I currently run the 400m and 800m with good times. I am still a little confused about how to end these races by leaning.

I'm not a 100 or 200m runner, but how would I lean at the end of those races if it is close? For example, in the Rio 2016 Olympic 200m final, Christophe Lemaitre leans quite early before the finish:

enter image description here

The runner who came fourth (and was incredibly close) quickly snapped his head forward instead.

Which way is more effective for this event?

However, in the 800m, would it be best to just place your chest forward or lean and possibly lose momentum?

  • What do you mean by "quite early before the finish"? This image shows each of the competitors as they cross the finish line.
    – BowlOfRed
    Aug 22, 2016 at 7:21

2 Answers 2


Leaning at the end is called a "dip" and it's part of the finishing technique. Those who do it well place higher than those who don't. An article provides videos of races won and lost in the last 10 metres, because of dipping well, or perhaps of dipping poorly, such as too soon.

It doesn't make a difference unless two or more runners are within tenths or hundredths of a second from each other. That's less common in longer races, so you see more attention paid to dipping in the 100m and 200m races.


The running position of the 800m is different from the partial lap sprints. For almost all track races, the competitors move their gravity center a little ahead of their normal gravity center so that the athletes' bodies can naturally move forward. The more the athlete moves it forward, the faster the legs have to move to keep up with the gravity center so that the body would not fall over. The sprinters are trying to have a fast finish, so they seem to lean over more. But if you look at the start of the races, all the runners start leaning forward for a fast start.

For distance runs, you should lean forward a little bit (but not as far as the sprinters). By leaning I mean not only the top part of the body but as in the whole. Check this article out. Try to be more relaxed and free flowing so the body would not be as cramped up. I like to start fast, relax in the middle part to induce the running-high, and increase my sprinting speed up at the last 150-250 meters.

  • 3
    This does not answer the question; anything but the absolute end of the race is not relevant. You only mention leaning at the end of the race briefly. Expanding on this point, and the choice of technique and tactics, would improve much.
    – Nij
    Aug 23, 2016 at 3:35
  • @Nij Can this question be answered definitively? I don't understand why this question was migrated without being closed on fitness SE.
    – user10632
    Aug 23, 2016 at 6:57
  • It was closed on Physical Fitness. That's what happens when a question is migrated. And while it may require substantial work to obtain a reasonable answer, such an answer is not impossible.
    – Nij
    Aug 23, 2016 at 7:16

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