bien finir sa course

Four tips for finishing a race


1. Know your limits

It's the basis of racing and the essential starting point! It is imperative that you know how far your legs and lungs can carry you so that from the start you best appreciate your ability to complete the distance, without suffering any of the often sudden problems that can occur at the end of a difficult race.

Be ambitious but realistic! Bear in mind your past experiences. In terms of distance, don't attempt a marathon without first completing 10 km and half marathon runs. As far as your race time is concerned, decide on a final time that fits your level of preparation. And if it's your first time, just focus on one thing: crossing the finish line.


2. Pace yourself

The main risk is always setting off too quickly and trusting to blind optimism during the first few hundred metres or kilometres. So trust your watch. If you feel good but you're ahead of your race plan, slow down!

Running, whether it's 5 km or a marathon, is always a matter of technique. You must be able to remain consistent throughout. Success in a timed race is all about spreading out your energy evenly. We can learn a lot from experience: several rough drafts are often necessary before we have a final copy.


3. Refuel properly

It's just a case of common sense and listening to your body: drinking when you're thirsty and eating when you're hungry! But certain objective facts should also guide this fundamental aspect of your race management.

It is pointless refuelling, other than by drinking water, when exercising for less than 90 minutes in total. Your glycogen reserves, the fuel stored in your muscles and liver, are enough if your pre-race food has been based on slow-release carbohydrates.

During a 5 km or a 10 km run, a few mouthfuls are sufficient. In the case of a half or full marathon, it is important to drink regularly but in moderation. Sports gels allow you to avoid feeling faint and limit the impact of "hitting the wall": that point when your sugar reserves are exhausted. 


4. Keep your head up

Often you will need to use strong mental willpower to be able to finish a race without slowing down too much. Burning thighs, dizziness or feeling queasy: crossing the finish line isn't always a walkover!

Your priority is not to do anything that could have a bad effect physically. In other words, don't push yourself too far. You don't want to put yourself off sports; instead, you should faithfully repeat what you learnt during training.

To finish your race, concentrate on the immediate future: a straight line, a small hill, a bend. Cut off time and space. Don't think about the rest of what lies ahead before you finish the race. Focus on visualising positive images. And above all be happy to be a runner who dares to take part in competitive sport. 


Enjoy your run!