On April 28th, I completed the Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon. Runners, I have a confession to make: for this race I broke every training rule I have had for myself. I logged a total of 26.7 miles in April—13.1 of those miles are from the actual race. I never even ran as much as 13.1 miles in any single week while I trained. My longest "long run" was 7 miles. I drank too much alcohol the Thursday before the race. I ate something other than pasta with plain tomato sauce the night before the race. (I ate loads of dairy in a creamy pot-pie and macaroni and cheese instead.) I woke up the morning of the race merely hoping to muddle through by running two miles then walking one mile until I reached the finish line.
Was I miserable? Actually, no. I felt better during this half marathon than I ever have during a race of this distance. I ended up running the whole time. There was not one moment where I wanted to stop and walk. I felt so great I actually picked up the pace around mile 10, confident I could finish the remaining 5K strong. Because there was less training, I did not go into this race with lingering leg or foot pain. No shin splints, no sore knees, no aching feet. I must admit that I was more sore right after this race than I have ever been after any half marathon though.
My time? Was it terrible? Maybe for some, but for me, it was pretty good. I finished in 2 hours, 13 minutes and 17 seconds. That time is only 6 minutes slower than my PR, for which I never missed a single long run.
I certainly won’t be adopting this complete slacker training regimen again, but my experience here coupled with my experience of breaking my ankle during the Chicago Marathon makes me wonder… Is less more? Are we overtraining? Do we put too much stress on our bodies before we even get to the race? What are your thoughts?
VALERIE WIESKAMP was born in the cornfields of Iowa, spent 5 years in Chicago getting her master’s degree while doing graphic design, and now lives in the cornfields of Indiana. There, she is currently pursuing a PhD in Rhetoric and Public Culture at Indiana University, Bloomington. If Valerie had any spare time between running and writing her dissertation, she would paint and play the piano. Valerie also enjoys traveling, spicy food, visiting her family in Iowa, and cooking (preferably with a glass of red wine in hand).