Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How To Run A Half Marathon With No Training

I was so happy to finish the SF Nike Women's Half Marathon last weekend - Sunday, October 19, 2014. I didn't even think I'll be able to finish. I've trained with Team in Training (TNT) and run a full marathon and my first half marathon two years ago (2012). Since then, I stopped running after I got pregnant with our second child.  I started running again after my maternity leave, which was beginning of this year.  From January to April of this year, I was running at least once a week.  After my last 5k race in April, I got so tied up with so many things at work, kids getting sick (and later I get sick), and all the cycles that you go through with motherhood.  I keep on putting it off until the final week came up on my calendar.  And when it rains, it pours!  The week of the half marathon, got sick (caught the bug that got my daughter sick the week before) and lost my voice, my period came, and all my attempts to even run for 3-5 miles didn't happen.  I looked at the race course and all I see are hills!  But, I'm a TNT alumni and I take into heart that this is a Nike (the winged goddess of victory) event.  Also, I had so much fun on my last Nike marathon that I have faith that this will be another fun event with DJs and music and cheers and chocolate mile along the way!

So, here is how you I survived this half marathon without any training the past 6 months.  I think I've put on a few pounds since then, too.
  • Sign up for a FUN half marathon, like SF Nike Women's Half.  They have music and cheers and all kinds of treats to look forward to in the course. They have everything covered as far as water stations and first aid tents. 
  • Do a lot of mental preparation.  Familiarize yourself with the route and try to visualize yourself getting through each mile.
  • Carbo-load the night before.
  • In the morning, have a good breakfast (banana, peanut butter sandwich, chocolate milk, energy bar, whatever is good for your muscles.  Hydrate with water and electrolytes.
  • Take advil before the race (the first aid station recommends 600 but I only took one 200 tab).
  • If you're sick, take Robitussin Dm for your cough.
  • Take Gu for extra energy.
  • If you can sneak in the early heat, go for it.  It will get you to run with less crowd and buy you more time, in case you have a harder time running.
  • Start slow and pace yourself.  Listen to your body and monitor your heart rate.  You don't want to black out.
  • When you're feeling pain, stop and stretch. 
  • If it's a side pain, take deep breaths while resting and drink more electrolytes.
  • If it's knee pain, do different kind of stretches for couple of minutes. 
  • Take another advil if you have to.
  • If recovering from a really bad pain, start by walking for 3 minutes before running again.  Again, when the pain strikes, slow down and attend to it.
  • If you're not confident enough that you'll finish, walk the hills and save your energy for later.  Downhills are great for making up your time.
  • To get you going, aim small.  First to mile 1, then to end of 5k, then to the bottom of the hill, then to that walker that you're about to pass, then to the cheer station, then to the next water stop, then aim for a certain time to finish mile so and so... Next thing you know, you'll be in mile 13 and just have to run hard to 0.1 mile finish line!
  • After the race, attend to your pain - ice bath, stretch as long as possible, roller-roller-roller! Rest and refuel!  Enjoy your Tiffany necklace (or medal) and look forward to your next race!

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