Some days it is hard to get out the door. A family lunch and a couple of pints. A windy, overcast afternoon. Cold temperatures, sore feet, you name it, the dark thoughts are there. With the marathon looming ever larger and the seeds of doubt start to creep in during these moments. I’ve no doubt that I’ll finish it, but I can’t help myself when I’m out pounding away in the dark;

“This is a tenth, that bit I’ve just done, I’d have to do another 10 times” etc.


In among the darker thoughts are the ones worth finding. I’ve never been a fan of running. Always had a podcast or a tune to listen to, but more recently I’ve been running without anything. I find my mind wandering all over the place. Tonight brought two keepers. Firstly an old Tony Robbins trick, a mantra in time with my pace. Think along the lines of “1,2,3,4..what is all this training for” etc. I won’t share the embarrassing chant I came up with, but it worked.

The second was the clarity about what I’m trying to do. The marathon, the Ironman, then the ultras which I’d love to move on to next year. It’s not about times. It’s not about records, it’s about completion. I’ve spent a while trying to piece together the timings, the pacing I need etc to hit my targets but tonight that all disappeared. Sure, getting a great time would be awesome but it doesn’t matter. I’m never going to get to Hawaii and the Ironman championships, truth is I don’t want to. Competition isn’t the fire the burns, it’s achievement. Now I’ve got that clear I can get on with training.

The final lesson tonight was much more practical. Having left with a headache and no desire to run, I’d picked a route in my head that ran down some dark roads, intention being to run under the starlight in clean air to help find my mojo. What I hadn’t accounted for was how dark, dark can be. My  chosen road was as black as Captain Blackbeard’s black eye on a dark night. I had to turn back for fear of turning an ankle in the pitch black. I need a head torch…suggestions welcomed.

Oops, better turn back