Finishing Strides

Your training plan likely includes finishing strides - but did you know that they do more than just help you prepare for the home stretch of your race?

When you run, your brain is constantly communicating with your muscles to determine how the muscles can increase their running efficiency (i.e., run with decreased muscle activation). This involuntarily process explains why all runners increase their running efficiency with mileage and training. Studies do indicate that runners may be able to accelerate the process by incorporating finishing strides into their easy runs.

Finishing strides improve your neuromuscular coordination because the bursts of speed stimulate neural pathways. Just as a pianist's fingers fly over scales after years of practice, your coordination and form improve from these short, but frequent, doses of speed tacked onto the ends of easy runs. To do this without risk of overtraining, end some of your easy runs with a few finishing strides. Wait until the last five minutes of a run and then speed up to an effort level of seven on a scale of one to 10.

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