how to run a half marathon with zero training (bad idea)

*WARNING – this is by no means recommended but if you happen to find yourself in this unfortunate situation, here is how we survived*

We hope that you never find yourself in a situation where you are about to run a half marathon that you haven’t trained for. It’s a scary, scary place to be and not the brightest decision you can make. However, shit life happens and sometimes you just can’t commit to your ambitious goals but you also don’t want to quit.

If you ever find yourself in the position that we were in for SeaWheeze (signed up with lofty goals of getting PBs > had a mental block > hit a training wall > entered the denial phase > didn’t train), then these tips will help you survive (sort of, maybe, not really sure…again, this is not a good idea).

Pre-Run

Have SOME kind of fitness background

  • You don’t want to jump into this couch to half marathon. If that’s your situation, you likely want to reevaluate some of your life choices. While we didn’t train, we had each run a half marathon before, so we had a sense of how we would feel on race day.
  • Despite not running more than a couple of 5ks in a three month period, we dabbled with some yoga classes and body weight exercises (think squats, lunges) at the gym. We’re not doctors but believe this helped our lives.

Hydrate + Carb up + Rest

  • Drink a TON of water leading up to the race. Bring a 1 litre bottle with you everyhwere you go two days prior, and make a point to fill it up a few times throughout the day (more than you want to!).
  • On the day before the race, have an active rest day – walk around a bit and get things moving, but don’t plan to spend hours walking around the city or doing strenuous exercise.
  • Don’t forget to have a carb-y meal the night before. Treat yo’ self to a pizza with no ounce of guilt.
  • Try to get a good night’s sleep before the race – even though you’ll likely have pre-race jitters.

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The Run

Fuel Up 

  • Yes, we just had a pizza the night prior, but trying every trick in the book we thought might help, we had a black coffee and Spinach and Feta wrap from Starbucks before the race – it was a good mix of protein, carbs, plus a little boost of caffeine.
  • Stop at the water stations along the course – they’re a nice break and the hydration will help.

Embrace the 10:1’s 

  • Running Room uses this method in their training, which consists of running for 10 minutes, walking for 1 minute, and we found this made a huge difference at SeaWheeze.
  • The 1 minute break is a nice mental breather/thing to look forward to, and it was just enough time to log about 1.5 kms so the time passed pretty quickly.

Run with friends (preferably friends that also haven’t trained) 

  • It was nice to have each other to run with during the race so we could laugh at what a bad idea this was. Knowing that we were both equally bad, was surprisingly a nice motivator to keep going. You don’t want to be the worst of the worst, so it helps to keep each other going.

Throw away all race goals, aside from survival  + stay positive

  • With no training, you can’t expect to have a personal best. Set your ego aside, and forget about trying to run it in sub 2 hours. You’ll only end up pushing yourself too hard, feeling frustrated, and disappointed when you don’t achieve it.
  • We actually found it refreshing to not have a specific target – because our only goal was to finish the race in one piece, we had a fun time enjoying the course and taking it slow.
  • Keep your thoughts positive and celebrate each kilometer. Don’t think about work, the fight you had with your mom/sister/bf/bff, or anything that will put you in a negative headspace. This is the last thing you need as it will crush your small ounce of motivation.

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Move and have a celebratory beer

  • Although your first thought might be to be immediately horizontal followed by a four hour nap, your body will thank you if you stretch, and keep it moving so you don’t seize up.
  • Treat yo’ self to another delicious meal and clink some beers in celebration. You survived. You crossed the finish line. You deserve a beer but never do this again. Training is KEY.

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Good luck (you’ll need it ;))!

xo, late & lovely 

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