What I Learned by Running a Marathon Without Training

The other day, my little brother Luke came over and basically convinced me to run an impromptu marathon. Now, I used to be a really competitive runner, but my focus has not been on running these past few years. I’ve done nine marathons and over 30 half marathons in my life, but the idea of running a full marathon with no training seemed crazy. But somehow, my 20-year-old little brother convinced me it was a good idea. So, I did it! Well, part of it. I completed 15 miles, and he completed all of it! 

We got a late start, my brother almost bailed, we forgot to leave a pickup car, we stashed waters and food along the way but forgot where they were, and I overheated and had stomach problems. However, I’m really glad I did it! This is what I learned. 

Training is Important

Usually when you run almost 30 miles, you train your body to handle it. Well, neither of us did any actual training for this marathon. Thankfully, our normal workouts helped to provide a solid foundation, but doing this really showed me how much differently my body handles a marathon with and without training. Of course, I don’t recommend running a marathon without training for your own safety and ability to complete it. Though I did complete a lot of it, and felt good for most of it, I did realize just how important training is. For my own body, I think I would be able to work through a lot of my setbacks with some training. 

I’m Proud of My Body for Pushing Through

I’ve been in a battle with my body lately, but doing something crazy like this really helped me to have an appreciation for what it can do. I may be heavier now than I usually am, but it’s not all about the number on the scale. I was able to run for 15 miles, averaging about 9.5 minute miles downhill, and feel good doing it, without training. My muscle memory for running marathons, my foundation created by my workouts, and my understanding of my body allowed me to push through this difficult task and complete a respectable portion of it. Honestly, without my tummy troubles at the end I think I could have done a lot more!

Listening to Your Body is Important

It’s a lot more important to listen to your body than to cause injury or pain. I’ve spoken a few times about how my stomach always acts up when I run (sorry TMI!), so I packed some toilet paper in my bra to be prepared for that! However, having to stop three times in the last mile to battle pain in my guts was too much, so I listened to my body and I stopped. I was a little sad and wanted to finish, but my body was telling me to stop, so I had to listen. Being overheated was hard on me, and I think that’s what causes my stomach to act up. With training I think I could help that problem, but on that day, I had to listen to my body and call it quits a little over halfway through. 

My Brother is Crazy

Though he almost quit on this crazy idea, his tenacity to push himself and try something hard was really inspiring. He may be over ten years younger than I am, but I really look up to him for always wanting to push himself. We honestly had a lot of fun on our run! We laughed, made jokes, and helped push each other to achieve what we could. When we were running, he said I was a badass and that I was his inspiration for that marathon. Though he completed all of it (and then some), and I didn’t, I felt empowered. I really loved having this experience with him. Even if he is completely crazy for it!

I was SO proud of my brother at the end of the race! Not only did he complete it, but he even ran a couple extra miles! When he got done, his legs were shaking. The next day, he was super sore. But, he did it! We learned that training is important, our bodies are capable of so much, listening to our bodies is important, and that my brother is crazy! But it was a great experience. 

I’ll be sure to train for the next one! But I’m glad I did it.

Have you ever done something crazy like this? What did you learn?

xo Natalie

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I’m Natalie

Ten years ago I started out in the online world in the fitness space. I started blogging, sharing at-home exercises, and offering easy recipes. This turned into writing eBooks — one of which blew up in a way I could never imagine!

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