We do not have full control of our time and schedules that is why there are instances where we need to run a marathon without training. I personally have experienced running marathons and longer distances with not enough training. It would definitely be a big challenge but it can be done. Below are tips on how to get it done.
Before we continue, I would just like to stress out that this is not the article for non-runners. So if you haven’t experienced running a 10k fun run yet or do not jog on weekends, there is no point to continue running. And I also do not recommend running a marathon if you do not consider yourself as a runner.
So who is this article for? This is for runners who do not have the time to train due to their schedule but have already signed up for a marathon.
Whether you like it or not, you need to slow down. If you have a certain pace that you maintain when you run, this time it is necessary to slow down. The lack of training means that your heart is not on the same level as you used to during those times when you are regularly running. If you slow down, your heart and body, in general, could keep up.
Slowing down doesn’t mean you need to stop, but when you feel that you need to, then, by all means, do it. Do not let your ego get the most of you. As we all know when we run a marathon we have this tendency not to be outrun by anyone especially when it already pass the 10k mark. When we see others passing us, we tend to increase our pace which is a recipe for disaster.
But when you stop, rest should not be that long. You can rest for a maximum of 1 minute then you need to run again.
Have a Nutrition Plan
A very important part of running aside from Training is Nutrition. There are a lot of runners who had a difficult running experience since they failed to plan their nutrition. Remember that a Marathon is 42 km of running and that is a long distance. If you do not eat and hydrate right, you’ll eventually lose energy in the long stretch of the race around 30km onwards.
When I run a half marathon, water and energy drinks would be enough. However, for a marathon, I make sure that I have other sources of energy like banana, chips, energy gels, energy bars, and others. There are marathons where aid stations are provided. Make sure you eat what is necessary on these stations so you will have all the energy you need to finish.
A good reminder, be careful with what you eat and how much you eat since eating too much could also lead to an upset stomach. That is why you need to carefully plan your nutrition. If you are used to consuming energy gels, then some chips on the aid stations will do then 2-3 gels would be enough.
Prepare your Mind for the Hardship
Now, let’s make it clear that this marathon experience would be harder compared to your marathons where you were able to train well. The lack of training will definitely have an impact. With this, you need to prepare your mind. As the popular saying goes, it’s all in the state of mind. When the time comes that you feel like giving up or you are in pain, remember that all you have to do is continue, the finish line is just a few miles away.
2 days prior to the event, you need to spend some time maybe 10-15 minutes early in the morning and in the evening to picture out your experience during the marathon day. Be sure to picture yourself in the finish line. Your body will certainly keep on running or walking as long as your mind tells it to do so.
This time, a running buddy in the event is not advisable
If you know some people who would also be running the marathon event, do not be tempted to run with them. Remember that you lack the training and there is a good chance that these people have trained for this event. If you run with their pace, you will be in big trouble. So the best thing is to run on your own and adjust accordingly on how your body reacts to the event.
Prepare your Favorite Running Playlist
If you are used to running with music on, this would also help motivate you during your run. For those who haven’t tried it yet, now might be the right time to do so. I suggest that you start listening to your playlist at the 30km mark. Your favorite songs especially those which are upbeat and lively keep your body awake and in good condition to run. Music has a positive effect mentally which will be a big help as you push yourself through the last 10 km of the race.
Do a Power Walk
If the time comes that you could not run anymore because you are too exhausted. Do a power walk. It’s walking which is slightly faster than a normal walk. If you have not heard about this technique yet, start doing research now. This will help a lot so you don’t waste too much time while walking. And as soon as you feel a lot better, you can resume with running. I suggest that during a power walk, drink water from time to time since there is a big chance that you are already dehydrated.
Be Confident on the Starting Line
At the starting line, be more confident. You need to already claim that you can finish the race and everything will be fine. As the saying goes, if you think you’ll not make it, the battle has already been lost before it had even begun. So have the right mentality at the starting line. It personally took me some time to be more confident on the starting line especially when running longer distances. Eventually, I was able to do it and now whenever at the starting line, I am more confident and excited. Though there is still slight nervousness, I am more looking forward to having fun.
That would be all for my tips on running a marathon without training. As much as possible you should not get used to this. Whenever you signed up for a marathon event, be sure that you a lot some time for training. Even on weekends would be enough. Your training can start on Friday evening until the weekends. It is best to run early in the morning.
Since there is nothing you can do with some changes in your schedule have the heart to be confident on the starting line and run smart to reach the finish line.