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Your Weekly Running Workout: Fast Finish Run

This week’s workout is all about the finish! One of the most challenging parts of running a 10K or half marathon is the final few miles. If you started out too fast, you will be struggling to finish, and even if you followed a smart pacing strategy, the last 2-3 miles feel tough. It’s likely that you, like most runners, have watched your goal finish time slip away during the last mile of a 10K or 2-3 miles of a half marathon. If that’s you, this workout will help you stay strong through the end of a race.

A fast finish run may appear easy on paper, but don’t let it deceive you: you will be huffing and puffing by the end. A fast finish run teaches you how to speed up at the end of a run, a task that can be as mentally challenging as it is physically demanding. In exchange for running at a hard effort at the end of this long run, you should feel stronger and more confident in your ability to push hard during the final mile or 2 of your next race.

If you are training for your first 10K or half marathon, this workout serves as an introduction to speedwork. If you are training for a 10K or half marathon PR, this workout can serve as a second hard run of the week, especially in the early weeks of training.

A majority of this run is done at an easy pace, which is ideal for building endurance. Your easy pace is approximately 60-90 seconds per mile slower than your half marathon pace or 90 seconds to 2 minutes per mile slower than your 10K pace. You should be able to carry on a light conversation without gasping for breath.

The final 10 minutes are where the real workout kicks in: run these last 10 minutes at a hard effort, or what feels like an 8 out of 10 (with 1 being a light jog and 10 being an all-out sprint). Your breathing should be noticeably labored and you should be able to only speak in short phrases at the start of the 10 minutes and just a word or two at a time by the final few minutes. This level of effort should correspond with your goal 10K pace (or 15-20 seconds per mile faster than your goal half marathon pace.

The total length of the run will vary based on your goal race. If you are training for a 10K, run 30-40 minutes before the 10-minute fast finish. If you are preparing for a half marathon, run 40-50 minutes before the fast finish.

You can adapt this run based on your race course: if you know the course will be hilly, run this workout on hills. If you are running a flat and fast race, do this workout on flat terrain.

The Workout

  • Run at an easy pace for 30-50 minutes.
  • Run 10 minutes at a hard effort, or approximately 10K goal pace.
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk.

Get started here for the workout with helpful audio cues on Runkeeper.

Laura Norris

About the author:
Laura Norris

Laura Norris is a certified running coach, distance runner, and blogger over at This Runner's Recipes. She loves helping runners achieve their personal best through providing useful, well-researched information on running and nutrition. Beyond running, Laura enjoys craft beer, hiking with her husband and dog, and cooking.

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