The Cute Butt Strategy: How To Run Your Fastest Race Ever

Run Faster

Ever get stuck at a certain pace while racing?

You see great progress over a few races and then you even out. You begin to start running the same times over and over and over again. You’re stuck. You hit a lull in your progress.

Some of it is physical – sure, you can only get so fast so quick, but some of it is mental as well.

If you’ve ever run with a running group, you’ll often see the same groups of people run with each other – even when on person consistently improves, they run in similar relative positions because that’s what they’ve become accustomed to. So even while they’ll improving, it would appear that they’re plateauing. Not because they’re not faster, but because they’ve hit a mental plateau of how fast they think they should be going.

There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.” – Bruce Lee, Then Die

It can be tempting to stay at your level, at that plateau, but you have to go beyond it, to improve, to get better and to do the impossible.

It’s easy to say behind the computer, but the tough part is doing it in the midst of the race. When you’re racing, you need a way to push beyond your plateaus, you need a strategy.

Fortunately, there’s a way to break through. If you want to keep passing people, push yourself and run your fastest race ever – there’s a solution – the cute butt strategy.

How To Use The Cute Butt Strategy

Before you get all caught up in the name, the cute butt strategy is pretty straightforward and it’s almost exactly what it sounds like.

  1. Find a cute butt of a fellow athlete that’s ahead of you.
  2. Give yourself 100 yards to catch up to them.
  3. Catch up to them before the 100 yards is up.
  4. Maintain that pace while catching your breath.
  5. Find another cute butt ahead of you and repeat.

Although it’s fairly simple, there are a few caveats you should keep in mind:

  • Don’t let anyone you’ve passed pass you. That sort of defeats the point.
  • Don’t stare or drool or make comments. It’s plain rude and will mostly distract you from the goal – catching them.
  • Know your pacing. You want to go beyond your limits, but you don’t want to wind yourself within the first 1/10th of the race and have to walk the rest of it. Go out at your regular pace and implement the strategy once you hit the halfway mark. Start earlier in future races if you need to ramp it up a notch.
Even if you’re not a terribly competitive person, you can use this strategy to create a game with yourself, push yourself and even run a faster time than you thought possible.

Why The Cute Butt Strategy Works

It’s easy to have heart the last 100 yards, it’s hard to have heart throughout the whole race – Matt Soules, 3x Ironman – Impossible TRI

You can use this with trees, telephone polls or people with less-than-cute butts. Whether you’re running a 5k, a marathon, or a triathlon, the point is the same. It’s easy to sprint like a madman the last 100 yards of anything. It’s hard to do push yourself the entire race. The cute butt strategy gives you those “last 100 yards” moments several times throughout the race so you’re actually racing the entire time.

Unless you’re an elite athlete, the only competition in most races is yourself, but it’s hard to have perspective in a lot of races unless you have a hologram of your pace time next to you like a mario kart character or the girl in this video.

The cute butt strategy gives you external motivation to pick up your pace. It gives you outward motivations to do better than you’ve done and push beyond your plateaus. You compete against others to help you compete agains yourself better.

Give the cute butt strategy a try. It might just help you run your fastest race ever.

*This is a variation of the tree counting method.. David also calls this “catch and release.”

**I may or may not have used this in actual race conditions. Results may vary based on the butt cuteness index of your respective race. Let me know your results.

Reader Ryan Gautsch ran the Cincinati marathon in his Impossible shirt. In addition to running 26.2 miles, he also beat 12 kenyans, and decided to start a rivalry with the ridiculously photogenic meme guy. BOOM.

Ryan Marathon Impossible

Got an Impossible Shirt? Do something impossible and take a photo and we’ll feature it in our impossible gallery.

photo credit: jacsonquerubin cc

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  1. says

    I prefer the chasing tail — ponytail that is — strategy because it’s far easier to see someones head as they bob and weave through the crowd.

    I agree with Roy on the catch and release strategy. What a great way to set an aggressive pace and have micro-goals to keep you motivated.

  2. Ryan says

    Such a great strategy! I use this when I’m out on training runs, when I see someone running the same direction as me, I try to catch & pass them. Makes for a little challenge & allows me to push a little harder.

    Also, thanks for featuring me in the post! I’m pretty the shirt made certain that I was the best looking runner in the entire marathon! Also, hearing people yell “Go Impossible guy!!” gave some awesome motivation to keep going throughout the race!

  3. Kathy Brown says

    Self-belief is also an important element in getting this sort of strategy to work. If you don’t believe you have the staying power to sustain that sort of strategy, you’re not likely to use it. Here’s a message I posted on another blog about this issue & how it affects our performance.

    Confidence is believing in yourself enough to release yourself to be awesome.
    Just yesterday I got a revelation of how important that is, & the effect it has when you don’t have confidence in yourself.
    I recently returned to running after a gap of more than 20 years. Generally my progress has been good, but I had a couple of setbacks due to ill health & a detached retina scare. I signed up for my first race for this weekend just past. It was only a 4.5k fun run, but it was so long since I’d done anything like that, & with the aforementioned setbacks, I wasn’t sure how I would go relative to everybody else. So rather than risk holding people back, I stayed fairly far back in the crowd. As a result, I added about 20% to the time it took me to complete the run because, for about the first 7 or 8 minutes, I couldn’t get going properly until the group spread out because of all the people in front of me who were going slower than my normal pace. Next time, I’ll be giving myself permission to be awesome & will start just in behind the front runners. And who knows, if that goes well, in the race after that, I might even go in amongst them. All I know is, I don’t plan on shackling myself like that again. You never really know how awesome you can be until you give yourself the freedom to try.
    The other important thing I’ve learned about confidence is this. Humility does not mean having a lowly opinion of yourself. True humility is having an honest & accurate opinion of yourself. If you are awesome (and everyone is in some way or other), it’s not true humility to think otherwise, it’s delusion. We all need to figure out in which ways we are awesome & which ways we are not!

    Update: the race results are out. I came 71st out of 150 in my age category & 507th out of 978 overall. But I worked out that, if I hadn’t been so cautious about my start position, I could have been between 10th & 20th in my age category & about 150th overall – not bad for a first race & quite a difference. Let the lion out of the cage. Release yourselves to be awesome!!!!

  4. William Dulitz says

    I used this on May 19th for Tough Mudder, seemed to work great! Also works for getting over obstacles and pushing through electro-shock.

  5. Marlane says

    My favorite strategy is 100-200 meters before finish line, challenge someone to the finish line-always have to make sure I win though!!!

  6. says

    I like this! I’m going to try it. Mental games are always good to help push through.

    When I used to bike I would imagine that there was a race commentator narrating my bike ride. Made it fun and fast!

  7. Mikey says

    I used to call it the “Damn, look at that ass… No, look at that ass strategy.” But, once you start doing better than 20 minute 5k’s the women become more and more scarce at local runs.


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