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SuuntoRun — 24 March 2015

Ashley Relf is a professional coach. Here she gives you a mental-strength-adding workout that will help you finish a race strong.

Ashley Relf is a San Francisco based coach and athlete. She started her athletic career as a successful gymnast and was training six hours a day already as a 12-year-old. Unfortunately a neck injury ended her career at age 13 and she shifted her focus to volleyball, soccer, basketball, and diving. At college she played soccer and ran track.

Post college Ashley played soccer semi-professionally for a year but soon became an avid runner and triathlete.

“Currently I am a mother of a 6 1/2 month old son, Joaquin and an elite runner training to chase after the Olympic Trials Qualifying time in the marathon,” she says.

In addition to being a top athlete Ashley also holds a degree in Sport psychology, and a Certificate in Exercise & Sport Performance. She coaches individual clients as well as high school, club, college, corporate and professional level teams in both mental strength training and athletic performance in running, triathlon and strength training.

“My strengths as a coach are that I understand the rigors of training to reach higher levels of performance and the psychological challenges of working through the extreme demands of competition,” she says.

“I help my clients find the right steps to take to enhance their performance and reach a better understanding of her or his strengths and weaknesses and what needs to be done to move forward.”


Ashley Relf’s workout, The Speedy Finish Long Run, is great for those who want a workout to help simulate pushing through mental and physical race fatigue towards the later stages of a race.

“This exercise will help you finish a race strong and fast even when your body and mind are trying to get you to stop or slow down,” she says.

The Speedy Finish Long Run is aimed at competitive runners who already have built a solid foundation with their base mileage.

Note: Adjust the heart rates (HR) in the sample workout based on your own HR zones. 

Step 1

“Run the first 10 miles at your normal conversational pace.”
Distance: 10 miles (15 km)
Target HR: 70%–80% of your max HR 

Step 2

“For the next 3 miles start running at your tempo pace (about a minute/mile faster than your normal conversational pace).”
Distance: 3 miles (5 km)
Target HR: 81%–93% of your max HR

Step 3

“Run the next mile at your 5k race pace or an effort that you would not want to talk with your running buddy at.”
Distance: 1 mile (1,5 km)
Target HR: 94%–100% of your max HR 

Step 4

“Run the last 2–3 miles at your normal conversational pace.”
Distance: 2–3 miles (3–5 km)
Target HR: 70%–80% of your max HR

“The goal of this workout is to gain confidence from your speedy finish long runs to push through the mental and physical challenges and keep increasing the effort,” coach Relf says.

For more info about Ashley Relf and her coaching go to