Running Ultra Marathon Without Training – By the time you’ve Googled “run a marathon without training,” you’ve either ambitiously signed up for a race, then life or injury got the best of you (in which case, my deepest condolences) or you’ve wanted to run a marathon but haven’t actually want to train for one (in this case, please don’t).
But if you’re stubborn in the unique, steadfast way most of us runners are (it comes in handy at mile 24), then you’ll need more convincing. Also, there is a big difference between not practicing
Running Ultra Marathon Without Training
Here’s what you need to know if you find yourself in a Google black hole, wondering if you should subject yourself to the real torture of running 26.2 miles without proper training.
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We don’t like where this question is going, but it’s valid. “Marathon training looks different for everyone,” says Kellilyn Fierras, certified running coach and head coach at EverybodyFights in Boston. “Some people manage to run three times a week while others do better running six days a week, so keep in mind that marathon training can vary depending on your current fitness level, schedule, past injuries, medical conditions and so on.”
So don’t feel bad if you’re only running three times a week—not six like your training buddies or those 50 percent annoying/50 percent inspiring Instagram influencers—and progress in your long run.
This also means that a cyclist or swimmer with a solid endurance foundation will have an easier time running a marathon without officially “marathon training” than, say, someone who just started exercising yesterday. “Anything that gets your heart rate up for a long period of time will help your endurance,” says John Honerkamp, a running coach who works with Strava and celebrities like Karlie Kloss and is the CEO of Run Kamp, a training company based in Los Angeles. in New York. “I had a coach who would say that your heart doesn’t know if you’re running or swimming.”
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That said—and you knew this was coming—you still need to really train for the marathon. “Like any event, you have to practice the sport you practice,” Honerkamp said. Just look at triathletes who are legitimate cyclists and runners but look like fish on land once they jump in the pool. Not all sports are the same.
“If your legs aren’t used to running, the marathon probably won’t end well for you,” says Honerkamp. “The idea is to gradually hit your muscles, joints and ligaments in training, so your body isn’t shocked on race day.” Time spent walking, actually running outside like you would during a race is very important.
Used to running but you’re dealing with an injury, cross training can definitely help you get to the start and finish line. “I’ve had injured runners spend weeks cross-training (cycling, swimming, etc.) and still run and finish a marathon,” says Honerkamp. Meaning, there is still hope for you if you have experience and commitment.
Honerkamp states that you should train for 16 to 20 weeks if you are new to the sport; eight to 10 weeks if you are fit enough and already walk regularly. “That said, I ran Boston on six weeks’ notice—it wasn’t pretty and it hurt a lot, but I did it.” (Warning: He does this for a living! We don’t recommend this.)
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In terms of your weekly minimum, Fierras says you should run at least two or three times a week, focusing on distance and recovery runs, and you should be able to run at least three hours straight by the time the marathon comes around.
Keep in mind that your long runs shouldn’t be more than 22 miles during training, so if you’ve run 18 to 20 miles and feel pretty good, you’re probably not in as bad shape as you think.
And it’s okay to miss a run here and there: “If you’re sick or running isn’t possible, then rest is best, and tomorrow is a new day,” says Fierras.
It won’t be fun. Period. “You can fake a half marathon, but you can’t fake a full marathon,” Honerkamp said. “The body really breaks down after 13 miles, so you have to train your mind and body to run past their comfort zone and to push when you’re tired.”
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You’ll also need to prepare a fire-generating strategy and walking plan (if that’s your choice), as well as build your mental strength—or risk stomach aches, GI issues, major crashes, and general misery. “Training for a marathon is a different ball game that requires time, effort, dedication, and motivation,” says Fierras.
Other consequences can be severe and long-lasting. “Be prepared for a long and painful recovery if you don’t train properly,” says Fierras. “Running a marathon without training can land you in the hospital and cause muscle strains, stress fractures, and long-term joint damage.”
Basically, if you’re constantly injured, tired and sore—and you’re barely hitting your mileage goals—it’s time to reevaluate your race registration. “You don’t want to risk a major injury that prevents you from running or doing any other activity you love for an extended period of time,” says Honerkamp. “It’s not worth it.”
He’d rather you drop out of an upcoming race if it means signing up for a race you’ll be better prepared for later. “Running a marathon without training will likely make you so miserable that you never want to run again,” he says, “and I’d rather you run a great race, fall in love with the sport, and come back for more.” That’s because, while running a marathon can be brutal, it can also be incredibly beautiful—the difference is in your training.
Chip Time In Running Races
Kiera Carter has a decade of experience covering fitness, health and lifestyle topics for national magazines and websites. In a past life, she was the executive digital editor of Shape and has held staff positions at Fit Pregnancy, Natural Health, Prevention and Men’s Health. Her work has been published by Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Travel + Leisure, and more. He spends his free time boxing, traveling and watching any movie or show with a strong female lead. He is currently based in New York.
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Maybe your half marathon was canceled so you didn’t interrupt training, but now your scheduled marathon is coming up and you’re wondering if it’s not too late to give it a shot.
The best advice I can give you is don’t do it. Go back and do the marathon again after you’ve had time to train properly.
Don’t run a marathon without training! There are so many risks and negative effects involved. In the end, you’ll thank yourself for putting off your marathon until you’ve trained adequately for it.
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The list of risks is long, but the risks of running a marathon without training can be categorized into 2 groups:
You will also most likely have a rather miserable marathon experience. . . you are almost destined to hit the wall.
Dr. Dylann Craig, physical therapist and RRCA-certified running coach at Impact Physical Therapy, has seen too many patients as a result of runners who are not prepared for marathon training.
“Running a marathon is a physically demanding task and usually requires a structured period of training. The duration of this training is highly dependent on the level of expertise of your runner.
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A beginner runner, someone who has been running for less than a year or less than 20-25 miles per week, usually needs about four months of training. Experienced runners can run with less depending on their current cardiovascular capacity and previous running history.
I usually recommend that a new runner should average at least 30 – 35 miles a week for about 6 weeks before entering a race. If you can’t reach that amount each week, you should continue to increase your capacity before starting a formal marathon training plan.
When clients try to run a half or run a marathon without training properly, they usually land in my clinic with some type of injury. The most common distance running injuries I see are:
These injuries usually put runners in a vicious cycle that is hard to break – they get better and instantly
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