2019 Hokie Half Marathon

The first wave of runners take off at the Hokie Half Marathon, Sept. 20 2019

13.1 miles in the thin mountain air –– yikes.

It’s not like I forgot to train; I just put it off, kind of. For some reason or another I thought I wouldn’t procrastinate training for a serious race. However, I did, and here we are –– days before the race and not good enough to best a middle school soccer team.

The promise of a T-shirt and a medal was worth the impulse decision to run the Hokie Half. However, I never realized the eerie realities of this daunting task. First, the race starts at 7 a.m. on Sunday, the day that Chick-fil-A is closed, which means I have to wake up well before the sun rises and run on an empty stomach. I haven’t been up that early since high school –– and back then we at least had a guaranteed lunch break.

Then, there’s the fact that you can’t really brag about running a half marathon. Sure, it’s a huge accomplishment that most people will never amount to, but it’s not like you can put “half-marathon finisher” on your LinkedIn profile. That’s like saying, “If I am employed, I will only do half of the work while bragging about it all the time.”

It’s not fun putting a 13.1 sticker on your car either; it only makes you wish there was a 26.2 sticker in its place.

There are plenty of reasons to freak out right now if you haven’t trained much either, but it isn’t impossible to finish this thing –– unless you are not a runner at all and for some reason you thought signing up would be a remotely good idea. 

If you have not trained as much as you should have for the Hokie Half Marathon, there are a few measures you can take to ensure that you only have a moderate amount of constant ringing pain all over your body. You may not be able to finish in style or with a good time –– but you already sacrificed that.

Just remember this and you’ll be fine; you are in trouble either way.

Quit the nic

If you have signed up for the Half Marathon and you are one of the many college students who uses a Juul –– stop it right now, or at least until after the race.

Smoking and vaping limit the amount of oxygen that can enter the lungs. Running long distances does this too, especially in thin mountain air. Combining these two probably isn’t the best idea. Obviously, the more air you can breathe in is better, and I can only assume running 13 miles requires a lot of air.

Sleep on Saturday night

Don’t do anything stupid the night before. If you’re really hungover or possibly injured on Sunday it’s going to be hard to even get out of bed. It may sound lame if Saturdays are your usual time to shine, but staying at home is essential if you want to make it past the first mile without passing out and gazing up at the children and elderly runners passing you.

Diet

Quit the sugar prior to the race. Stop drinking soda and stop eating ice cream multiple times a day. That’s more of a personal goal of mine, but you should stop eating whatever sugary vices fill up your fridge too. It will probably make the back of your throat taste less like stale chocolate when you run the race.

Dress up

Don’t wear a pair of five-year-old sneakers to the race, unless you’reForrest Gump or something. Buy some decent running shoes –– this will make a huge difference and could cut minutes off your running time. Try on a good pair of Asics or even Brooks if that’s your style.

Wear the right attire as well. Athletic clothing that doesn’t catch a lot of sweat will help, especially with the friction that many long-distance runners face.

Run

This is pretty straightforward advice. If you need to run in preparation for the race, please do so in the little time left. You should be able to know your limits on distance and stamina, and know when you need to take a break or two.

If you are an avid runner, but haven’t trained for such a long distance before, try to adjust by running at a slower pace and seeing how far you can run before getting really tired.

When you reach a certain point of the race, you are going to hate yourself for not training enough. Just remember that you’re in trouble either way because you have to finish. Think on the bright side –– maybe it will all be worth the T-shirt and medal in the end. It would really be a Cinderella story to tell your grandchildren, or maybe just some of your supportive friends. Either way, if all these steps are taken, you might just scrape through this race, and maybe you won’t procrastinate the next time around. 

Good luck.

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