy way to do it. Practice makes perfect, and here’s a few tips to get you on your way:

Energy Systems

The human body has three main energy systems that are used during a competitive run.

  • Aerobic energy – This is the main energy system used by runners. This occurs when your intensity level is low enough for your body to supply the muscles with adequate oxygen
  • Creatine Phosphate system – This system provides a powerful burst of energy as the intensity lifts above the aerobic threshold. Only lasts for around ten seconds. Supplemental creatine can boost this system
  • Anaerobic energy – This is when your body can no longer get enough oxygen into your hard working muscles. Lactic acid is produced as a by product. This is the enemy of the distance runner

A strong aerobic base is best achieved by running at intensity towards the upper end of your aerobic range, thereby training your body to push that threshold back and ward off the dreaded lactic acid. In order to optimise your anaerobic system you have to go there! No pain no gain!

Training Strategies

Pretty much all of these training strategies are based around the negative split principle. That means that your pace must pick up as your session progresses. There are different ways to achieve this. Although these techniques may look very similar, they are actually very different in terms of the way the body utilises energy:


Warming down properly is essential for this type of training.

Mile by Mile

As the name suggests, simply increase the pace slightly mile by mile. Begin at an easy pace, and, with a fast target in mind, finish with a lung bursting mile.


Split your run into thirds. The middle third is run at your normal pace, sandwiched between a slow start and a rapid final third.

Final Fifth

Run the first 80% at your normal pace, then kick it up for the last section, building right up to the finish line.

Sprint Finish

Similar to the above, but with a flat out final 5%. Here your creatine system will be utilised before you have to grind your way to the finish with lactate boring into your muscles.


Get stuck in and surprise your mates with a lung bursting effort at the end of your next run or race. But remember, unless you were born with a serious gift, there is no way to get that kick without training for it.


About The Author

Following the birth of his son in 2009, Paul was unfit and sluggish. Since then he's been training using a range of exercise techniques and gained some valuable information over the years. Events he has completed to date are Total Warrior, Pier To Pier, Bamburgh 10k, Hamsterley 10k, Blaydon Races, Newcastle Stampede and over 50 parkruns. In 2012 he created his own challenge called the '12 Days of Christmas.' He raised over £1000 for Percy Hedley by running 60 miles to celebrate their 60 years. In 2013 he ran the '12 parkruns of Christmas' with friend Lee Nyland. The pair raised over £1400 for the Tiny Lives Fund.

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