How to run the last mile

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Whether you’re in a race or on a training run, a 5k or a Marathon you’ll always have to run the last mile. This last segment is often special in one way or another. I made the experience that often when training long distances or longer races the last stretch is where I check my watch the most to check when I’m done. But also the last mile in a race is the part where you can start to enjoy the success and it’s sometimes the fastest mile in a race. Here I want to throw out some thoughts on how to run the last mile.

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Increase your pace

As some runners get slower towards the end of a race or a workout run, I always try to speed up and make the last kilometer (or mile) the fastest of the entire run. If I succeed that means for me that I didn’t waste all my energy at the beginning and had enough left in the tank for the final sprint. Also sprinting at the end takes my mind of the exhaustion especially on longer runs.

Listen to your favorite song

You can reward yourself by switching to your favorite song. If you are like me, you have a fully loaded running playlist with a lot of motivational songs that can give you the final push in a training or a race. Sometimes for races I even figure out a tune to which I want to cross the finish line. I then create a playlist with songs with a total duration of my anticipated time. That then is an additional motivation to speed up so I can listen to my preferred song when finishing.

High five the people on the street

Now this is a fun thing to do especially if you’re not in a race. On bigger races you always have people at the street towards the end of the race that you can give a high-five. But if your working out nobody expects you to raise your palm and exchange high-fives. Just try it out on your last mile with random people. Quite a lot  will play along and even give you a surprised smile.

Think about what you achieved

Races always give you a great feeling when you cross the finish line. But also training session can make you feel very happy when you get a bit closer to your running goal. I often try to recap my run on the last kilometer and try to realize what I achieved or what I could do better the next time. After running on longer runs for several hours it’s very satisfying to let yourself know what you’ve just done on the last stretch.

Come up with a finisher pose

This of course is something that works best on races. If you already taste the sweet feeling of accomplishment, you can try to come up with how you want to cross the finish line. There are endless possibilities of funny things you could do to end your race. Some just run over the finish line in exhaustion, some jump over it or even show some acrobatic flip or something. Just try to take your mind of things by thinking about what you like to do at the finish line.

I’m curious what you do on the last part of a race or training run. Let us know in the comment section below.

Happy running

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