All my years of running, I always reveled in the home stretch. When I ran track in high school I ran the mile. Its four laps around the track and for the first three I was always in the middle of the pack. Then I’d kick it into high gear for that final lap. Woo it was exhilarating! Depending on the team I’d pass at least five to ten people and finish in very high standing. The younger girls said how I motivated them and how it pushed them to finish strong. We all have that extra gear to find something more in the tank! I loved my full on, all-out, home stretch sprints and I still do them to this day!
I first became an everyday runner on the treadmill. No matter how long or far I’d run, my final five minutes were a full out sprint! I loved it! I would push the treadmill speed up to ten and go. By the end my legs were completely fatigued and the sweat was dripping off me. I’d hit that finish line like a champion!
It’s now been over three years since I became a true outside runner, leaving the treadmill mostly behind. But I still find my home stretch! As I’ve gotten stronger over the past few years, I’ve incrementally moved it. I’ve extended my running loop at least six times and adapted that final stretch to match! I used to home stretch it up a super steep hill, which was both exhausting and gratifying. Then one day I decided not to stop at the top of the hill, instead continuing to sprint another quarter mile to my apartment building. That up hill climb was now a part of my run, not the end. I did it once, twice, and then never looked back! More recently I extended my run again, moving the home stretch even farther past my building, allowing for a nice little cool down walk back. It’s a sweet reward for working and running harder than I once thought possible.,/p>
Let’s be honest people, the home stretch sprint solidifies your run. It makes the run end on a high note. No one wants to be running so slowly that walkers pass you on the last leg. We’re better than that! You want to finish strong people, just like it’s a real race. Sometimes, at the end of the run, I feel like I could have gone farther. But I’m always satisfied with my effort and myself. I find ending on a high note to be a wonderful way to finish and a great way to start your day, if you are running in the morning like me. You’ve already had a wonderful accomplishment! Woo! Go You!
I’m going to continue my explorations with the home stretch and I encourage you to join me. We need to keep our bodies fresh and wondering what’s next. No matter how hard the run, when I finish I always feel great! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I haven’t ever gone out for a run and wished I hadn’t! So trust me, embrace the home stretch. End your run with a sense of accomplishment and gratitude!