John’s reality Marathon training blog #1 – John starts his training programme

The phrase “better late than never” has been applied to many
things but seldom with more relevance and for as many reasons as to my attempt
to run a marathon.  Late to start running, late for most runs, late to start marathon training and late to write about it.  But timing aside, this blog is to be a frank expose of my attempt to train for and to achieve the ultimate goal of any runner – to complete their first Marathon – the Virgin London Marathon 2010 and to do it in a reasonable time with pride and legs intact!

Starting to run at the age of 50 after a lifetime of studiously avoiding anything remotely like exercise was, some might say, a little careless (others plain bonkers – “what’re you trying to prove?” they asked).  But two years on and I feel like a runner and, if I’m allowed a small comfort, I’ve started to look like one too.  I wear the kit, I use the lingo and I have that lean, drawn look that says “when can I next get my shoes on for a brisk 10 miler?”.  And although you don’t find scorched earth in my tracks at my pace, I have the Running Bug and I am in it’s vice.

But casual jogging and running a marathon are a chasm apart.  Good kit, smart-alec jargon about 10k PBs and a bit of interval training won’t get you round.  So I decided to get my act together and sort out what I actually needed.

  1. needed a sponsor.  Easy one first; my daughter is epileptic and so a call to Bex Noble, Fundraising Manager at The National Society for Epilepsy and I was up and away.  Race place allocated, bright orange NSE running vest in post.
  2. donations page. Virgin wasted little time in connecting their online financial resources and their Marathon sponsorship and launched their super-fast, low-commission donations website – register, upload pic save, launch.  Done.  (say “yes chef!”).
  3. Training Plan.  Realising a proper plan was needed, I posted this requirement on the Running Bug forum and was swiftly aided by one Choisty who with a few tweaks sorted me a 22-week plan – but more on that later.
  4. Mindset.  Running 200% of your furthest ever distance requires a positive frame of mind whatever the numbers and expecting to do it as a one-off at my age would be foolish.  I had to develop a mindset that would see me cover the miles on the plan and improve my distance steadily whatever the weather.
  5. Run.  Run slowly, run quickly, run on treadmills, in snow, in rain, run for minutes, run for hours but just run and keep on running.

Six weeks into the training plan and my target was 118 miles.  I’ve done 90.  OK I’m not perfect, but there was a small celebration during that time (we call it Christmas) and a long weekend away without the running shoes – but yes, I know, “the dog ate my homework”.  No excuses.

Coming Next: I talk about my ascent into the tougher distances and share tips on motivation; how to get your mojo working and keep it there.

You can sponsor my marathon attempt by donating


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