How to Finish Strong at the End of a Race

Who doesn’t want to finish strong at the end of a race?

If you’ve ever had a running race that you took it out too hard and crawled to the end, you know how mentally and physically tough it is.

How to Finish Strong at the End of a Race

We all want to finish strong at the end of a race. Even if you just run the exact same time, it feels better to finish a race strong versus finish feeling like you don’t know if you can make it. In Shamrock Half Marathon 2016 and 2017, I ran one second different on the same course, but in 2017, I finished strong and felt much better.

I must admit, finishing strong at the end of a race is not something I have always perfected, but I am working on my kick.

So How Can You Finish Strong at the End of a Race?

Practice:

This is probably the most obvious answer. Practicing anything obviously makes you better. One way is to run an out and back run, where you get faster coming back. Or you can just do a run or two a week where you practice “negative splits.” Negative splits means getting faster with each mile.

Do Speed Work Towards the End of Your Long Run:

Doing speedwork towards the end of a long run will help you finish strong at the end of a race. Why? It makes you run hard on tired legs. At first, it may not be “as fast,” but by practicing on tired legs, you’re able to run practice for when it gets hard during a race.

Improve Running Strength:

Every single runner will benefit from doing strength. Add hills to your running routine. They are going to help build muscle and improve your efficiency.

Do actual strength work:

Yes, as runners, we don’t always want to lift weights. It’s one of my least favorite things to do, but weight lifting can and will help you finish strong at the end of the race. A few exercises you can do are lunges, squats, plyometrics. Like running, it’s important to find the right workout routine that works for you.

The most obvious:

Don’t start your races out too fast. It can be easy, especially in longer races to say, “I feel great” I’ll bank some time. But usually that comes back to bite you in the butt. Keep to your original plan and if you have energy at the end, then pick it up. Your outcome might be similar, but believe me, sticking to the plan will help you finish a race strong.

Self Talk:

Sometimes we need a little motivation to finish strong at the end of the race. It’s okay to have a mantra or self-talk to help you get there. Finding phrases or mantras that make you feel strong. It doesn’t matter if they are important to anyone else other than you.

So How Can You Finish Strong at the End of a Race?

Finishing strong at the end of races takes time and practice. It’s a skill that is often harder to put into practice when in the moment. Like anything with running, it can be worked on. At least, that is what I keep telling myself.

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Questions for you:

How do you finish strong at the end of a race?

What has been your best race ever?