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"The marathon can humble you." ~ Bill Rodgers
March 21, 2012 12:08 PM   Subscribe

Could you run a marathon without training? [bbc.co.uk] "London Marathon entrants have a month of training left for what’s seen as one of the greatest feats of human endurance. Yet Irish twins Jedward claim they completed the Los Angeles marathon without any training. So is it possible to run one on a whim?"
posted by Fizz (112 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wait. We're really taking Jedward at their word? Seriously?
posted by schmod at 12:10 PM on March 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Could? Yes. Should? No.
posted by Fizz at 12:10 PM on March 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


What is a Jedward?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:13 PM on March 21, 2012 [18 favorites]


Anyone can complete a marathon, eventually.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:13 PM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


If you're healthy and in pretty decent shape: Yes.
If you're not: No.

At what point in time did this sort of common sense stop being quite so common?
posted by Blue_Villain at 12:14 PM on March 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


I heard some Greek guy did that a long time ago and. he. DIED.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:16 PM on March 21, 2012 [124 favorites]


At what point in time did this sort of common sense stop being quite so common?

Probably around the point that people became so sedentary that running a marathon without training became an amazing feat.
posted by LordSludge at 12:16 PM on March 21, 2012 [10 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen: see if you can get a mod to delete your comment. Trust me, you'll be better off that way.
posted by edd at 12:17 PM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Your mileage and lifespan may vary.
posted by polymodus at 12:18 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wonder if Jedward had some performance enhancing product in their hair ..
posted by k5.user at 12:19 PM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Meh, it's been done.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:19 PM on March 21, 2012


We're really taking Jedward at their word?

If they're doing a big singing and dancing routine multiple nights a week, that's not really 'no training'.
posted by empath at 12:21 PM on March 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


Meh, it's been done.

As recently as four comments ago.
posted by griphus at 12:22 PM on March 21, 2012


Meh, it's been done.
Too soon.



I know a guy who did this, though the amount of actual running performed is up for debate. Either way, he ended up in the ER and couldn't walk for a week.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:23 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Could you make a joke with numbers without learning to count?
posted by griphus at 12:23 PM on March 21, 2012


If their songs are any indication, this isn't the first time Jedward has entered a contest without any training.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:23 PM on March 21, 2012 [4 favorites]



She's got her lipstick on

Here I come, da da dum

She's got her lipstick on

Hit and run, then I'm gone

Check my collar, collar, hey, hey, ey

Check my collar, collar, hey, hey, ey


And cue the requisite Eurovision comment and I'm clear!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:24 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Meh, it's been done.

As recently as four comments ago.
posted by griphus at 3:22 PM on March 21 [+] [!]


And with proper comment training, that might have been noticed. This is what happens when amateurs attempt the sport.
posted by Fizz at 12:24 PM on March 21, 2012


I'll just leave this here.
posted by Vectorcon Systems at 12:24 PM on March 21, 2012


Barney Stinson did it.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:24 PM on March 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


Joe Strummer ran the 1982 Paris Marathon without any training beyond drinking and smoking.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:25 PM on March 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


John and Edward Grimes were quite accomplished age-group runners in Ireland. So while maybe they didn't train specifically for the LA marathon, they'd trained seriously as runners for years.

I love Jedward. They're pure pop stars. No pretensions, just exuberance and hair.
posted by grounded at 12:25 PM on March 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


Joe Strummer ran the 1982 Paris Marathon without any training beyond drinking and smoking.

Yes, but Joe Strummer was technically a god, so.
posted by The World Famous at 12:26 PM on March 21, 2012 [16 favorites]


Joe Strummer died in 2002. Coincidence? I think not.
posted by Fizz at 12:26 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Roomthreeseventeen, this, god help us, this is Jedward. The next Vice President of the United States.
posted by Naberius at 12:27 PM on March 21, 2012


She's got her lipstick on

Here I come, da da dum

She's got her lipstick on

Hit and run, then I'm gone

Check my collar, collar, hey, hey, ey

Check my collar, collar, hey, hey, ey


OH FUCK YOU.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:27 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


What is a Jedward?

A question for the ages, that is.
posted by frijole at 12:27 PM on March 21, 2012




At what point in time did this sort of common sense stop being quite so common?
posted by Blue_Villain at 12:14 PM on March 21


Asking really stupid rhetorical questions is the bread and butter of internet "journalism."
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:30 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


It depends on what qualifies as "running". A brisk walk of 26.2 miles in a day is possible for an reasonable fit individual.
posted by gwildar at 12:31 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


What is a Jedward? --- This is a Jedward.
posted by crunchland at 12:37 PM on March 21, 2012


In other "news", I'm pretty sure Marky Mark couldn't have been able to stop 9/11 if he was on one of the planes either, but I'm not going to know for sure until the BBC tells me.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:39 PM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


John and Edward Grimes were quite accomplished age-group runners in Ireland. So while maybe they didn't train specifically for the LA marathon, they'd trained seriously as runners for years.

Yep. Back in 2009, John ran a 4:18 1500m indoors, and Edward ran a 4:24. [PDF] That's a 4:39 mile, which is pretty good. Certainly not saying they could keep it up for 26.2 miles, but a four hour finish time requires 6.5 miles per hour, which is just about half their 1500m pace.
posted by smackfu at 12:47 PM on March 21, 2012


Joe Strummer ran the 1982 Paris Marathon without any training beyond drinking and smoking.

I thought I was the world's biggest Joe Strummer admirer but I had no idea. How in the hell?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:48 PM on March 21, 2012


I was going to make some joke about how a Jedward is William Higgins' latest gay porn boy discovery, but I see from Crunchland's link I'm far too late.
posted by Nelson at 12:49 PM on March 21, 2012


Look if we're going to start listing feats of endurance that celebrities do but based on all appearances shouldn't be able to do, we ought to bear in mind that Shane MacGowan is out there, somewhere, walking around like a normal human being.
posted by griphus at 12:50 PM on March 21, 2012 [38 favorites]


Arguable, depending on how you define words like "normal" and "walking." "Lurching around like humans sometimes do" might have been a more appropriate description.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:52 PM on March 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oh my God. I crashed the cast party for American Reuinion and there were two guys with shocks of blonde gumby hair and outrageous costumes that came with Tara Reid. I had no idea who they were. I complimented one on his outfit, which had a lot of red white and blue sequins.

It was Jedward. I met Jedward.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:56 PM on March 21, 2012 [15 favorites]


Oh god now I want to see him cover "Puttin' on the Ritz."

(I will also accept Mark E. Smith.)
posted by griphus at 12:57 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some dude did it in San Francisco a while ago and lived to write about it...

"Just because something seems hard and you don’t feel prepared does not mean that you can’t do it."
posted by nickrussell at 12:58 PM on March 21, 2012


Probably around the point that people became so sedentary that running a marathon without training became an amazing feat.

That would probably be sometime around the adoption of agriculture.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 1:01 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Irish twins Jedward also claim that they have a car made out of rainbows, and that they are friends with a giant invisible blancmange. Irish twins Jedward claim a lot of things. Irish twins Jedward could probably use some Adderall.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:02 PM on March 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm not sure which is worse, them performing Ghostbusters on X-Factor (which is terrible), or the fact that it made the cut for their album.
posted by smackfu at 1:07 PM on March 21, 2012


With only 5 weeks of training Eddie Izzard ran 43 marathons in 51 days.
posted by Craig at 1:08 PM on March 21, 2012 [8 favorites]


That would probably be sometime around the adoption of agriculture.

Check out non-mechanized agriculture sometime. I guarantee that anyone who can 12 hours of hard field work a day can at least walk a marathon, probably carrying both you and me while they do it.
posted by Forktine at 1:15 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


You could always just cheat.

Rob Sloane cheated when he ran the marathon.

Rosie Ruiz snuck into her race and claimed victory.

Although not a marathon so did Mary Poppins.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:19 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


After only one week of a training a ran one marathon in 51 days.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:25 PM on March 21, 2012


Maybe they ate a Marathon bar without training and got confused.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:33 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen: "What is a Jedward?"

$20 same as in town.
posted by Splunge at 1:36 PM on March 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


That's not a "pop duo" that's a low-level Final Fantasy boss. Get that off my earth.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:42 PM on March 21, 2012 [18 favorites]


Saw a marathon on tv a bunch of years ago wherein the winner stopped to throw up probably three times in the last half mile, while never losing his lead.

Lost interest after I saw that.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 1:49 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth: in 1996 I overtrained, got sick, and 'ran' the NY Marathon in 4 hours 24 minutes. The next year I barely trained at all and finished in 4 hours and 34 minutes.

That was a lot of training just to shave 10 minutes off my time.
posted by aturoff at 1:51 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Saw a marathon on tv a bunch of years ago wherein the winner stopped to throw up probably three times in the last half mile, while never losing his lead.

Lost interest after I saw that.


That's what makes me want to run one myself some day. I've only run a half thus far in my life but some day. I mean that's fucking badass! To have that kind of willpower.
posted by Fizz at 1:52 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


What constitutes "training"? The article mentions the twins having an already very active lifestyle.

I know lots of people who have run marathons but didn't "train" for it -- but they already had very active lifestyles: cycling and swimming for their cardio, and hiking or walking for multiple hours on the weekend. You wouldn't break any records this way, but if your legs are used to being stressed for hours on end and you are in good cardiovascular shape, you could probably complete a marathon, running or jogging, in 4.5-6 hours and only be sore for a day or two.

And it's worth teasing this point out: running a marathon successfully has a lot more to do with the time you put in training rather than the miles. i.e. number of hours you submit your musculoskeletal system to stress.
posted by scelerat at 1:59 PM on March 21, 2012


Really, what's the worst that could happen? They try to run it, and their aortas simultaneously explode?
posted by crunchland at 2:02 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is all I know about Jedward:
Meanwhile, in The X Factor universe, we're encouraged to love/hate two 17-year-old twins with videogame haircuts called John and Edward. Of course the phrase "John and Edward" takes too long to read or say, so to our collective shame it's been shortened to "Jedward". Ha ha! Jedward! Ha ha ha ha ha! Jedward! Ha ha! SuBo! LiLo! Ha ha! Brangelina! Ha ha! Bennifer! Ha ha ha ha ha! I am loving that! I am loving that! Ha ha!

Let's hope this stinking world comes to an end as soon as possible. Leswossible.
posted by quadrilaterals at 2:04 PM on March 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


JEADLY!
posted by Homemade Interossiter at 2:05 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's possible but without training you'll be limping for about 3 days afterwards. I've run 4 marathons all without training (best time 4:55). When I say no training I mean absolutely no jogging, no running and just minimal walking (never more than a km or two), but I cycle absolutely everywhere. So my cardio is fine, but my knees are not used to running. As many have said need to train so you have a smooth stride and your joints and tendons can take the stress.
posted by ecco at 2:09 PM on March 21, 2012


Really, what's the worst that could happen? They try to run it, and their aortas simultaneously explode?

That is the best that could happen.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:17 PM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm on my phone now so can't look it up but I'm pretty sure Jade Goody did this very thing a few years back. I thought she said her preparation involved eating lots of Burger King but I could be mistaken.
posted by triggerfinger at 2:19 PM on March 21, 2012


Yeah, the article does mention her.

But unless I'm getting my "UK Celebrities that nobody over here knows but somehow seeped into my subconscious" confused, um.... isn't using her as a 'healthy' example.. um...

*Googles*

Yes, I was right on who she was, and yes, not necessarily a good example.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:30 PM on March 21, 2012


I mean that's fucking badass! To have that kind of willpower.

I didn't mean that I lost interest because, eww, vomit, but because I had already seen the most badass ending to a marathon that I thought I would probably ever see, and also because I knew that I would never be able to reach that level of badassitude myself.

Also, at that point in the race, he was pretty much throwing up pure gatorade, so it was spectacularly bizarre.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 2:32 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


HOLY CRAP I SAW THOSE GUYS.

Seriously. This past weekend, at the LA Marathon. I camped out at mile 24ish to cheer on some friends, and here come these two...Things. And I mean that in a Dr. Seuss Thing One and Thing Two way. Their hair stood straight up, their faces were pancake white with silver highlights, and they wore what looked like Apollo Creed's tailcoat.

I think they were doing 9-10 minute miles. What the hell are you feeding your pop stars over there?
posted by RakDaddy at 2:35 PM on March 21, 2012 [15 favorites]


Right after the Austin Marathon this year radio personality "Lunchbox" on the Bobby Bones show ran 27.2 miles the next day because "marathoners whine too much and anyone could do it." (the extra mile was his "victory lap") I'm not sure how long it took him, but I think he did it at a fairly decent pace, though it was outside of an official race setting.
posted by raccoon409 at 2:48 PM on March 21, 2012


My friend Brendan did it for his 30th birthday. Also mentioned that it took him a week to be able to walk right again.
posted by alpinist at 2:55 PM on March 21, 2012


Check out non-mechanized agriculture sometime. I guarantee that anyone who can 12 hours of hard field work a day can at least walk a marathon, probably carrying both you and me while they do it.

Sure, I'll check it out, bro.

Anyway, point taken. I meant, at the point when people began to specialize and not generally have to run after beasts all day to eat.

I don't think walking counts as running a marathon. Walking is easy; just about anyone who can walk 5 miles can walk 26 miles. Running continuously, with an elevated heart rate, is what constitutes running a marathon. Even otherwise fit people usually need to work up to running that distance.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 2:55 PM on March 21, 2012


Could you? Maybe. Could I?


No.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 2:57 PM on March 21, 2012


They cannot be [YAHOO] Serious.
posted by not_on_display at 3:21 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, it's fun to hate Jedward, isn't it?

Well, before you get too excited about that prospect, consider the following. These guys have been called talentless, and worse, from their school days and yet they still have a super-positive attitude as they continue to sell a ton of albums and sell out concert after concert. They regularly take lots of time to come out of their hotel room and meet with fans, sign autographs, have their picture taken, and so on. They are famous for interacting with fans on twitter. They aren't gay but, during a television Q&A, they took a question from a young guy saying that he was worried he might be. John and Edward's reply? "It's TOTALLY COOL, okay? YOU'RE GOING TO BE FINE." Then they went on to talk about all the "cool gay people" they know and how they love all their fans. They've spoken out against bullying in schools, including talking about their experiences being on the receiving end of it. They guest on a ton of television shows in the UK and have done their own kids educational TV series on British history. They do public service commercials encouraging physical fitness. Their second album, Victory, is far, far better than their first. Their third album is in production and they just got selected to go to Eurovision for the second year in a row. They even have a fashion modeling contract.

So here's the deal, I think. These guys probably aren't the greatest singers ever, but they've got tons of charisma and basically self-promoted themselves from nowhere into the pop culture consciousness. By all appearances they appear to by genuinely nice guys who understand that outrageous clothes and antics are part of the pop-star game. Lots of people obviously find them to be hugely entertaining. They come across as goofy but I think they're a lot smarter than they tend to let on, or that people give them credit for. I'm a fan.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 3:22 PM on March 21, 2012 [21 favorites]


Clearly.
posted by crunchland at 3:26 PM on March 21, 2012


Nice try edward.
posted by kev23f at 3:26 PM on March 21, 2012


The most amazing thing about Jedward is that people think they're thick.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:41 PM on March 21, 2012


Jade Goody is, yes, mentioned in the article, but why she's probably not a role model for unprepared marathoners is a ways up from the wikipedia anchor link above:

She did not finish the course, collapsing after 34 km (21 mi) of the 42.195 kilometres (26.219 mi), and was taken to the Royal London Hospital to recover overnight.[25] Before the race, Goody described her preparations to TV chef, Gordon Ramsay. "I've been eating curry, Chinese and drinking." Afterwards, she explained: "I don't really understand miles. I didn't actually know how far it was going to be."

Admittedly, though, agreeing to run a marathon without bothering to figure out how far you're going to be running is kind of appealingly ballsy, or something.
posted by hap_hazard at 3:44 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would just like to point out that the phrase "Despised by the rock establishment which they assaulted with every turn," applied to The Plasmatics in the last FPP, could also be applied truthfully to Jedward.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:53 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


What constitutes "training?"
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:08 PM on March 21, 2012


What constitutes "training?"

I don't know how to define it, but I know it when I see the montage.
posted by The World Famous at 4:11 PM on March 21, 2012 [15 favorites]


Video of Jedward running the marathon.

Notice that they are passing the Hollywood Adventist Church. Judging from the map of the race, they are approaching the 11 mile mark, with plenty of spring in their step, and their trademark manic energy.

Musically, I think they're crap. However, they are hyper little sons-a-bitches, and actually quite amusing to watch, in a vaguely trainwreck kind of way.

That said, if you think Jedward can run, well... I've got an even better story for you.
posted by markkraft at 4:34 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


But even though I don't care much about Jedward's music, I love to torture people with their music. That, in itself, makes me happy.

They seem like genuinely nice kids who are great to their fans, work hard, and don't take themselves too seriously. Whether they are crap music or not, that, in itself, still makes them kind of fun to watch. (In a near-trainwreck kind of way.)
posted by markkraft at 4:51 PM on March 21, 2012


MuffinMan: "The most amazing thing about Jedward is that people think they're thick."

Heh. Thick? They're twigs. Get these boys a sammiches, nurse. Stat!
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 4:53 PM on March 21, 2012


What is a Jedward?
posted by cjorgensen at 5:22 PM on March 21, 2012


Without Jedward you don't have this hilarious pic of them with Tara Reid at the aforementioned American Reunion premiere. For that, I am grateful.

(Dear God, their heads!)
posted by tittergrrl at 5:29 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


My brother-in-law did it. He never ran at all before he ran a marathon. He did work construction though.
posted by surplus at 6:02 PM on March 21, 2012


Terry Fox.
posted by ovvl at 6:06 PM on March 21, 2012


How can people hate Jedward? That's like hating adorable puppies in sequined hotpants.
posted by elizardbits at 6:37 PM on March 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Admittedly I have never heard a single note of their music but JUST LOOK AT THEM THEY ARE ADORKABLE.
posted by elizardbits at 6:38 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


oh god they are singing a medley of Wham! songs

JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL
posted by elizardbits at 6:45 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The most amazing thing about Jedward is that people think they're thick.

Well, they haven't done a whole lot to counter that perception.

As a Canadian, my only knowledge of Jedward comes from their scant appearances on panel quiz shows that I watch illegally on the internet. In that context, aside from the shiny suits and the vertical hair and the fact that, dear god, there's two of them, it seems like they're consciously angling to be the opposite of curmudgeonly smartypantses like David Mitchell and Charlie Brooker, or the living embodiment of the expression 'ignorance is bliss' or something.

Or maybe they just do a lot of ecstasy.

At any rate, I don't hate them one bit. They indeed seem like total non-assholes. Don't get me wrong, I can barely stand them--without ever once hearing their music, even--but I kind of love that they exist.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:48 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I entered a half marathon last year, spent six weeks beginning to train and got up to a 5k run, then three months being too lazy and simply playing a game of indoor soccer some weeks. I used to be pretty fit and ran seriously in high school, but that was years ago.

Five miles into the run my knee was giving me stabbing pains at every step and I walked almost all the rest. In hindsight, the way my knee gave occasional stabbing pains while walking around in daily life was a red flag. I also feel that training would have given me the opportunity to realise that the shorts I was wearing would rub against my inner thigh until it was bleeding, which would have been nice to know ahead of time.

Summary: training for a marathon before you run it is a good idea. Also, I'm an idiot.
posted by jacalata at 6:57 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've run two 1/2 marathons with a lot of training beforehand and I still hurt like hell and my legs turned into tree stumps at around 11 miles in. I can't imagine trying to do a full with no training. On the other hand, I'm older than both of Jedward put together so maybe I could have done it twenty five years ago.
posted by octothorpe at 7:20 PM on March 21, 2012


The answer is yes. Yes, you can do a marathon without training. I know this because I did this. Would you like to know how many marathons I have run since doing this 10 years ago. Zero. Zero marathons after the first.

I used to jog pretty regularly. I was in decent shape, and I decided to run a marathon because a few friends I knew that were training were doing it and I didn't want to just be a spectator. And so, I registered.

At this point, I should have quit because I already had the free long-sleeve t-shirt in my race packet. That is all I would need to show people I did it, but I poorly chose to also run the race.

And when the crowds slowly trickled through the starting line and the pace picked up, I felt great. Phenomenal. This was not bad. I was actually cruising. At one point, I looked down and was shocked at how fast I was going -- perhaps it was the adrenaline, perhaps it was the cheering crowds in those first few miles, but I felt great.

People line the road in the beginning of most marathons so that after their loved ones run by, they can pack up and zip to the end and see them again. That means that what started happening next, along those barren stretches of desolate asphalt was not witnessed by many people. It was a bit past the halfway point -- maybe mile 16 -- that I got a little tightness in the left calf. No problem, that happens. But what you do on a short run, is you over-compensate somewhere else to take the stress off the calf. In the endless, horrific race that is a marathon, what happens is that whatever you start to favor then starts to fail. So, for me, it was the right hip. So now, the left calf is cramping, the right hip is cramping...the cascade of cramps had begun. The right calf. Left hip. Then both the quads. At some checkpoint I tried to take two advil, but they just sort of got stuck somewhere inside my completely dehydrated mouth. And this all happened between miles 16 and 20.

At mile 20, I turned into a powerwalker. You know why powerwalking races are so long? Because you can do that gimpy shuffle walk a long time. I don't know what it is about that gait, but you are just sort of tossing limbs and joints around without using your muscles. I felt that I could do that until the finish. 6 miles of herky-jerky painful shuffle walk.

And then -- it was mile 23 or 24 I think -- my forearms started cramping. I didn't even think I was using forearms. And then the crusty dried salt caking onto my face somehow got under my contacts. And my thighs had started chafing so I had to curl my shorts up inside themselves. So, in a few miles, I had gone from a runner, to a powerwalker, to this squinting blind torture victim. I looked like those evil characters in movies that stumble out of the burning house when you thought they were dead...just lunging forward blindly. It was scary, but you knew it wasn't going to last long.

And then, I got to mile 26. Keep in mind, that a marathon isn't 26 miles long. It is just a bit longer than 26 miles. 26.2 miles, I think. And I stood there, 0.2 miles from the finish line, just angrily squinting down the road at the end. And I didn't even care. No rush. I could have quit right there, but there was no way my forearms could lift myself over the barricades to get off the course any other way.

And so I slowly -- angrily -- hobbled those miserable, endless last steps and finished.

And when it was done, there was no joy. Just pain. I couldn't even lift my foot up onto the curb for the race worker to take the microchip off my shoe. For at least two weeks afterwards, I could not climb stairs. I had to do this move where I pulled on my pants right at the knee to lift each perfectly straight leg up one step at a time as if I had on knee braces.

And so I thought it was over.

But then, a month later, a package arrives in the mail. And there was a photograph. It was the photograph that is automatically taken at the end of the race. And it was me in a look of sheer torture and pain. You can literally see the individual muscles, not because of my fitness, but because they were all tightly cramped into balls under my salt-caked skin.

So yes. Yes, you can do a marathon without training. However, please note that I said you can "do" a marathon without training, because the result will most likely not resemble anything close to running by the end.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 7:25 PM on March 21, 2012 [324 favorites]


Either way, he ended up in the ER and couldn't walk for a week.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug


Epainysterical.
posted by zippy at 5:05 AM on March 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


And when it was done, there was no joy.

I have run exactly one marathon. I "trained", but only did one run of 13 miles prior to the race. All the rest of my training was under 10 miles, mostly because I didn't have time to do more. Several times during the race, I looked around and thought, "What a bunch of idiots we are." I was cruising ~8-min miles through the first 21 miles when I hit the steepest hill in the race (Twin Cities Marathon, East River Road up to Cretin Avenue). I got up the hill and immediately pulled my left calf muscle, so I began to walk cursing my luck. I walked and hobble-jogged as much as I could through the next 4 miles or so. At about the 25 mile mark, someone said that if you hurry you can finish in under 4 hours. I said screw it and started to run as hard as I could given my calf pull. I got in at 3:56. My first thought crossing the finish line was, "Never have to do that again." And I haven't. Yet.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:58 AM on March 22, 2012


My brother ran the Paris Marathon on a whim, many years ago when he was in his early 20s. He finished. His feet bled. A lot.
posted by steambadger at 11:03 AM on March 22, 2012


And there was a photograph.

Pics...or it didn't happen?

In all seriousness, what a great anecdote. :)
posted by stroke_count at 12:31 PM on March 22, 2012


PICS OR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN T_W_B_G
posted by Think_Long at 1:41 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


No running for me. I always tell people I'd just let the tiger eat me.
posted by Madamina at 1:44 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I used to say that I only run if something big and dangerous is chasing me. Now I say, kill me, I ain't moving.
posted by Splunge at 2:05 PM on March 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


I used to jog, but the ice kept falling out of my cocktail.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 10:02 PM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


That's what sippy cups are for.
posted by telstar at 1:54 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I ran a marathon once with very little in the way of training in the year and a half preceding it.

It was my junior year in college. I was a member of the the cross country team in my freshmen year and at the end of the spring I was in by far the best shape of my life. I quit the team after my freshman year to concentrate on my smoking and sitting around watching TV. One of my friends from the team decided to run the Marine Corp marathon in the fall of my junior year and I signed up as a lark. I hadn't really run since my freshman year, and I used to wave goodbye to him from my balcony with a cigarette in my hand when he would go on training runs.

I did a couple (literally) of training runs in the months before the race, just to verify that I actually was still capable of running, and I felt pretty good, better than I had when I was training regularly, in fact. I still think that I tend to do best with a bit more rest than most people give themselves when training.

The marathon went pretty well at the beginning, if I would have been running a 5 mile or 10k, I would have set personal bests. It was tough to get good times at the beginning, because we started pretty far back and it was a few minutes before we even saw the starting line. We ran somewhere around a 6:30 min/mile pace through about 15 miles and I felt good. Around that time I began to realize that things were probably going to end poorly. My first inkling was terrible chafing in a very personal region. As someone who had never run a race longer than a 10k, this was something I was not familiar with, but it's apparently a bane of marathoners. I slowed my pace and began helping myself to the petroleum jelly offered by the Marines standing alongside the course. My friend started pulling ahead of me.

I kept a pretty steady pace for the next five miles or so, dealing with the discomfort. Other than that things went swimmingly and I eventually caught up with my friend, who was having some difficulty from our fast start. I slowed down with him and we set a steady pace, until around mile 22, when I hit the fabled wall. It actually felt more or less like I was running through syrup. I was jogging and walking in about equal measure and my friend and I decided to stick together and encourage each other to the finish.

I finished in around 3hours 45 minutes, right after my friend. I think that with a bit more even pacing, I could have finished in a pretty respectable time. I just felt ridiculously good for that first 15 miles, like I could just glide over the finish line and keep going into the sunset.
posted by jefeweiss at 7:26 AM on March 23, 2012


We ran somewhere around a 6:30 min/mile pace through about 15 miles and I felt good.

If this is true, you ran a half marathon in 1:24:30, having never run more than 10k, and having not run at all in the past year and a half? That's pretty amazing. It would place you in the top 2% in a lot of races.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 9:23 AM on March 23, 2012


I've run the LA Marathon four times. I "trained" for the first, second, and fourth one. I did not train for the third one. I had about the same result each time, and did not notice any particular difference in my post-race recovery time.

I'll add that I was in my mid-30s at the time. (I'm 38 now and would not attempt to run a marathon without training.)
posted by GatorDavid at 9:42 AM on March 23, 2012


Marathon story linked on kottke today.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:55 AM on March 23, 2012


Heh. This-will-be-good's story of running a marathon without training sounds like my experience running one having trained. Basically, when something gets damaged in the middle of it, those final miles are going to be awful, training or no training.
posted by beagle at 11:06 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Marathon story linked on kottke today.

Interestingly, kottke's latest redesign dropped the byline, so when he has a replacement filling in like he does this week, there is no indication of it at all.
posted by smackfu at 12:00 PM on March 23, 2012


Actually, you can tell by the quality of the posts.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 12:43 PM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


>>We ran somewhere around a 6:30 min/mile pace through about 15 miles and I felt good.

>If this is true, you ran a half marathon in 1:24:30, having never run more than 10k, and having not run at all in the past year and a half? That's pretty amazing. It would place you in the top 2% in a lot of races.

I'm with Pruitt… Did you mean a 6:30 min/kilometer pace? Much more believable. Or a 6:30/mile pace through something far less than 15 miles?

What's the point of running in a marathon if you haven't trained? So you can tell the story of course. Then again that's why many people train for and run marathons…

Try pulling off a "no training" regimen with an ultramarathon or an ultra trail marathon (50 - 100 miles) and then we can talk! Ultramarathons are the new marathon.
posted by rjc3000 at 1:37 PM on March 23, 2012


roomthreeseventeen: "What is a Jedward?"

Two (2) members of a climb of Jedwards.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:27 PM on March 23, 2012


Suddenly it makes sense. I ran the LA Marathon this last weekend, and distinctly recall running past two total bellends matching Jedward's description around mile 18. They didn't look like they were having much fun.

And that's the point. Yes, it's perfectly possible to do a marathon off no training. You won't enjoy the last few miles much, but you'll get round. Despite what marathon runners will tell you, completing a marathon is not really very hard. Completing a marathon fast is another matter entirely. As long as you're prepared to walk a bit, you'll get round. You won't go faster than 3:30 or most likely 4:00 hours, but it's eminently doable. Getting below 3:30 requires you to run all the way. Getting below 3:00 requires you to run all the way fast.
posted by momentofmagnus at 4:47 PM on March 23, 2012


Jeebus, half the time I can't even be arsed to drive 26 miles to something, never mind run it.
posted by briank at 6:34 PM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


I hadn't run a race of more than 10k. I ran track and cross country during high school and my freshman year in college (at the Division 1a level). I was in spectacularly good shape at the time quit the team, but I hadn't run (except for twice) in the intervening time, between spring of 1992 and the fall of 1994.

And as far as why I did it, I did it on a lark, mostly to tweak my friend. I suspected that I was in pretty good shape despite not training, and that he was training too hard.
posted by jefeweiss at 5:24 AM on March 25, 2012


Bunny Ultramod: Oh my God. I crashed the cast party for American Reuinion and there were two guys with shocks of blonde gumby hair and outrageous costumes that came with Tara Reid. I had no idea who they were. I complimented one on his outfit, which had a lot of red white and blue sequins.

It was Jedward. I met Jedward.


I am so sorry.

Craig: With only 5 weeks of training Eddie Izzard ran 43 marathons in 51 days.

Wow, even your comedians are badass. Serious props to Eddie Izzard for doing that and raising awareness for a cause (rather than purely as a publicity stunt).

The Ghostbusters video posted above was incredibly bad. I'm sure John and Edward are nice guys, but what's frustrating is the knowledge that there are more talented singers out there who don't get the time of day just because they don't look like these kids or know how to promote themselves.
posted by misha at 9:56 AM on March 28, 2012


You shouldn't really get frustrated since that is the whole point of the show, about finding someone with the "X-Factor", aka, what makes some people popular and likable and stars, and other equally talented people forgettable and backup singers or choir members at best. The X-Factor is certainly not just singing ability.
posted by smackfu at 10:00 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


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