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I Ran a Marathon Without Training: How & Why

May 8

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go” – T.S. Eliot

Yup you read title that right…I ran a marathon without training.

Do I recommend this? Absolutely not.  This is not a “how to run a marathon without training” article.

Let me first state a few things as to not mislead anyone: At the time of the marathon I was working out 5 days a week doing HIIT workouts, body weight exercises, hiking, and yoga.  I do have a short distance background, I ran track (800m) and played field hockey in high school.  So though I don’t run long distances, I was still consistently working out. Up until the marathon I had never run more than 10 miles in my life…and that was once.


If I’m being completely honest, I never planned running a full marathon, ever. I mean…26.4 miles, who the hec would do that…right?  I had ran a few 5K races in the past but nothing more than that.

I had originally signed up for the Las Vegas Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon.  Matt signed up for the full and I was going to run the 13.1 miles and then cheer him on at the marathon finish line.  I planned to train for the half marathon because I didn’t know what 13 miles felt like and was a little nervous. So, about 4 months before the marathon I decided to go on my first run with Matt to train.  Going into that run I had planned on just doing 5 miles, that was even going to be a lot from what my normal exercise routine consisted of.  As soon as we were a few miles into running I mentally committed to 10 miles, I just had this feeling I could do it.  Once I mentally commit to something, I never go back. That 10 miles was hard, really hard.  I had never run 10 miles before.  After I finished the 10 miles (and could barely walk for 2 days) I realized I didn’t need to train for 13 miles because, hey, what was 3 more right? Plus, I wasn’t a big fan of running and looking for an easy way out of training.

After that long run I went right back to my normal routine of  high intensity workouts, body weight exercises, hiking, and yoga.  My plan was to just stick to my regular workout routine and “just wing it” when it came to the half-marathon.


On our drive to Vegas for the Rock n’ Roll Marathon Matt was thinking of dropping down to the half-marathon, he hadn’t trained as much as he wanted too, excuses *cough cough* Enter our friend Alec, on the ride up to Vegas he was encouraging Matt up saying he could do it and not to drop down. While listening to Alec push Matt to do the marathon I became totally inspired and I was getting a serious case of FOMO for not running the full marathon.

All the sudden I blurt out, “I’m going to run the marathon”. Matt just stared at me and I said, “No seriously I’m going to run it”.

And once I spoke the words, I wasn’t going back.

In my head I kept telling myself, I eat well, I work out, my body is strong, there’s no reason why my body can’t handle 26.2 miles. It’s all willpower and determination moving forward.

An important thing to know is that 4 months before the marathon I started having some serious health issues, my digestive system was a wreck, my body had a hard time absorbing nutrients, I was chronically inflamed, I failed 4 liver tests and it was not functioning properly, my intestines were damaged,  my face broke out in cystic acne (as a result of internal inflammation), and I was starting to feel very depressed, I was beyond frustrated.  I started getting answers when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease a few weeks before the marathon. It gave me hope and I started slowly healing. Why is this important? Well, as I was going through all of this and feeling a total loss of control with no answers, the marathon seemed to be something I COULD control. When I decided on that spot I was running the marathon, it was more than just 26.4 miles, it was proving to myself that I was strong both mentally and physically, and if I could get through everything that happened the past few months, then I could run 26.4 miles.

The moment I said out loud I was going to run the marathon I was set. There was no going back, and I knew I could do it. I had this fire inside of me that told me I could. It was such an empowering feeling.


Leading up to the hours before the marathon I didn’t want to do any research or hear anything about what it was like to run a marathon.  I didn’t want to hear about how hard it was, or when people hit their “wall”. I wanted to keep that fire inside of me and stay excited. I was on a full on runners high without even running. I upgraded my race pack to make it official and ignored anyone who said OMG YOU DIDNT TRAIN?!  It helped that I was also with a group of people, my husband Matt and our friends Alec, Anil, and Jaz.  It was all of our first marathons (except Jaz) so it was great having that additional support.

One thing I could control leading up to the marathon was what I put in my body. I was hydrated and only drinking filtered water, stocked up on vitamins and nutrients for before and after, and only ate clean, real foods (which can be hard in Vegas!). I didn’t focus on “carbing up” or having anything specific. Just real food.


It was hard, really hard. I’m not going to downplay that! Though the first 16 miles breezed by faster than I thought. It was mostly adrenalin and excitement. There were lots of people and distractions all around us to keep our minds otherwise preoccupied.  But then 16 miles hit. All the sudden I couldn’t breathe. I started hyperventilating. The paramedics rushed over. I felt like I was having a panic attack. Matt was there with me to help calm me down because I didn’t know what was going on. The paramedics gave me water and “goo” aka sugar and carbohydrate packets. After a few minutes I was feeling better, but they asked if they could take me back.  I actually had no idea what mile I was at at this point. When they told me I was at 16 I got excited, only 10 more miles to go! I turned down the offer to take me back and said I didn’t run this far to not finish the remaining 10.4.  So off I went again…10.4 miles to go. The longest 10.4 miles of my life. It was a struggle to finish. I couldn’t feel my legs, I expected them to give out on me at any moment, my hips and knees hurt, but I was so determined to finish, nothing was going to stop me.  What kept me going? I thought about things in my past that were painful that I have gotten through, I thought of how proud my dad would be of me, and I though if Matt can do this so can I!

Every mile felt like a thousand, but finally, I saw the finish line.  Matt was by my side the whole time, and we crossed the finish line hand in hand.  It was the greatest feeling EVER…except for the fact my entire body wanted to collapse.


Finishing that marathon was definitely the hardest thing I have ever done physically and one of the hardest things mentally.  It’s definitely a mental game. I didn’t do any typical training, I didn’t go on long runs, or eat specific foods, but I did mentally train. Our whole life is mentally training us. We go through ups and downs, hard times and harder times. Our brain and body can do more than we sometimes think. You just have to trust yourself and push yourself to know what you are fully capable of. So would I recommend running a marathon without training? No. But I do recommend you do something to challenge yourself mentally and physically. Feel that empowerment and strength. Trust yourself and your body. You are capable of more than you know.

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go” – T.S. Eliot

Who else has experienced running a marathon? I would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, and tips!

xx Kayleigh

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  • Reply Madison Marshall Jun 8 at 5:55 pm

    How inspiring!!

  • Reply Michelle Jun 23 at 7:47 am

    Oh my word, that is so amazing! I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a 5K, and I think that I have found my motivation!

  • Reply Jay Jun 23 at 8:11 am

    Love this !! Keep it up 🙂

  • Reply MacKenzie Green Jun 23 at 8:15 am

    OMG, I thought I was the only person that did this! My first marathon I trained for 6 months, my second one I mentally wasn’t there and got in gear a month out and still went into the race. Biggest mental challenge, but emotionally seeing that commitment through was everything…love this!

    • Reply Kayleigh Christina Aug 22 at 12:00 pm

      Ahhh congrats girl!!! Sounds like you KILLED it!! I’m sure you hurt a lot less when you train more, but I kinda liked just winging it!

  • Reply Carolina Jun 23 at 5:31 pm

    You are so brave!! I can’t believe you did that without training!! 1 mile for me is too many, I can’t even IMAGINE 26!! So incredible xx

    • Reply Kayleigh Christina Aug 22 at 11:59 am

      Thank you so much!! You are to sweet! Keep it up you can do amazing things when you set your mind to it 🙂

  • Reply Matt Jan 2 at 3:11 pm

    Awesome job & story, thanks! I’m running my first Marathon in a few weeks here, so… wish me luck!
    (Btw, the official distance is 26.*2*miles)

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