Seanna’s fastest times are always saved for the end of the last set and if she wants to get her best work done, she always begins when the deadline is looming. This brings her to ask: Do running tactics push over to other areas of our lives?

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I did a hill workout this morning. This one resembled many others of its kind. I had eight hills to do and as usual, I rolled into the first one without a lot of enthusiasm — hey I’m just getting the work done, I thought.

But about halfway through the workout, I started to get excited. I pushed harder and ran the hills faster. By the time I was down to my last two, I was running as hard as I could. They were the fastest hills of the day.

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Saving the fastest for last is the way I’ve been running my workouts for over 25 years. Nobody “wins” the workout on the first interval. I was always told that it was the last one that counted. I run all of my harder training runs this way too — whether they’re tempos, long runs or interval workouts. I’m not sure if my pacing tactics are a results of years of training, or if they’re the result of my innate personality.

I know many people like to go out hard, figuring it’s “time in the bank.” They might think if they’re going to get one super fast segment out of themselves, it might as well be the first one. They like to front-end-load their work. I can understand this mentality, and I don’t judge it. But no matter how much you suggest saving the fastest, hardest effort for last, some just seem incapable of doing it. I think that this too is an innate personality trait.

In my non-running life, I’m someone who works to a deadline. If I know where the finish line is, I pace myself accordingly. In university, I could have three weeks to write an essay but I’d wait until the last day. I ramp up in pace and intensity as I get closer to my goal. I just cannot seem to go hard out of the gates. I wish I could. I really wish I could get my work done days in advance but I think I’m fundamentally incapable of that type of pacing. I can’t do my best or most efficient work with lots of time to spare. I sprint to the finish every single time.

Have all my years of training with negative splits rubbed off in other areas of my life? Or is this just a strategy which suits my personality for any task I undertake? I’m not sure. But if you want to see my best work in anything, you’ll just have to wait until the end.


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