Preparing for the Flagstaff Marathon: A Crash Course in “Crash Training”

“I still have three whole weeks to get into marathon shape, right?”

Have you ever signed up for a race with the thought, “If I commit to that race now, it will keep me motivated to get in to shape these next 12 weeks,” or even better, registered for a race that takes place in January, hoping that you won’t put on any holiday weight since you will be so motivated by your upcoming event that you will get up early and run before you open presents on Christmas Day? I am guilty of doing this. I am also guilty of telling myself that I still have 10 weeks left, 8 weeks left, well, 4 weeks should be enough time to get back into racing shape. Sometimes it has worked for me, but there have been too many instances where I ended up trying to pack in the necessary miles in too little time. I, too, am guilty of “crash training.”

So you signed up for the Flagstaff Marathon last month with the hopes of being in tip-top shape by September 16, but you also tried to squeeze in an end-of-summer vacation, or realized that you still needed to get the kids some school clothes that actually fit, or it was pretty rainy outside so you skipped a long run or two, or ________ (fill in your excuse here). Bottom line, you aren’t as ready as you would like to be. Or, you really want to sign up for the race now (3 weeks out) but you’re not sure if you will be able to squeeze in enough training. What do you do? Obviously it is best to be well-prepared, but that is not what this blog is about. Here are some tips for “crash training.”

Tip 1: Just Do It!

Who cares if you aren’t as prepared as you would like to be. When you cross that finish line, after a nice quad-burning morning of running through some of the most beautiful scenery in northern Arizona, it will all be worth it. Plus, free beer, lunch and your finisher medal will be waiting for you at the finish line. Yes please!

Tip 2: Drop Down To A Shorter Distance.

Maybe you planned on running the full marathon. There’s no shame in choosing to do the half marathon, or even the 10K. You are still going to have a blast, and any distance on the Nordic Village trails will allow you to walk away feeling accomplished. To request a shorter distance before September 13, click here.

Tip 3: Start Training Today.

Now is a great time to start getting prepared. Put together some attainable training goals, and do your best to stick to them. #todaymatters

Tip 4: Be Smart.

You can’t fit 12 weeks of training into three weeks. Believe me, I have tried and failed. And when I say fail, I mean got injured. No race is worth putting the rest of your running season in jeopardy. Run slow. Listen to your body.

Tip 5: Lower Your Expectations.

If you haven’t put in the work, don’t expect to smash any personal records. If you can be honest with yourself, and know that you might have to run a bit slower than you would like, you can still have a blast out there!

If you haven’t signed up yet, go do it! Immediately after you sign up, go out and jump on a trail and start preparing yourself. There’s still time to get ready!

About the Author

Jesse Coddington is the owner of New Roots Personal Training Studio in Flagstaff, AZ. He has over 10 years of fitness coaching experience. He enjoys spending his weekends getting lost (physically and mentally) on the trails winding through the mountains and woods of northern Arizona with his chocolate lab Daisy, and his ragtag group of trail runner friends, or pushing his two redheaded kids in the Double Bob around and around and around Buffalo Park.

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