How to Survive a Marathon You Haven't Prepared For

*For tips on surviving a marathon you have prepared for, see this post. Notice how much happier those pictures look, and then do yourself a favor and make sure to prepare for your next marathon :)

This last weekend Jared and I ran in the Bear Lake marathon. In theory we had been training to run it for a couple months, but we only did about half of the runs on our training schedule. And with that, here are my tried and proved tips for surviving a marathon you haven't properly prepared for:

(1) Bring a buddy to talk to during the first half of the race. Even better, bring a buddy that has a better lung capacity than you do so that you can just listen and nod without having to do any talking. Even better, bring a buddy that can tell you the Latin names for every bone in your entire body. Next thing you know, two miles will be gone and you'll never get them back.
(2) Put in your earbuds at the halfway point. The "Star Wars Gangsta Rap" is a preferable option for your marathon playlist. Singing along loudly is also a preferable option. Doing the dance moves is mandatory. This marathon was small enough that only Jared was blessed to be able to see that action out of me (see 2:15-3:00 for the best dance move sampling; I just realized that it gets weird after that so I'd recommend stopping at 3:00).
(3) At some point you might have to tell your much faster running buddy, "Go! Leave me! Save yourself!" It's ok. You'll probably see him again at the finish line.

(4) Once on your own, you may realize that you are going grandpa-jog pace. You know, the speed where your arms are moving like they want you to be jogging, but your legs are going the same speed as those of the walkers around you. At this point, you will want to give those legs a pep talk; if no one is within hearing distance, you will need to speak to them out loud. They will like to hear things like, "Oh legs, you are so great. You are so beautiful, and so strong, and you have so many skillz! Just carry me five more miles, and I promise I will treat you right."

(5) Hopefully your legs will be feeling a little more spry at this point, so take advantage of that. Additional pep talks to your feet and boo-tay may be required. "Oh boo-tay, you are tough buns! I can't do this without you--I am your number one fan right now!"
^^I'm only including the official race pictures in this post because I think they're hilarious.
Feel free to laugh. They are meant to be a joke.
(6) Begin plotting out the post-marathon blog post in your head. That'll keep you distracted for a few miles.

(7) If your legs begin to falter again towards the end, you may threaten to ground them. I told my legs that they were in big trouble and that when the race was over they were going in time out and wouldn't be allowed to come out for a day. Unfortunately, I think they liked the prospect of that punishment because they only behaved worse after that.

(8) With two miles to go, if you see a couple of middle-aged women ahead of you chatting and doing their daily walking route, make it a goal to be able to pass them. It took me a mile and a half to do so (I know, sad), but the moment of victory I experienced when I did pass them was unforgettable.

(9) When you cross the finish line, realize that this victory is for you, and not anyone else. Bask in it! Don't feel sad if no one is at the finish line except for some random family waiting for their son. If your husband isn't even there to cheer you in, it's mostly ok. He probably just took the car and left so that he could find you on the route and run the last mile with you! If your husband is blessed with the wonderful heart but horrible timing I just described, and you have to wait in the cold for fifteen minutes for him to come back, you are allowed to give him a look like the one below. However, you must forgive him afterwards so that you can go get pizza and be happy.
(10) You must wear your medal for the rest of the day. Also, you must eat something unhealthy and delicious.
Despite the satirical nature of this post, we really did have a lot of fun running this marathon! Our hearts and our heads (and the six pack I randomly have now?) did great and loved the experience, even when our legs and feet acted out and were super rude. If you are interested in running a marathon in Utah, I would definitely recommend the Top of Utah marathon over this one, but props to you if you sign up for any marathon or any other race. I guarantee it’ll be one of the best experiences you ever have!


  1. Oh girl, you crack me up. Way to run a marathon! That's never happening for me.

    Also, you need to follow tip #2 and become a yes-reply blogger! Because you are still a no-reply blogger haha ;)

    1. Haha, truth! I'm really bad at that!! Can I start with this one? Because YOU crack ME up, and never say never ;)

  2. ooookay, apparently you are a rockstar! i loved this list! i seriously have been trying to talk myself in a half marathon for like...a year. i just don't love running as much as i love cycling/lifting/kickboxing so i have a hard time making myself get into running shape. any advice for me?

    1. Yes! Yes yes yes! I used to hate running hard core, plus I have exercise asthma, so I know what it's like to lack running motivation. Check out this post I wrote a while back for my secrets:

      In the meantime, I want to get more into cycling so that I can have some variety in my exercise. Do you have any tips for me?

  3. Love this story. Oh man oh man you guys are hilarious! Way to finish, and way to look fabulous. :D



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