Finishing Kick Workouts for Marathon Runners

By Rick Morris

The marathon may be run at a moderate pace but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to develop your finishing kick ability. A strong finishing kick at the end of your marathon can cut valuable seconds or even minutes off your finishing time. A strong marathon finishing kick can also spell the difference between winning, losing or achieving your marathon goal. Here are just a few of many possible finishing kick workouts for the marathon.

Fast Finish Marathon Long Run

It’s become a common practice to include goal pace running in your weekly long run. Here is a version of those partial goal pace long runs with a finishing kick. Run between 12 and 24 miles depending upon where you are in your marathon training. Run the first half of your long run at an easy endurance pace. Run all but the final mile of the second half of your long run at goal marathon pace. Then speed up to the fastest pace you can maintain for the final mile of your long run.

4 x 3 Mile Fast Finish Repeats

Here is a long interval training marathon workout that you can do on the track or road. Run 3 miles. Run the first 2 miles at goal marathon pace then speed up to the fastest pace you can maintain for the final mile. Repeat this 3 more times for a total of 4 repeats. Recover between each 3 mile repeat with 3 minutes of rest.

Marathon Pace Fartlek

This marathon finishing kick workout is an adaptation of a standard goal pace workout. Run for between 60 and 90 minutes. Alternate your speed between 5 minutes at goal marathon pace and 2 minutes at your finishing kick pace or a very hard pace.

Progressive Long Run

You’ve probably already done some short to moderate distance progressive runs. This marathon finishing kick workout increases both the distance and intensity. Run between 12 and 24 miles. Begin your long run at a very easy pace. Gradually, but steadily increase your pace throughout your long run so that you are running the final mile at the fastest pace you can maintain. Keep in mind that this is still a long run, so plan your progression so that you are doing the majority of this progressive long run at an easy to moderate pace. You should only be hitting a hard pace for the final miles.

Combination Long Run

This finishing kick workout is really two separate but related workouts. First, run your planned long run at your planned pace. Immediately after finishing your long run and without any significant recovery time,  perform six to ten 100 meter sprints with about 10 seconds of recovery time between each sprint.