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Does A Strong Finish Mean Bad Pacing? (Read 845 times)

Biking Bad


finnegan begin again

    Recently, I mentioned in an RR that I had sprinted at the end of my 5k last week, to which one of the members of my user group said it meant I hadn't run the race at the right pace, and that if i had, I'd have had no gas to sprint at the end

     

    I have heard this said a few times by people whose opinion i respect, including the person who said this on my RR, Nobby, and others.

     

    My question is, is this true? Or is it possible to have sprinting ability even when under the aerobic stress of having just run a 5k race (hard and correct)?

     

    Different runners, different strategies. WWRAD (what would robby andrews do?)

     

    Modified: spelling of kids name

    "... the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value..."  Thomas Paine Dec 23, 1776 The Crisis 

     

    Adversity is the first path to truth. Lord Byron

    MrNamtor


    DON'T TREAD ON ME

      Thanks for the comments so far everyone. I am really trying to get a good 5k time, and not just use the 5k as a training run for longer races, though i do plan on running an HM or 2 this year.

       

      I'm sure my racing is very poor and I am not doing my best out there, which is not surprising for a few reasons.

       

      Yeah, maybe the person who made the comment on my RR was critiquing  the fact that I seemed to be saving up for the kick and not the kick itself,  but I interpreted his remark to mean that one should not be able to kick at the end of a well paced race. He also said that he basically feels like he's going to die at the end of a 5k and has the dry heaves. So in that context, I took his remark about the kick in that way. (Note: I am not saying this in a way to indicate that i think what he said is extreme - I've heard similar things from other people.).

       

      I also remember someone else saying that if you want to run a really fast 5k you should be uncomfortable basically the entire race. The person who said this runs a great 5k, really fast, and was quoting another runner whose 5k is even faster.

       

      What do people think about this?

       

      And now i am going to read science of sport a la Jeff. Gracias.


      Muddling through

        I also remember someone else saying that if you want to run a really fast 5k you should be uncomfortable basically the entire race. The person who said this runs a great 5k, really fast, and was quoting another runner whose 5k is even faster.

         

        What do people think about this?

        Not much. It's no more valid than assertions about a kick or that you haven't run your hardest if you aren't puking at the end. While you should know you're running hard and fast, that's not the same as being uncomfortable. That's a feeling you shouldn't be experiencing until after the halfway point.

        2014 Goals: Run first trail ultra, first 100K, and see what I can do in a 24-Hour race

        Julia1971


          When it comes to the 5K, I'm in the "start out as hard as you can and try to hold on as long as possible" camp.  I used to try to hold back a little, have even pacing, like I would do for other distances but once I switched over to this philosophy, I started setting PRs.  But, it does mean that I gradually fade after about 2/2.5 miles in and there will be no kicking/accelerating coming from me at the finish.  (Don't tell my competition that. Wink)

           

          Edited to add the italicized part.  I don't start out at a sprint and fade out all 3.12 miles.

          The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. – Chinese Proverb

            If you've paced yourself really well, many times your "kick" will really just mean you maintain pace rather than slowing down like most of the people around you. It can feel like you've picked it up a lot just because you're working harder and most likely catching and passing people who are cratering, but you might not be going much faster, if at all.

             

            This was driven home for me recently when I raced a 3000 on a 200m indoor track. My perception of the last 3 laps was that I was kicking really hard and picked up the pace quite a bit, since I passed about 5 people and even lapped a couple of guys in that last 600 meters, but according to the clock all I did was maintain the same pace I'd run for the first 12 laps.

            Runners run.

            Julia1971


              If you've paced yourself really well, many times your "kick" will really just mean you maintain pace rather than slowing down like most of the people around you. It can feel like you've picked it up a lot just because you're working harder and most likely catching and passing people who are cratering, but you might not be going much faster, if at all.

               

              That's a good point.  For competition, I think it does often come down to who's going to "crater" worse.  And, knowing that most runners will fade and putting yourself in position to pick them off.

              The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. – Chinese Proverb

                A coach for our group recently said "even my grandmother can kick in the last lap and will be the fastest", while that was for an interval workout, I think it will apply even for a race. It's the 400-800 m before the last quarter mile that needs to be as fast if not faster than the final 400 m.  So I guess we need to start the kick well before we actually see the finish line and hope that we don't die.

                 

                I need to practice this sometime, haven't raced in almost a year now, or more like two if we don't count last June/July


                And in the end...

                   Yeah, maybe the person who made the comment on my RR was critiquing  the fact that I seemed to be saving up for the kick and not the kick itself,  but I interpreted his remark to mean that one should not be able to kick at the end of a well paced race. He also said that he basically feels like he's going to die at the end of a 5k and has the dry heaves. So in that context, I took his remark about the kick in that way. (Note: I am not saying this in a way to indicate that i think what he said is extreme - I've heard similar things from other people.).

                   

                  I also remember someone else saying that if you want to run a really fast 5k you should be uncomfortable basically the entire race. The person who said this runs a great 5k, really fast, and was quoting another runner whose 5k is even faster. 

                   

                  Yeah, that person was me... and I was commenting on your RR where you said you kicked prematurely more than once... then sprinted at the end.  Here's what I highlighted:

                   

                  "..causing me to kick prematurely, only to realize that i needed to slow down again. This happened more than once i think. As a result, I was pretty winded approaching the finish. Still I was able to finish strong with a very strong kick the last .1 miles or so."

                   

                  That, in addition to your comments on waving to the crowd, lead me to conclude that you weren't racing it as well as you could have.  I never said that racing well means you should not be able to kick at the end... if there is someone I can pass at the end, or a significant number on the clock I am trying to beat, then I might be able to get a last kick at the end, but it's gonna be more like 50-100ft and I'm gonna be in misery once I cross the finish line.  More times than notthough, I'm just trying to hold on to the finish...

                  ------------------------

                  The GITM is moot.

                  jackdyl11


                    Even with the best paced race, you should still be able to kick at the end.  I like this Science of Sport article.  Halfway down the page is their write-up on the men's 800m in Beijing, and they talk about optimal pacing.  I like this graph (hope it posts right!).  It averages the pace per kilometer of the last world records in each event from 800-10000.  There is a definite pattern.

                     

                    World Records

                     

                    The last time I kicked really well was at the end of a 10m race.  I was watching the world go by with 500 to go thinking well, that's the end, you're going to die.  Then someone came past me vomiting all over himself.  I was NOT going to lose to him, and I managed to pick it up, and beat him by about 4 seconds, although he probably just slowed down.

                      It is not valid to compare the "pattern" of world class elite runners and us mortal's running pattern.  In fact, it seems that we ARE talking about 2 very different topics here within the same topic.

                       

                      If you watch someone who's under-trained and they can't even push themselves hard (say, 80% of their VO2Max level) for 3 miles so they just decided to go very easy from the get-go; and now they pick up the pace in the final 200m.  Yes, in this case, "strong finish" means you really didn't do much of energy expenditure throughout the race and you have plenty in the tank.  Now, you trained well (even if you're not so trained) and you start pushing right from the gun and you're at the death-door at 2.9 mile mark and now you have 0.2 mile to go and you try to pick up the pace.  Now you don't have anything left in the tank so you just continue at 7:12 pace...  Well, good; you ran a very strong even-paced run and it's great pacing so you're ready to collapse at the finish line.  So I guess this is the case the OP is asking.

                       

                      Now, it IS physiology and we're talking about different energy systems IF we are talking about running speed and purely speed.  Now, if your VO2Max is (roughly), say, 6:45 per mile pace; and you've been running at 7:20 pace (taking it easy) and push in the last section to 6:12 pace, yeah, that's a different energy system.  But this guy can pick up the pace to 6:55 and it's under the same energy system and it's still "picking up the pace" and, depending on how much he slackened in the beginning, it's still a "kick".  The truth is; and I think very many people misunderstand this--most probably it doesn't really curtail to them because most of don't even tap into it; it's got NOTHING to do with how tired or how well-paced your run was or anything.  It is in fact totally dependent on your muscle fibers.  Lydiard called this "Basic Speed".  If you're fast, you're fast.  If you're slow, you're slow (I'm not talking about 5-hour marathon being slow.  If you put someone like Usain Bolt into a marathon, he'd be lucky to run 4-hour marathon but he's still FAST).  If you watch women's 10000m final in 2005 and 2007 World Championships; you see the Turkish girl (Ab...something) take off in the final 1/3 of the way, push the pace and push the pace...trying to break away.  No use, Debaba is too "fast" for her.  It is very much conceivable, and I'm sure it had happened before, that Debaba is more tired or just about to break; but simply because she's FASTER that, if she hangs on, she can oukick her opponents.  I'm trying to think of any occasion like that in the recent years...that someone is probably even more tired, puked or fell down or whatever at the end and the person who got beat is fresher; but simply because the guy who lost the race DIDN'T HAVE THE KICK, he lost.  Do you see what I mean?  Look at someone like Radcliffe; she's a great runner, runs alright...but in the Championship competition, she'd be burried by people who have better sprinting ability.  It's not necessarily those who beat her "slackened" in the earlier stage; it's simply that they have better kick.

                       

                      With "modern" training method, most elite runners are fit enough that they can pretty much keep up with "most" paces.  So, in Championship competitions, it's the one with the best sprinting ability who is most likely to win.  Not always though.  Someone who doesn't have as great of a kick would try to keep the pace honest and push much earlier and see if he/she could outrun the opponents.  El G didn't really have great sprinting ability.  That's why, even in Championship situations, he had a fellow Morrocan who would sacrifice his chance and push the pace; to get the sting out of other kickers.  If he tried to run like most championship races--jog for 1200m and kick it in in the final 300m, he wouldn't have a chance.  Again, this does NOT mean he pushed harder than others or others slackened.  It's simply that he doesn't have a kick.

                       

                      World record is a bit different.  Again, they try to push as evenly as possible simply because it's most economical.  If the one who's trying to run the WR has this sprinting ability, they'll pick up the pace.  If he didn't, he'd run strongly and evenly.  I'll bet, if you draw a graph like this, or Ron Clarke and his 22 world records, he wouldn't show much of picking up pace at the end simply because he didn't have a kick.  Doesn't mean his world record pacing was poor--the number of WRs he had set proves it otherwise.

                       

                      One of the greatest, or toughest, world record was Lasse Viren's 10000m at Munich.  It was a championship race; the pace went up and down all over the place; and then he had to kick it in and still ran the world record time--doesn't happen often especially today with a half a dozen rabbits.  One of the wackiest finish would be 1971 European championships 5000m and 10000m where Finland's Vaatinen simply turned the race into a sprint event.  Again, it's not that he "slackened" earlier (maybe a little) but it's because he had 10.4-100m speed:

                       

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwyA3sfEED4

                       

                      Even with the best paced race, you should still be able to kick at the end.  I like this Science of Sport article.  Halfway down the page is their write-up on the men's 800m in Beijing, and they talk about optimal pacing.  I like this graph (hope it posts right!).  It averages the pace per kilometer of the last world records in each event from 800-10000.  There is a definite pattern.

                       

                      World Records

                       

                      The last time I kicked really well was at the end of a 10m race.  I was watching the world go by with 500 to go thinking well, that's the end, you're going to die.  Then someone came past me vomiting all over himself.  I was NOT going to lose to him, and I managed to pick it up, and beat him by about 4 seconds, although he probably just slowed down.

                      jackdyl11


                        Nobby,

                         

                        I totally agree that there are two different topics.  I don't think I could ever push myself like an elite, just one of the many things separating me from a gold medal.  For us mortals, we're always going to have a 'kick' left, if we have the mental fortitude to pick it up when the finish line comes into view, because we go out conservatively.

                         

                        We're probably saying the same thing with regard to elites, too.  I think the SoS analysis shows that at least in longer events an elite, optimally paced race may still allow for a kick.  Here we wouldn't be talking about a championship-style race or a tactical race where people spend the last few laps positioning for a sprint, but a wr attempt.  It's like you say: you try to push as evenly as possible, and use your sprinting ability at the end.  Some people like Ron Clarke are great runners but have no sprinting ability, so they can't up the pace for the last 400 meters even thogh they can run a world record.  Others are able to run wr pace and yet have some sprinting ability, so they use it on the last lap.  Therefore, on average, you're going to see the last lap/k being faster than the ones before it, like the data shows.  Probably doesn't mean anything for someone like me, but it should be interesting to the physiologists who have the task of explaining how someone that (ostensibly) could not possibly have run faster for the last 4600 or 9600 meters is suddenly able to run a sub-60 last lap.

                         

                        I understand what you're saying with Debaba - she might have barely been able to hang on to the pace, but as soon as the finish line was in sight she was somehow able to sprint away for the win.  The other woman wasn't as tired at the beginning of the last lap, but it didn't matter.


                        Trail Monster

                          Thanks for the comments so far everyone. I am really trying to get a good 5k time, and not just use the 5k as a training run for longer races, though i do plan on running an HM or 2 this year.

                           

                          I'm sure my racing is very poor and I am not doing my best out there, which is not surprising for a few reasons.

                           

                          Yeah, maybe the person who made the comment on my RR was critiquing  the fact that I seemed to be saving up for the kick and not the kick itself,  but I interpreted his remark to mean that one should not be able to kick at the end of a well paced race. He also said that he basically feels like he's going to die at the end of a 5k and has the dry heaves. So in that context, I took his remark about the kick in that way. (Note: I am not saying this in a way to indicate that i think what he said is extreme - I've heard similar things from other people.).

                           

                          I also remember someone else saying that if you want to run a really fast 5k you should be uncomfortable basically the entire race. The person who said this runs a great 5k, really fast, and was quoting another runner whose 5k is even faster.

                           

                          What do people think about this?

                           

                          And now i am going to read science of sport a la Jeff. Gracias.

                           

                          Know your limitations. If your splits are 7:20, 8:10, 8:50 you went out too fast and died. If your splits get faster (by a decent amount) you didn't go hard enough. Whether you can kick at the end or not is mental. Every good kick I ever put out was caused by someone approaching me from behind which gave me a jolt of, "Oh hell no!" Also, do some workouts based on your goal for a 5k. I'm doing 3 x 10 minutes at my current PR pace with 3 minutes recovery between mixed with varying interval workouts Throughout the month. The first time I did that workout I had to quit. The second time I survived. The third time I was like, "This is 5k pace?" Which makes me believe a new PR is i my near future. Get comfortable being uncomfortable and pacing will just happen.

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                          This Space For Rent

                            Purportedly, Roger Bannister was at near collapse after every race.  He was also renowned for his "kick" at the end of them. If you can push it push it.


                            HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                              ...

                               

                              One of the greatest, or toughest, world record was Lasse Viren's 10000m at Munich.  It was a championship race; the pace went up and down all over the place; and then he had to kick it in and still ran the world record time--doesn't happen often especially today with a half a dozen rabbits.  One of the wackiest finish would be 1971 European championships 5000m and 10000m where Finland's Vaatinen simply turned the race into a sprint event.  Again, it's not that he "slackened" earlier (maybe a little) but it's because he had 10.4-100m speed:

                               

                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwyA3sfEED4

                               

                               

                              Thanks for the explanation, Nobby, and this video of the last 600m of the 71 EuroChampionship 10K was fun to watch.

                              It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

                              MrNamtor


                              DON'T TREAD ON ME

                                Without specifically replying to any posts, I just want to again thank all who have, and let everyone know that I am reading every post and thinking about what all of you are saying.

                                 

                                And thanks to those who've posted links like the ones to the science of running. It's really made me think a lot about what goes on in our bodies (and brains) when we run.. One thing i will say is that it seems that running becomes so much more complex the more you do it. Like when i first started to run, I would get winded, and when I did, I would stop. And if i'd run a race at that time, I'd probably only be able to run about a half mile race, and i know i would be gasping for breath at the end of it.  And I'd know that i had run the hardest fastest race i could.
                                But now, if i feel fatigue, or more accurately if i push myself to fatigue, it's more complicated. I don't get winded, exactly. My legs don't ache after a half mile. So why don't i go faster?


                                Did i not run my best race  at last week's 5k? I cannot honestly tell you. I really can't. I know I WANTED to run as hard as possible, and to have as fast a time as possible. I know I really needed to mentally push myself in at least the last mile and a half, to keep up my pace, and I know that i felt "not good". and surely wanted to stop. If it had been a training run i definitely would have stopped and called it a good day's work. But yet i also have the feeling that I "left some time" out there, as Matt M said. Then again, I felt that I had not run hard enough in last october's chicago's urbanathlon , after missing 3rd place in my AG by 2 minutes in an almost 2 hour run. Yet the fact that I couldn't run more than 2 miles at a time without my legs going dead for 2 weeks after that effort told me something else.

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