I’ll never forget this one particular psychology exam during my sophomore year of college. I knew it was coming for at least 6 weeks, and I had access to all the materials and topics it would cover.

But I put off studying until it felt too overwhelming to start.

Finally — the night before the exam — it was off to the library at 8:00 p.m. with a double espresso and a backpack full of unorganized notes.

All night I crammed. And crammed …

… And crammed everything I could fit into that idiotic brain of mine until my eyes would no longer stay open.

By the time I pulled out my pencil the next morning, everything I had just “learned” was so mixed up I couldn’t make sense of anything.

You can’t successfully cram for a test — at least I couldn’t — but can you cram for a race?

How to Cram For Last Minute Training

Recently I’ve noticed the term “cram” used a lot in the running community, but it’s not a new idea.

Most anyone who’s been running and racing for awhile has experienced the last minute cram, whether it was intentional or not.

Cramming for a race is when you skip the full training cycle — which would typically last between 15 and 24 weeks — and attempt to prepare in a much shorter amount of time. Say 6- to 8-weeks.

It’s a tempting approach when you’ve been out injured and unable to train, sign up late for a race, or simply get behind and put off your training.

But you can also cram for a race within the larger picture of your training. That’s what I focus on most in today’s episode of Trail Talk:

Whether or not cramming is a good idea, and what strategies to take when it’s necessary.

Listen to the episode here:

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Support for Today’s Episode

This episode of Trail Talk is brought to you by the super cool, super fly Rock Creek Runner Technical Trucker hats. If you want to look good in a trucker hat AND have all the benefits of a running hat, you gotta get this hat. Pick yours up now: rockcreekrunner.com/store

And by the Next Level Runner program, a monthly membership site devoted to taking your training to the next level. Learn more: rockcreekrunner.com/next-level.

Author Doug Hay is the founder of Rock Creek Runner, host of the Trail Talk podcast, and fanatical about everything trail running -- beards, plaid shirts, bruised toenails, and all. He and his wife live and run in beautiful Black Mountain, NC.

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