When You Just Haven't Trained…


You’ve been there, right?  You sign up for a race with every intention of putting your all into training for it, then life gets in the way or for whatever reason your training has gone a bit off the rails.  Race weekend is approaching and you know you just aren’t in the best shape to complete it as you originally planned. When you just haven’t trained or haven’t trained enough, what do you do?

You make some adjustments.

I found myself in this very predicament last month.  I signed up to travel to Florida and run the 26.2 With Donna Breast Cancer (Half) Marathon and as race weekend loomed, I knew I wasn’t in half marathon PR shape.  I’d been keeping up with long runs for the most part and had just run a half marathon about 6 weeks earlier with a pretty respectable time, but I didn’t have my heart into my training for this one.  I think I knew that my main goal for Donna was going to be to have fun with it.  And have fun I did.

When you just haven’t trained enough, here are some ways to get through that race and avoid a DNF (did not finish) or even worse, a DNS (did not start).

  • Change your race goals.  Be realistic with yourself as you head to that starting line.  I knew I had the ability to finish the race but not in the time I’d need to PR, before I even got on the plane to head to Florida.
  • Change your race plan.  Even though I was planning to run slower, my plan was to straight run the race.  At mile 2 when the humidity and 50 degree warmer whether than I was used to hit me, I switched to intervals.  This allowed me to keep my breathing in check while still moving forward.
  • Enjoy your surroundings.  I was so caught up in the decorations throughout the neighborhoods, the beautiful palm trees and running on the beach that I didn’t really care what pace I was running.  Stop and take pictures. High 5 little kids. Talk to a runner who may be struggling.
  • If you are registered for a distance you truly aren’t prepared for, check into changing to a different race.  Many marathons have the option to switch to the half if it isn’t full and lots of half marathons have 5k or 10k distances too.  This can allow you to still participate in race weekend without risking serious injury for attempting a distance you really shouldn’t be running.

While the Donna ended up one of my slowest half marathons, it was also one of the most fun.  I still finished the planned distance, had a great weekend with friends, and added to my bling collection – all while still being able to walk the next day.

Have you ever found yourself in this situations? What did you do to get to the finish line in one piece?

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