How To : Run a Race Without Training (Mermaid Half Race Recap)

I’m never training for another race again.  If you’d like to apply the No-Train Race Plan to a future run/event of your own, here are the instructions for optimal results : *

(based off Half Marathon)

  • Your 3 longest runs for the 2-3 months leading up to the event :
    • 10 miles – 5 days before
    • 6.2 miles – 7 days before
    • 4 miles or less – all other runs
  • Eat something you’ve never tried before.  Preferably spicy & foreign of some sort (I chose Tofu Vegetable Pho drowned in Sriracha hot sauce)
  • Drink at least 2 tall beers, preferably of the variety that is sold at gas stations in 30-packs (did you know Pabst Blue Ribbon is vegan?  Practically makes it a health food)
  • Play a heated game of shuffleboard.  Win.  Celebrate obnoxiously
  • Get lost in pointless conversation with an old friend, leave bar at 12:30, get 4 hours of sleep or less
  • Wake up late, consider skipping race for mimosa brunch.  Be too cheap to waste $50 reg fee
  • Have a candy bar for breakfast (or two)

Optional : Wear a shirt with “I DIDN’T TRAIN FOR THIS RACE” on the back to make all the people you pass feel like total shit.  (this depends on your level of asshole)

Side effects can range anywhere from super-inflated ego to death.  Most of these can be managed effectively by $3 22oz Natty Lights at brunch.  (Prescription not required, an invitation for me to join is.)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I vow to never run a big $ race again.  Small races are the jam, man.  Low reg fees, a (slight) chance of placing, and free parking 100 yards from the start line.

This was especially awesome since it was 40 degrees and I got there way too f’ing early.  I sat in my car with the heat blasting (44 degrees!  Brrrr) and blew up Twitter for an hour.  Really got me in the zone, man.

Ran into Chacha when I finally pried off my sweats and headed to the start.  Her and her friends (Hi, Sophie!) kicked some serious half mar tail, and it was nice to meet another reader “in real life” because it makes me feel super less dorky about having “internet friends”.

I started at the very front of the pack.  There were only 128 runners (all women) in the half, and I figured this would be my only chance to toe the start line without getting completely trampled.

Started too fast (8:06) and was trying way too hard to settle into a sustainable pace.  Mostly because I didn’t know what that was, with the whole not-training thing.  Miles 2-7 floated around the 8:30-:45 mark.

Once the 10K & 5K split and the halfers headed out for our final out-and-back, there were points where I seriously didn’t know if I was still on the course.  I tried to keep an eye on the runners ahead of me, but there were so many other people out (dog-walkers, picnic-ers, a couple GIANT running groups) it was hard to tell who was who.  Not to mention all the completely oblivious pedestrians that didn’t realize there was a race going on and strolled 4-wide on the sidewalk.  I promise I didn’t swear at anybody (out loud).

Took a disgusting vanilla orange Gu Roctane and picked it up to 8:25ish for miles 8-11.  I felt strong and surprisingly comfortable these miles.  I’m seriously never running without having FRS & a Snickers ever again.  Miracle food.

Once we made the turn around I picked up my pace again – mile 12 was 8:18.  I picked off 4 or 5 unsuspecting victims and clocked my final mile at 7:55.  Made a tight u-turn into the grassy finish shoot (worst idea ever) and collapsed onto the lawn.  No-Train Half Marathon = major success.

Mermaid Series – aka No-Train Half Marathon

1:49.53 (Garmin – 13.03 mi)

8:26 pace

17th overall, 5th division

super embarrassed to be self-timer'ing myself from the trunk of my car

If you’re keeping track, that’s 13 seconds shy of a 16 month-old PR.  I’m actually glad I didn’t (if I’d paid closer attention to Garmin I know I could have) because the course was short and I just can’t be bothered with the moral dilemma of whether that would count or not.

I’ll save the PR’ing for PCRF in May :)

The shirts are a cute, girly long sleeve tech.  I kind of hate hoods, (because I have a giant head that they don’t fit over) but whatever.  I’ve got big plans for that mesh bag to hold lots of stinky, sweaty clothes while traveling  (which is exactly what it’s doing in that pic).  Finishers’ necklaces instead of medals – presumably a page taken from NWM – a heart with “mermaid” on one side and “run” on the other.  The only problem is the cursive font they used kinda makes “run” kind of look like “nun”.

yikes smudgey fingerprints

Since I am neither a mer-person nor a woman of the convent, I don’t think I’ll be wearing it.  Also the chain is about 8″ long.  Maybe Frankie will wear it…

Sarah Soon-To-Be

* please don’t make me tell you I’m not a doctor, trainer, nutritionist, smart person.  If you seriously try this, don’t blame me when you wind up half paralyzed or with a serious case of IBS – you’re partially retarded but at least we can still be friends?


28 thoughts on “How To : Run a Race Without Training (Mermaid Half Race Recap)

  1. Daaaaaaaaaaaang Gina, look at your go! You’re awesome. I’m a hug fan of the no training as well and eating a candy bar a fuel, but I wish I could be as fast as you. I am only slightly sad (crying myself to sleep tonight) that you didn’t email me to meet up at Olive Cafe!! I ate like a baby dinosaur since it’s my birthday weekend and you totally could have joined in on the fun.


  2. by look at your go…I meant you.
    by I’m a hug fan….I meant huge.
    I obviously need to eat more sugar and get some sleep if I can’t even type decently!


  3. That’s ACE!!! well done!! there’s a lot to be said for fresh legs and snickers – the perfect combo. Hope you refuelled/recovered post-race in a similarly inappropriate manner to your pre-game!


  4. I am still in awe that you clocked a sub 8 in the last few miles when you only ran 10 miles the weekend before. With 4 hours of sleep. WTF.

    Orange Vanilla just sounds wrong for a GU flavor. Like, where they trying to do a creamsicle flavor or something? Weird.

    Yeah, the husband was commenting on how the hood wasn’t big enough for my head – I wonder who’s head they measured when they designed that shirt?! Or maybe it’s our necks that are too long. Hey, better than having a stumpy neck. Alright, this comment is going nowhere.


  5. Wow. You pretty much should be in Runner’s World. This is story worthy!

    I love the whole drinking beer the night before. You could start a new training philosophy for all of us to follow!


  6. Great job on the race…love the recap before the race! I’m not sure what was more exciting, the recap of what you did before the race or during the race? lol!

    I ran the same course this morning, I love coming back to my old running spot.

    Thanks for adding the disclaimer, just to make sure.


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  10. Wow- I’m so glad I found this helpful training plan when I googled “Oops I forgot to train for a half marathon” and ta-dah!! Sarah to the rescue! This is making me feel much better about the La Jolla Half on Sunday for which my longest training run was 4.5 miles…I’m definitely going for the beer candy bar breakfast… will let you know how it goes!! Thanks!! You rock!!


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  14. I ran the Gasparilla Half Marathon in Tampla, FL some months ago. It was about 2am the night before the race and my friends (who had trained a while for this race) asked me if I wanted to race. Before I go on, I don’t really like running, I much rather do sprinting workouts. However, I am somewhat athletic and play sports every so often. Naturally, I said sure.( I almost never turn down a challenge) I went to bed and woke up 4 hours later. I completed it in 2 hours and 23 minutes. I was sore out of my mind for the next 2 weeks and had rashes everywhere. Totally worth it.


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  16. I LOVE no train races! I did a 25K with no training last March and won my age division. I’m also a firm believer in eating buffalo wings with a pint of Guinness and a double shot of Jameson the day before big races (like the ING NYC Marathon) because I always do my best the next day. I wish you lived in NY because I have a feeling we’d get along great.



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