When training plans go wrong …


So tell me …. if, as everyone says, running a marathon is more about mental strength than anything else, why is it that we stress ourselves out so much trying to follow a training plan? For months on end, in all weathers, its the top of our to-do list every single day. It’s over and above keeping the kids clean and nourished, over and above cleaning the house and most definitely over and above doing the ironing! Everyday, somehow you’ve got to fit that planned training run in and on the days you just can’t physically run, you’re as ‘grunpy’ as hell. It’s a serious piece of mileage is 26.2 miles but unless you’re an elite athlete vying for a timed marathon place, do we really HAVE to take it so seriously? and surely if, as everyone says, it’s just our heads we’ve got to convince…. whats the issue if you only managed a 10 mile long run instead of your planned 18 miles?

If you remember, about 5 weeks ago, I serial applied for the Welsh leg of my 2019 Marathon Tour of GB & Ireland but I wasn’t too worried about it, I’d got a training plan, I was sticking to it as best as I could …. and then … well! and then life happened and slapped me round the face with January, which quite frankly made me feel like I’d got to a point in my life where I needed to find a stronger word than ‘f**k’! January finally stopped slapping me roughly around the time February kicked in, when the sudden realisation hit that, having spent 4 weeks releasing genies from the bottom of my wine bottles, I was at least 20 training miles a week down on this time last year with a whole load less training time behind me.

For the first time in a long time I’ve had doubts about running the distance, my thoughts swing back and forth between deferring, DNS’ing or throwing all caution to the wind and JFDI’ing but for those of you who have got to know me over the last year or so, you’ll know that I’m a stubborn old bird and if someone says “defer” I say “def**koff”.

So on with those big girls pants I decided to make a concerted effort to start training properly and to just get round this 1st marathon regardless of time, pain, loss of limb or potential death en-route – it’s just a plod right? It’s all in the head! Being a single mum to 2 kids with a full time job and a house to keep clean I needed to make sure I followed my plan to the letter so here’s how the last few weeks have gone ….. I hope you’ll be impressed.


Planned Recovery run so I dragged my running kit into work but the closer it got to lunch time, the more meetings appeared in my diary. I valiantly batted them away like Wonder Women – but there are just some meetings that need to be attended in place of being handed your P45 …. kicking my running bag further under my desk, I dutifully attended the meetings and went home as grumpy as hell but vowing to do better tomorrow.


Taking my lessons learned from yesterday, I scheduled time out in my diary – I love using Outlook, you can even make it known that for that whole entire hour you are physically NOT going to be in the office – it tells people this, it highlights it purple, everyone can see it – but hey green pesto, an “emergency” meeting suddenly appears and despite purposely tripping over my running bag on the way to the meeting, no one seemed to notice I was already booked out on other “more pressing” activities.


Didn’t bother taking my running stuff in today – there’s always a 1-2pm meeting on a Wednesday, if I run before it, I end up sitting in front of my bosses, boss with a red face, wet hair, puffing and panting from running up 2 flights of stairs to get there on time…… The meeting was cancelled. FML


I’m training my 4 yr old to sleep in her own bed at night – last night didn’t go so well. I did more steps between her room and mine from the hours of 12am to 4am than I do on a 10k run – needless to say the energy and enthusiasm to go for a run on 2 hours sleep wasn’t there. Once more the running was sidelined and replaced by a medium americano with an extra shot from Costa


As it’s my turn to have the kids this weekend, this would be my last opportunity to get out and plod so, hiding myself away at home, I get my head down and cracked on with as much work as possible, ignoring calls, scanning emails, putting “do not disturb” on my skype … nothing was going to stop me getting out.. just a 5k … I prayed really hard to the Plod God “just give me half an hour, I promise I’ll make the time up, just 30 little minutes is all I need”. When I finally looked up from my smoking keyboard I realised it was almost 12pm – yes! I’d done it … it’s taken me all week but I could finally down tools and get out to stretch the old legs…. get in!!. Trying to decide what to wear for this long awaited plod, I looked out the window to see what the weather was doing … and as the neighbours cat flew passed my window closely followed by a wheelie bin heading towards the river that used to be a road, I sighed, put the kettle on, opened my laptop and continued to work.

And there you have it … read, weep, repeat … that’s been my life for a good few weeks now, but it’s ok … with only 8 weeks left before the 1st marathon of the year, my head is convinced I can do it and that’s all the training I need … right?

#PMA, a whole lotta luck and potentially a lorry load of Pinot – that’s all we need.

Until next time.

SM xx

2 thoughts on “When training plans go wrong …

  1. A good read Kerry and I totally sympathise. Life has a knack of getting in the way of going for our runs and it can be totally disheartening when you realise you are not doing the training as planned. With everything else that is going on, not running just adds to all the problems and difficulties. At times you have to stop, take stock, and ask yourself “why do I run?” In my case I run because I enjoy it. Training for an event (especially a marathon) requires dedicated time and commitment, irrespective of the situation (weather, life, etc) and this (for me) takes the enjoyment out of running. I found this last year and have found it again his year. Running becomes a “chore” and no longer the pleasure it should be. The upshot is that big decisions have to be made. “Adapt and change as the circumstances and situation dictate”. Clearly you have been here. Run because you enjoy it. Run because it gives you the freedom and escapism you want and need. Run because you want to. Take care and look after yourself.


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