I’m sensing a pattern…I had a friend facebook message me on Friday saying, “I’m running a half marathon in 4 weeks. I haven't really trained and I’m afraid my legs aren’t going to make it. What should I do?” Then my sister came over to me yesterday at work and said, “I’m nervous I am not going to be ready for the Disneyland Half.” Now both are athletic so they aren’t starting from scratch. They both already have a base of over 3 miles but crash training for a race isn’t exactly the safest way to complete a half marathon. I was trying to explain to my sister that she is going to need to spend the next 3 weeks seriously training when she says, “I am just going to try to run 10 miles this weekend.” “NO! That has injury written all over it!” I screamed at her. There’s not exactly a “smart” way to crash train for a race but there’s definitely some steps you can take to maximize your time.
When I ran my first half marathon I was nowhere near ready to run 13.1 miles. The furthest I had run was 6 miles and the Wednesday before the race, my best friend Irene told me, “Just try to run for 2 hours and see what happens.” I was in Hawaii at the time and set out at sunset to try to run for 2 hours straight. 2 hours later, dripping with sweat, I had done it. Then Friday I got off the plane, took off to Disneyland, picked my bib up and ran 13.1 miles that Sunday in just over 2 hours. I did exactly what my sister and my friend did without intentionally crash training. I was planning on running a half marathon in June but the opportunity presented itself and I couldn’t say no!
So what do you do if your half marathon is 4 weeks away? How do you successfully train without sustaining an injury? You’ve come to the wrong place, I have no clue. I would recommend some sort of voodoo magic and just help as many elderly humans across the street as you can. Save cats from trees. Give dollar bills to homeless people. RACK UP THAT GOOD KARMA BECAUSE YOU ARE GOIN TO NEED IT!
Just kidding, in all seriousness it takes about 12 weeks to seriously train for a half marathon. 13.1 miles is absolutely no joke but in my personal opinion if you can run 6 miles you can run 13.1. It’s a head game and sure you may not feel too great post-race but you’ll have a shiny medal around your neck for moral support. Is it possible to crash train for a marathon? I think so. (I don’t recommend it…) Here’s some tips:
1. DO NOT go for a longer run than you can handle
Deciding to try for 10 miles fresh out of the gate is a terrible idea. Instead take the farthest distance you have run in the past two weeks and increase it by 10% (or about 1 mile). For example, I told my sister to start her long run this weekend at 7 miles. And continue to add 1 mile for the next 3 weeks. She will top out at 9 miles but that is enough to get her mind ready for 13.1. (She’s also done a half before so she knows what to expect.)
2. Incorporate Speed Training
Once a week, dedicate your runs to speed training. (CLICK HERE for Speed Training 101) Speed training increases your endurance and anaerobic threshold and is the best way to get the most bang for your buck if you are crash training.
3. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
The second something hurts, ease off. There’s no use in injuring yourself before the race. Really listen to your body. If you feel overwhelmingly exhausted, take a rest day. Yes time is of the essence but injuries happen when form suffers.
4. Run 2/Walk 2 & Forget Your Pace
A great method of getting through a long run is to run 2 miles and walk 2 minutes. (You can also run 1 mile walk 2 minutes). This is also a fantastic technique on race day if you are 8 miles in and exhausted. Take a 2 minute recovery walk and jog the next 2 miles. Then repeat until you finish. Otherwise during those long or easy runs, don’t worry about your pace. Forget about running quickly or slowly, just run an easy pace that you could have a conversation at. If you are huffing and puffing, you are going too fast.
5. Have Fun!
Crash training can be slightly overwhelming. Just remember to have fun. As you struggle through those training runs keep a smile on your face. Remember your form (keep your shoulders and hands relaxed, chest up and forward, and breath.) Running is fun so don’t let the fact that a race is creeping up on you overwhelm you. Use your time wisely but also know what’s going to happen will happen. If at the end of the day you aren’t ready, train for the next one.
And for those of you smart and responsible runners who are on the fence about running a half, DO IT! It takes about 12 weeks once you can consistently run 3 miles. The safest way to run a half marathon is to take your time. I do not suggest crash training for a half marathon, ESPECIALLY if this is your first. You want to slowly build your mileage and endurance week by week because-
1. It’s easier to quit if you get discouraged
2. You increase the risk of injury by going too fast.
Most programs require about 4 days a week with your long run being held on Saturday or Sunday. It’s 12 weeks of your life! You can do it! And remember if you are really struggling, take selfies with hot guys!!! I ran the NYC Half with almost no training. I had spent the winter working out but the furthest I had run was 6 miles at Christmas, three months prior to the race. I was headed towards a break up and my man friend at the time told me he couldn’t hang out because he was going to see his friend (A GIRL FRIEND) run the NYC Half. So I thought, “Screw that! I’m going to run it!” So I ran the most incredible race I have ever run and I went viral for hottie hunting. ULTIMATE REVENGE!
Alright friends, that’s all I have for you today. Until tomorrow, #RunSelfieRepeat.