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The Fast Finish Long Run
Nearly all runners do a weekly or biweekly long run of 90 minutes to three hours of easy running at a conversational pace. These runs are a fundamental element of building endurance, which is why it’s hard to find a successful distance runner who doesn’t do long runs.
All long runs are not created equal, however, and for athletes who want to add some punch to medium-length long runs (90 minutes to two hours), the fast finish long run fits the bill. In this long run, used very successfully by Italian coach Gabriele Rosa, you start at your normal long run pace but gradually begin to pick up the pace across the workout. By the middle of the run, you are running at a steady pace—reminiscent of marathon pace for most runners—then in the last 2 to 4 miles, you run all out to the finish.
This is a very intense long run, but for runners training for a fast half-marathon or marathon, it’s invaluable. In fact, it’s one of the few workouts where you can approach the fatigue and discomfort you’ll experience in the later stages of a long race.
Because it’s so intense, you can’t run fast finish long runs every weekend. Performing two to three of them in the last eight weeks before your race can do wonders for your performance. Remember to add an extra recovery day or two—more than after a normal long run.
Lastly, the fast finish long run is a great opportunity to practice using your race gear and rehearse your nutrition strategies. Bring your A game. The fast finish long run is the secret to that coveted Boston qualification or a new personal best.