How to run a half-marathon with no training

I ran a half marathon last weekend, and I have to say running 13.1 miles or just under 22 kilometers is tough, I have a new-found respect for all the marathon runners in the world. I did not train at all, and although I am not advocating this kind of behavior, I did cross the finish line in a reasonable time, considering. Here are a few things that I pulled out of my back pocket to help me through the experience.

I have been a “runner” for about 20 years and when I say this I mean, I run sporadically, sometimes nearly every day for weeks on end, and other times I will not run for months. I usually run in the 5 mile mark each time, and have run 9 miles twice in my life, and that was 2 years ago. The last time I actually ran, pre-race day, was 2 months ago in Australia.

My last run, before the half marathon, with my Son, nephews and nieces meeting in Australia

My last run, before the half marathon, with my Son, Nephews and Niece meeting me

Running in the snow with my husband

Running in the snow with my husband

About 10 weeks ago, my husband mentioned to me that there was a half-marathon coming up and that we should run it, together. Why not, I thought. I have always dreamed of running the New York City Marathon, so this was kind of the same thing, well at least on my way to it, right? Well, even if I was dreaming on that one, it sure would be nice to create a milestone together, and what a wonderful experience for our 4-year-old Son to watch us accomplish, crossing that finish line. Talk about gold-star role model behavior. So, I went ahead and signed us both up, with the joint expectation that we would start training for it straight away.

However, that 10 weeks passed in a New York Minute and alas that training did not happen!

The week before the race, mild panic set in, especially when the official emails starting coming from the race organizers. I entertained the idea of not running the race, but deep down I knew that I would be really disappointed in myself, so I made a decision to run it with the notion that no matter how long it took, I would cross that finish line.

Here are a few things that helped me during the race –

  • Sleep –  I made absolutely sure I slept 10 hours the night before. I achieved this by taking a natural plant-based melatonin sleep aid, which is a hormone said to help regulate sleep. You can buy over the counter at any pharmacy here in the USA. There are many vegan options, just make sure you read the labels. I like to take Fast Dissolve Advanced Melatonin – it works!
  • Coffee – I woke up to a double espresso to get me out of bed, 2 hours before the race started.
  • Breakfast – I ate a bland breakfast of quinoa porridge. Protein and Carbs. I was told by an experienced runner to avoid fats and fiber as they may cause digestion issues while running. I also drank a fair amount of water.
  • 30 minutes before – I drank my go-to pre-workout energizer drink from Vega. It tastes great, and provides immediate and lasting energy. I follow a plant-based diet, and Vega provides all kinds of wonderful vegan products to help me be a plant-fueled athlete.
  • Electrolytes – I took Endurolytes Fizz tablets, on the hour before running and during the race. These tablets help keep cramps at bay by replenishing levels of minerals in your body that you otherwise lose through sweating.
  • Energy gel – I took one at the start of the race and one each hour that went by during the race. It was my first time taking these and they actually taste okay. They help raise your sugar levels fast. See HERE, my favorite Espresso of course!
  • Music – I have a running playlist on my iPhone. Although it was beautiful upstate New York where I ran, I just do not think I could have done it without listening to my favorite tunes throughout the race.

Thankfully, the weather was mild for the race, it was raining slightly and there was a nice breeze in the high 50 degree mark. I really cruised to the 10 mile mark, however after that it all went down hill. I developed a strain in my upper leg and I was on and off, walking-stopping-running the last 3 miles. Which is a real shame, as I was running at a great pace.

Attachment-1I crossed the finish line at 2 hours, and 31 minutes, with my little boy there to greet me and to hand me my medal of accomplishment. Running a half marathon was a humbling and a surely elevating experience. I am very proud that I was even able to run, and I really think it is a testament to living an extremely healthy and active life that I was even able to complete it in the first place.

The next one half marathon my husband and I have our eye on (yes, now we want to do another) is for Autumn, so in 3 months. I haven’t signed us up as yet…… before I do that I am going to make sure we both have a clear understanding of our training schedule first, as I would really like to knock at least 20 minutes of my time!

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum.

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