How to have FUN at running events with minimal training!
I am a novice runner who happily just finished her third half marathon. I am not happy because I ran a personal best, my time was actually longer than in previous years. I am happy because it was so much fun and there was no stressing over it. Although I would like to be able to run a good time some year, this year I did not have to worry about keeping to a training schedule or if I was prepared enough. Marathon day was all about hitting the pavement for exercise and soaking in the cheers from hundreds of spectators. You cross the same finish line and receive the same medal as everyone else. Go for it!
The half marathons I have ran have all been at Marathon Bahamas in the tropical paradise of Nassau, The Bahamas. It is a flat course, aside from two bridges at mile 3, with much of the route bordering the coast with breathtaking views of luminous turquoise water and a sea breeze.
My run by the numbers
Restroom stops – 0
Lipstick stops – 1
Gu Energy – 1
Water & Gatorade – Every station but the last one (my bladder was full)
Watch – 0
Dead rats – 2
Orange beach chairs – 31
Official music stations (on the Half Marathon route) – 3
There seemed to be hundreds of support people with the race. In addition to the Marathon Bahamas volunteers, there different volunteer groups manning each water station, cyclists sweeping designating course sections to check on the runners, and what seemed like the entire Royal Bahamas Police force at every corner ensuring our safety and controlling traffic.
Watching the marathon front runner and the timing truck pass me when I had three miles still to go for my half marathon.
Tips for a no stress race
- Prepare the night before – Lay out race day clothes, your bag, and pin your race number the night before. Since this is a no stress run you’ll probably sleep like a baby as late as possible. Prevent a last minute scramble for your tennis’ ect by having everything ready. You will also want to make sure your race number is straight and your costume feels okay.
- Plan prerace food in advance – Wanting to minimize the usual post race sore muscles I thought it’s be a good idea to get some potassium in me before the race. The night before the race the only bananas I could find were green and imported which are tasteless. Luckily, the fruit served after the race included locally grown bananas, thanks to the donation from BAMSI, which were DELICIOUS! You may also want to think about your morning bathroom routine (ah’em #2) and try not to eat anything that will give you a surprise mid race.
- Be on time – I am the queen of being late and I really paid for it this time. After parking the car I trotted up to the start line four minutes after the start. Already being a slow runner there was no way I could catch up with the pack so I ran with a dozen other people who arrived late. Being with the pack can muster energy you didn’t know you had. I was on time for the start for my first Half and ran the first 6 miles non-stop because I was carried by the pack. My total time was 30 minutes faster that year.
- Dress to get noticed – I’m going to burst my secret and admit I don’t like to run. So when I do run there has to be entertainment. I create the entertainment by dressing to get noticed. Spectators love seeing outlandish outfits and they’ll give the runner extra yells of encouragement.
- Stretch – To avoid post race ache I stretched the night before, morning before, immediately after, and the night of race day. The body part most sore were my feet. An ice bath in a large pot did wonders for them. This year I used seven stretches recommended in the Runners World article by Mackenzie Lobby.
You can do it!
I am a reasonably fit person (heart and knees are okay) so I wasn’t concerned about injuring myself due to not training. You should consult a professional before doing this if you have any doubts about your health. I’m not bragging about my lack of exercise but I want to communicate I literally did not train for the run but I still succeeded. In the two months prior to the Marathon I went for three run/walks each three miles. Before then, my run outings were even fewer.
Diane de Cardenas is a regular PROMPT participant and has taken part in the 242 Colour Run and the Great Abaco Family Fitness Weekend, among others.