Knowing how hard to push is always something I’ve struggled to get my head around. I’ve mentioned before I’m a voracious reader so the tales of pushing beyond limits really resonate with me. They resonate then I immediately hit the safety switch that tells me to ease off. By ease off I mean, completely lose faith in my ability to do this thing.

I’ve got a marathon in 6 weeks that I haven’t trained nearly enough for. I’ve also got a niggling back issue. Every now and then an innocuous little twist or bend sends a shooting pain through it and leaves me struggling to bend over.

The Dave Scott/Mark Allen* gene in me says go for it. Then I realise I don’t have that gene and I have a cuppa and a bag of crisps. I’m in that 2 week period post twist where things still hurt. I’ve scaled back everywhere so I’m not getting the miles in.

I’ve grown to like running when I can do it. What I don’t like is the initial step out the door when I know something hurts. I could be setting myself up for a weekend of Naproxen and morphine, with the added bonus of the emergency room doctor checking my hydration by putting his finger where the sun doesn’t shine. And I don’t mean Bracknell.


'I'm still waking up OK, but recently I haven't been smelling the coffee.'
‘I’m still waking up OK, but recently I haven’t been smelling the coffee.’


So how far should you push yourself. A dull pain is ok, a sharp pain should be rested? Knowing your body is a key to this, but given I’ve never committed to something so large means I don’t actually know my body!

So the question is, do I write off the marathon. I’ve not trained nearly enough, over two weeks of various injuries has put paid to the good intentions.  Do I do the marathon and take it easy, enjoy the sites and roll a 5-6 hour time just to know I can before the ultimate test at the Weymouth Ironman later this year?  Or do I cancel it and restart my focus on the build phase for September?

I guess I should stop reading about the superheroes of the sport and just get on with doing what I can and resting properly when I can. That and do some core exercises and accept that swim, bike, run isn’t the reality of it.

It should be re branded,

swim, bike, run, eat, sleep, core exercise, stretching, mental focus.

See, that’s much more catchy.


*If you are interested, I was putting off reading Iron War as I had been more interested in the detailed training books of Fink et al. Iron War is fantastic if you want to read about human endurance and the mental side of it. Well recommended. (Feel free not to buy it though the link but if you do thank you!)