Training tips for a strong race finish + Last week’s workouts

Happy Wednesday!

We are finally solidly into the school routine.  I don’t feel like I have all that much time to myself (that preschool day is short!!) but it’s going well and good to be back on a schedule.

One question I get a lot from running clients is, how can I ensure that I feel good all the way through to the end of my run?

There are three things in training that can help a lot in those final miles on race day.

1.Run miles at race pace toward the end of a long run.

You don’t want to do this on every run, but if this is not your first half or full marathon, you can add in some miles at goal race pace toward the end of a long run when your legs are already tired.  Start with 2-3 and build to 5-6.  This teaches your body to dig deep and find that pace and hold on when you don’t want to.

Use race pace miles in every 2-3 long runs, with nice and easy long runs on the weeks in between.

2. Run the day before a long run.

This is also for intermediate to advanced runners.  Run 5-7 miles the day before a long run, with the option of a few of those miles near race pace.  The fatigue from this workout carries over into your long run the next day to help mimic how you feel in those final miles of the marathon.  Training on tired legs will help you both physically and mentally to be more prepared on race day.

If you are training for your first distance race, the goal should be to finish feeling good. The purpose of long runs for you is to build aerobic endurance (your ‘engine’) and spend time on your feet, but don’t worry about the paces.  It should be conversational pace.

3. Fast finish runs

Finally, finishing an easy run with strides or a short sprint can help with leg turnover and prepare you to pull out a faster gear on race day in the final stretch!

My workouts last week: So it’s race week with the Newport Liberty half on Sunday.  I have to admit, I was briefly considering the full in Richmond and working out an 8 week plan to get there… if I use this race for marathon race training and get in a total of 16-17 I could make it happen.  But so far the farthest I’ve run is 14.5 and I feel like I’d be showing up under-trained.  We’ll see how the next few weeks go!

Monday : 6 miles with 4 x 25 second strides (8:26 ave, strides at 6:00 ave)

Tuesday: 45 spin session + upper body strength (20 each of kb upper row, kb swing, TRX pull ups, TRX push ups x2)

Wednesday: 9 miles with 4 x 1 mile with 400m recovery jogs + 4 x 200m (2 warm up, then 6:37, 6:34, 6:26, 6:27 for the mile splits + 41, 41, 39, 39 for the 200m with 200m recoveries

Thursday: 55 minute pool running + easy walk

Friday: 5 easy, somewhat hilly miles with a friend + Iron ST workout

Saturday: Easy 8-9 miles with a client, plus running a bake sale in our front yard all afternoon!

I was exhausted Saturday night after being on my feet all day with the bake sale/ giant neighborhood play date + set up and tear down.  I slept in on Sunday and did nada. AND still took a giant nap!

I’m tapering a bit this week, running 5-6 miles with a little intensity and enjoying the cut back in training.


What are your thoughts on an 8 week marathon training plan? 

Have you found other training tactics that helped you finish a race feeling strong?

I’m linking up with Tricia and HoHo from The Weekly Wrap, SuzRachelLora, and Debbie for Running Coaches CornerPattyErika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run, NicoleAnnmarieMichelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday.

24 thoughts on “Training tips for a strong race finish + Last week’s workouts

  1. Great tips – thanks for sharing! I have been trying to incorporate a fast finish on my shorter, easier runs and I think it has been helping quite a bit with leg turnover. We’ll see what happens on race day. Enjoy your taper!

  2. I think you could run the marathon in Richmond for sure 😉 I guess it depends on what you want out of it, but you are doing some strong training now. I have always struggled with a faster finish, I can usually pick it up the last few miles but I am all over the place, I typically manage it with kind of Fartlek style. This training cycle I started using my watch and programming target paces and the cues are helping me to pick it up gradually! I am hoping by my next race I can mange the last 5 miles much better with this strategy 🙂
    Richmond is always a bit of a zoo with crowds, but I’ll be looking for you on the Island afterwards!

  3. I love progressive miles. If nothing else, the faster miles toward the end (with a strong finish) help me mentally. I’m thinking your bake sale event was much tougher than your run. I hope the sale went well. Good luck at the Newport Liberty Half!

  4. Training on legs that are exhausted is the ticket for me. Getting over that hurdle emotionally before race day is a game changers.

  5. Yes to all of these! I had a few workouts during my last marathon training cycle that really helped kick things up a notch. I ran a 3 x3 mile workout at tempo pace and also this crazy workout: 2 mi at medium effort, 2 mi at tempo, and 1 mi at 5k pace. Of course all with warm-ups and cooldowns…This really brings out the tiger in the pussy cat!!! Enjoy some tapering!
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