General Discussion Triathlon Talk » training for a sprint finish Rss Feed  
Moderators: jmk-brooklyn, Ron Reply
2013-08-19 3:43 AM


Subject: training for a sprint finish
Hey Guys and Gals, i have read some where that you should not sprint finish unless you have trained for it.
I'm 44 years young and have 14 weeks until my first tri (the whole Gatorade series).
What would be the proper training for a sprint finish?
Is it as easy as just always finishing a run with a sprint finish caus i do that most times
Thanks for any help, i have googled but all i get is about cycling sprints or sprint distance.

2013-08-19 5:11 AM
in reply to: requiredto

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Resident Curmudgeon
The Road Back
Gold member
Subject: RE: training for a sprint finish

Not sure exactly what you mean by "sprint finish," but there are plenty of free training plans here to prepare you to finish a sprint triathlon:

2013-08-19 6:10 AM
in reply to: requiredto

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Sarasota, FL
Subject: RE: training for a sprint finish

I know that Jeff Galloway mentions that in some of his writing that the stress of a finishing "kick" or "sprint" at the end of a race makes you more susceptable to injury if your body isn't accustomed to doing so.  He suggests training to maintain a steady pace throughout the entire race.

Another perspective is that if you have a enough energy left for a sprint at the end of the race, then you probably didn't go hard enough earlier.







2013-08-19 6:27 AM
in reply to: requiredto

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Saigon, Vietnam
Subject: RE: training for a sprint finish
For your first tri I would not worry about training to finish with a sprint. If you have the energy left at the end of the run, pick up the pace a bit and smile so you don't look (as I do in about half my finish photos) like you're about to puke!

Finishing a run or tri with a sprint is a matter of not just training but race execution. Solid training in all three sports makes it more likely you could dig up a strong finish if needed; for example, to get onto the podium, meet a time goal, or pass a rival. But it's also a matter of how the race plays out. Even the pros do not always manage a graceful finish--I've personally seen Chris Lieto walk over the finish line, for example in a race that was less than a half-ironman in length. It's not at all uncommon for Ironman pros to stagger the last few hundred meters, completely spent. If you execute a race perfectly, at best you'd probably be able to pick up the pace a bit and finish strong.

In my younger days I used to have a nasty kick, but only in really long races, like the last mile of a marathon. I also had a pretty fast last mile of my half ironman last year. I suspect it's due to 1. solid fitness 2. happening to have a talent for endurance (I only look good/fast when others are staggering with exhaustion) 3. Being able to dig deep and really suffer when motivated and probably mostly 3. never really getting pacing exactly right for long events--maybe I start too conservatively because, quite honestly, those long distances scare me a little. I kick to celebrate my survival!
2013-08-19 8:37 AM
in reply to: requiredto

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Melbourne FL
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Subject: RE: training for a sprint finish

You don't train for the finish you train for the whole event.

I don't "sprint" at the finish, I go as hard as I can for the whole run distance which means from me trying to negative split each mile along the way and for the last half mile or so pushing it as hard as I can, not the last 50 yards.  I can't ever recall in the 9 years of racing having someone sprint past me into the finish shoot, but I do see it happening more in the BOP finishers.

Don't sweat about the details of how to finish.  Follow a training plan and train for the SBR so you can have the best overall race you can.  Keep it simple and enjoy it, repeat!


2013-08-24 5:23 PM
in reply to: Donto


Subject: RE: training for a sprint finish
Thanks everyone for the great advice. train for the whole event not just the last 50 metres.
The most important thing is have fun with it.

2013-08-24 6:08 PM
in reply to: requiredto

Subject: RE: training for a sprint finish
I agree with even pace or negative split theories, but the adrenaline rush of knowing the finish chute is near can give me the strength to find something left for a good kick toward the end. I can usually reel in or drop a nearby racer in the final moments this way.
2013-08-24 6:17 PM
in reply to: skibummer

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Subject: RE: training for a sprint finish
It's an interesting mental thing that nearly everybody has enough for a relative kick at the end. You won't see many people walking the last 200 yards of a triathlon of any distance - even the dog tired IM walkers will break into a run even though a few miles before they were out for the count.

I think a sprint finish may have a significant impact on how you feel at the end of the race and maybe on your recovery too. Perhaps push on an extra bit but I don't think you'll gain too much from going flat out and the potential downsides are considerable.

Also, the finish chute is a nice place and worth remembering - you can't take much in if you're red lining it down there.
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