Pre-Marathon Thoughts

This is written primarily for “Future Me” in the event I ever get frustrated about slow progress and to demonstrate that it is possible to get somewhere, it just takes little steps every day, dedication and commitment.


On the 9th of November, 2021 at the delightful middle age of 42, I made a momentus decision to start running. At the time, I had no idea what I was in for – I'd never run before except for the odd bus here and there. From what I recall my decision was all about the upcoming winter and not wanting to cycle in the cold. So.. I was going to run! This is it! a new form of exercise! I equiped my phone with the Couch to 5K app, strapped on my Wahoo heart monitor – and off I went!

Couch to 5K - Run #1

It was hard work, although not horrific. The plan involved short bursts of running followed by some walking – repeated over 30 minutes. I remember feeling really good about it afterwards – like the few seconds of positivity when Mark from Peep Show started jogging with Big Suz.

I followed the programme diligently and in mid-Jan 2022 I completed the Couch to 5K program:

Couch to 5K Finish

That's it, I was hooked, and treated myself to a Garmin Forerunner 245 Music watch – after all – I'm an actual runner now! So what was next? The next logical thing was lets do 10k – can't be that hard eh? Just over one month later, this was checked off.

10k done

First Milestone

My good friend M convinced me to do the Cheshire Half Marathon – this was tough, but not as tough as I thought? I think it was down to the flat course, nice countryside and overall atmosphere. Or was it the music? M is a big musicphile, so together we curated a special playlist for the different stages of the run. We sync'ed the playing in Spotify so we both had exactly the same tracks as each other. This was awesome! Overall, was incredibly pleased with my timing – although I wasn't racing – it was more about completing it.

Cheshire Half Marathon

Note: You'll notice Garmin is in kilometers, and Strava is in miles. This is so I can always understand the speed difference when talking to those who understand Km's or Miles.

And so the running continued – mostly by doing the Garmin challenges (the gamification of this is fantastic for motivation) and tracking my distance in Garmin.

Marathon Planning

In November 2023, I decided I needed to do a Marathon – primarily as a personal challenge. My friend M is also a runner and cyclist, so lent me Marathon by Hal Higdon to help me prepare. My official training program started in Jan 2024 using “Run with Hal” app (to accompany the book).

My last 12 months to date:

Last 12 months of running

The training program consists of two “short” runs in the week, a slightly longer one on Saturday, and a “long” run on Sunday. These have been getting progressively tougher as the weeks have gone by. For reference, I followed Hal's “Intermediate 1” plan.

In the last few weeks, I've run two 20 mile (32km) runs, which I've really surprised myself that I can actually do that distance! Looking back at that first 5km run, my heart rate averaged at 154bpm (with a warm up and cooldown included) and my 32km run averaged at 152bpm (with no warm up and cooldown included), which shows my fitness improving over those two years.

Two weeks before the Marathon

And here we are. In two weeks time, I'll be running the Milton Keynes Marathon 2024, and I'm quite nervous. My training plan is tapering down, and today's run of 19.5km was not bad at all, my legs not too fatigued. For posterity, I have two goals in mind for the Marathon:

So often do I see younger people in my life wanted everything “now”. I jokingly call it the “Now Generation”. Well, nothing is instant and anything that has value and meaning to it, will take time and effort.

Reflecting on everything I've wrote above- I do have a sense of pride and achievement to get to this point. Pat yourself on the back “Future Me” – you've stuck to the program, and you've done well. 👍

#marathon #lifeevents #reflection