In a 300-meter dash is there a kick and if so where would it be?
Ah the 300 meters -- the annoying younger brother to the 400 meters. Bear with me Greg as I touch on stuff you already know about the distance and the race. It’s an indoor track event run here in New York and it is one and a half laps of the indoor 200-meter track (half the size of an outdoor track). It’s a discipline that I coached a lot my last few years of coaching and also one of the key distances we used for training workouts often. It’s a monster, right at the edge between speed and going through lactate barrier. So the question is, how does one run a fast 300-meter dash kicking across the line instead of tying up like an International Knot Tying Guild member? (…that’s an actual thing by the way.)
So Greg let’s talk about finishing speed versus finishing power. When I say speed I mean: how fast can you run at top speed. Most research states you can only maintain top end speed for 40 to 60 meters. That being said the 300-meter is essentially all about maintaining speed as long as possible. Finishing power, for me, is the ability to recruit as many muscle fibers as possible in the latter stages of a race. Basically slow down the least amount possible. Easy peasy right? Just don’t slow down and you’re good.
With the exception of championship distance races where they go painfully slow until the last 200 meters, most finishing kicks are by the person who doesn’t drop their pace significantly. Your training should teach your body to be able to maintain as much speed as possible. Mentally to achieve that you have to convince yourself to run harder each part of the race. Your body will naturally lose power and your muscles will not be firing off as strongly so you’ll have to run harder to maintain. The workout we used to mimic this concept was the “death march” workout. For those of you lucky enough not to be tortured with this workout already it goes a little something like:
10-minute warmup capped with dynamic and 3x strides.
Run 300 meters at a tempo pace (65 to 75 percent).
Walk 50 meters, perform 20x leg exercise (squats, lunges, burpees, jumping lunges etc.).
Walk 50 meters back to 300 meter start.
Repeat steps 2 through 4, six to eight times.
One thing to remember is that the time of your first interval dictates the time of all those that follow. And if you're slower than that it doesn't count toward your six to eight total.
Two additional and extremely important things to remember when training speed and racing fast are staying relaxed and running through the line. Tensing up at any stage of a run or race will zap you of what little energy you have left. So just chill! You also will remember me going absolutely berserk when someone slowed down before the finish line. Nothing annoyed me more than when an athlete ran a great interval or race and then jogged before the line. No kick is worth anything if you let up before the line.
Don’t think of a kick as saving up to hammer out the final 150 meters passing some people. Think of it more as being strong; strong physically where your body can maintain a high level of speed but also mentally strong enough to know you have to run harder even when it really hurts. That’s why our motto was always “mentally tough, physically strong.”
- Coach Phil
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