You had the best intentions when you signed up for this goal race. Maybe you were hoping the goal race would help motivate you to get in consistent training. But sometimes for whatever reason, things just don’t go to plan. What do you do these last couple of weeks of training if you’ve not been able to do as much training as you would’ve liked?
Stop beating yourself up.
let go of the guilt and own your own training. It’s time to look realistically at what you did the last few months of training and where you should go now to make it to the start line.
Are you healthy?
If you have been courting an injury, step back and figure out whether pushing training more now will make or break you. If there’s a chance of breaking, it’s best to take the next couple weeks very lightly with running. Crosstrain as you can based on the injury, work on recovery and make the call about even starting the race as it gets closer. A DNS (did not start) is an option that all athletes make at some point or another. Any experienced athlete understand just how difficult that can be but know that it can be the right decision.
Did you miss a lot of training?
Are you healthy, but life and/or motivation interrupted? The next two weeks are a chance to satisfy the desire to still build fitness but not stress your system too much. If you’ve not run that long yet, don’t go out and run close to race goal distance of 13 miles. Aim for 8 miles knowing that will boost your fitness and you’ll still be able to complete the distance. Now is not the time to add in track or tempo runs. Keep your runs shorter and easier to keep the injury risk reduced and keep your legs fresher. There is no cramming for an endurance event.
Plan for walk breaks.
We know a lot of athletes who want to run the entire event and that is their goal but if you do not have the fitness to sustain that, plan for walk breaks early and often. You can use the aid stations (about every 2 miles in this race) as a good reminder to walk. You may need to place strategic walks more often. These walk breaks when planned are a great way to cover the distance yet still give you the break you need to complete the race.
As always, run (and walk) grateful.
Manage your expectations about the race. Be smart about fueling and hydration, sunscreen and chafing protection. You won't be setting a personal record but you can still participate and enjoy the event. Even getting to the start line is an accomplishment that not everyone will ever see in his or her lifetime. Enjoy the ability to go the distance!