Last Friday I did my first running race: 6.2km I ran 35.58min (35.10 netto time), which is my personal best.

What I found rather strange is, that although I was already running faster than I ever did before on that distance, I was able to speed up a little for the last 800m or so, and even getting seriously fast (by my standards) on the last 200m. Therefore I was able to overtake many other runners, who weren't willing or weren't able to speed up at the end.

I'm wondering: Should I have run a little faster during the complete race thus reaching an even better total time?

Or was everybody else just taking it easy, not bother to sprint in the end?

Or did I just hit it perfect and most others were just going to fast during the race and couldn't speed up in at the end anymore?

Let's rephrase it to make it independent from my personal race:

In order to achieve the best possible time should we

a) run at a speed that allows us to just barely finish at almost constant speed?


b) run slightly slower and sprint at the end toward the finish and total exhaustion?

  • Congrats with your PR! To answer you question, I will give you a counter question you should answer to yourself, privately and in all honesty: Did you feel you were pushing your body during the first 5.4km? If not, then you could have run a little faster. Otherwise, you did the best anyone could ask of you. Jun 23, 2014 at 18:28
  • I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all answer here; both options still allow the user to complete the race. Is the goal simply to complete or to win/do better than most? Aug 8, 2014 at 23:04
  • The goal is to finish the race as fast as possible. Aug 9, 2014 at 5:51

1 Answer 1


Personally I sprint the last 100m.

During the race, I run at the pace I'm comfortable with. When the race is in the last third, I try to keep up and run faster than an opponent running at my pace because beating him would mean an increase in my PR.

However the big picture is there is no one else to race with but yourself.

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