Feb 15, 2018
I recently interviewed Alex Hutchinson, author of Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance.
Almost a decade ago, Ross Tucker and his colleagues at the University of Cape Town published a striking graph showing the average pacing strategies in men’s middle- and long-distance track world records over the past century:
The patterns are remarkably consistent. In the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, the first and last parts of the race are the fastest—of the 66 records set in the modern era in these two events, only once (Paul Tergat in 1997) has any kilometer other than the first or last been the fastest.
Alex calls this tendency to speed up as we approach the finishing line ‘the finishing kick’, and it can be found not only in endurance sports, but weightlifting, and if you look closely enough, the workplace.
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