Into the great unknown
Into the great unknown
As far is I can tell this triathlon business is 90% in the head. I'm really good at some bits, not so good at others, and mostly it's a great ever unknown. This is my experience of managing mind, and body, to be the best triathlete I can be.

How to run a marathon on no training

ritatrisby ritatrisJul 28th 2014
Well my first advice would be don’t. If you can possibly avoid it. But sometimes life gives you five days notice and these things have to be done. Based on this weekend’s experience as part of a relay team at Outlaw here is my advice:

• You can probably do it
There are grannies, women and children in this world right now who are walking for days with all the possessions they can carry to avoid being killed. Therefore any half way fit, well fed, healthy adult in the UK can get round 26.2 miles in 8 hours.

• Aim low
Budget for the worst case scenario in terms of time. Have several plans, and plan to drop down through the plans. Anything quicker is a bonus.

• Plan to walk
A run walk strategy is your best bet. Stick to it from the start and your legs will stay fresher for longer, you’ll be in control of when you walk, and you’ll be moving quicker for longer.

• Expect pain
It will hurt. No matter how fit if you haven’t done run specific training your muscles and tendons will burn from the sudden repetitive demand. Be ready for it.

• Drink lots
Obviously. Cramp is not your friend.

• Eat lots
Also obviously. Physical pain is one thing, ending up in a mental black pit of doom because your blood sugar is low will be what finishes you.

• DO NOT think about the miles
This is important. Think about points on the course instead, and about completing your next run/walk interval. Whatever you do, do not think about the miles.

• Look after your feet
Talc/vaseline, good socks, familiar and comfortable shoes are essential. Blisters are an avoidable pain.

• Expect more pain
It will really hurt. Even walking a marathon hurts. But monitor your pain, and if it gets worse, or new pain turns up suddenly then stop. Switch to walking, stretch the bit that hurts. Be prepared to know your limits and call it a day.

• Aftercare is worth it
Keep moving if you can. Even if it’s propping your feet on the dashboard and shaking your legs and wiggling your feet on the (chauffeured) drive home, you will at least be able to move, if not tackle stairs.

• Clear your plans for any activity afterwards for a week
Talking of stairs, be ready to bum-shuffle. Get to know the public transport to get to work. Allow twice as long to do anything/get anywhere.

Really, I can’t think of many scenarios in which this is a good idea. But if you must attempt it, then be sensible and get your head in the right place and you might even enjoy it. Remember, you can most probably do it.

Yesterday I did the swim (as planned), and the run (after our runner dropped out due to injury on Tuesday) at Outlaw. I had previously run a total of 18 miles since January. It was a whole lot of hurt, but it was both type one and two fun and an immense day. Sharing part of it with the athletes completing the full ironman was truly inspirational. And if you use the whole of human experience as a reference point it gives you a whole new perspective on what your mind and body are capable of.
How to run a marathon on no training
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