There comes a point in every runner's race, even elite runners, where they encounter a weakness. Average runners tend to shy away from working on weaknesses and stick to what they do best. While this might suffice in training, weakness will limit your performance come race time.
Following are explanations of the most common weak points as well as some exercises to strengthen them.
1. Weak Start: Many runners have a weak start. Some go out too fast; others are too slow and get boxed into a bad position. The best way to overcome this weakness is to work on it in training. At the beginning of every workout, after you are warmed up, start as if you were in a race. If you feel you start too slowly then try to push yourself during the mock start. If you feel you take off too fast, you can either continue to take off fast until you are used to it, or slow down to a more manageable pace.
2. Weak Finish: Another common weakness is the finish. This can easily be corrected by sprinting at the end of all your workouts, even on long runs. You don't necessarily have to sprint to the finish every time, but at least increase the pace so that if you find yourself in a situation where you need a final kick you will be confident in your abilities.
3. Racing Lulls: Even the best runners have a lull in their race at some point. Let's say, for example, that you are training for a 10K and at about 5K you are feeling a little sluggish, but at 8K you regain your composure. This mid-race lull needs to be corrected if you plan to reach your full potential. Try structuring your training sessions to put the most difficult aspect of your training — a hill, for example — at the 8K mark. From there you can do another 2 kilometers hard but uphill. This will make the 8K point in a flat race seem like a piece of cake.
Whatever your weaknesses, make sure you are consciously working on them. If you avoid your weaknesses, when the time comes to demonstrate your fitness they will definitely limit your performance.
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