There is no such thing as failure – only feedback ….

It is with a heavy heart that I have to report that I have decided to defer my Brighton Marathon entry.  The reason behind this decision is simple enough – I’m just not physically ready for such a ‘marathon’ challenge at the moment.

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I was going great guns (well as great as these guns of mine ever go) until the aborted Bath Half Marathon three weeks ago, the race was cancelled because of the snow but I did the mileage on my own and didn’t feel too terrible.  However, when I began my next long run I discovered I was nowhere near recovered enough to attempt anything more than a rather depressing 5 miles (depressing because I cried my way around – my poor long suffering husband had to listen to me berating myself for all of those 5 miles!).

With only 5 weeks to go until the event (at the time of my abandoned long run) I came to the decision that my base fitness just wasn’t where it needed to be to attempt the run, at a time when most runners were 2 weeks away from tapering I had only run half the marathon distance successfully.

Whilst supporting me in my decision, my husband wanted to make sure that it was the right one, as it is such a long held ambition of mine to run a marathon.  He told me that, whilst it wouldn’t be pretty, he had every faith that I could get round on pure determination (and a hell of a lot of walking) if nothing else.  Without sounding arrogant, I know that he is right, I could drag myself round as we’ve done many silly ‘endurance’ events (RideLondon’s 100 mile cycle and a 25 mile towpath walk for instance) with not enough training, but when I do my first marathon I don’t want to just get round.  Okay I know I’m never going to win the thing, I’m resigned to the fact that I’m a ‘back of the pack’ runner and I might walk as much as I run in the last few miles, but when I get to that start line I want to know that I am in the best shape that I can be at that point in time.

There is no such thing as failure – only feedback ….

Shortly after making the decision to withdraw from the race I read the quote ‘There is no such thing as failure – only feedback ….’ in Lisa Jackson’s book ‘Your Pace or Mine’ and it really struck a chord with me.  Instead of beating myself up, or crying into my pillow at night, I need to work out why I had to make this decision and what I can do to ensure I’m not in the same position next year.

  • Procrastination, or ‘too little too late’ – putting off runs in the early stages of my training meant that there wasn’t enough time to catch-up if I had a bad run closer to the marathon.
  • Trying to run before I can walk – literally.  My base level of running fitness (and general fitness) wasn’t high enough when my training programme demanded some pretty long runs and short recovery times.
  • Aiming too high too soon – perhaps it was always a bit ambitious to say “I’d like to start running again – I think I’ll do a marathon”!  Ever the optimist ….

So, instead of focussing on the marathon, I’ve signed up for a couple of Autumn Half Marathons (this is a distance I know I can train for without it consuming my life and I have 28 weeks to do so).  If I can achieve those in a time and at a fitness level I’m happy with and (most importantly) if I can then maintain that fitness over the winter I can maybe think of a marathon next year.

Wish me luck!

7 Comments Add yours

  1. MarMar72 says:

    Good luck in your pursuit! I am not nearly at your level of running, but I also had to step back and aim a little lower. Otherwise, I will quit completely. You are inspiring others, and that is an accomplishment in itself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for saying so. Good luck to you too.

      Like

  2. mawil1 says:

    I’m sorry to hear that you have to withdraw from the marathon. I know that it was the sensible decision, but I k now from personal experience how it feels. I like your analysis, good advice for both of us! But yes it’s about getting over it, moving on and moving forwards with a spring in your step knowing that this is the best path at this time! Good luck with the new plan jxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It was a painful decision but I know it’s for the best. xx

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  3. I definitely understand. As someone also training for my first marathon, I don’t just want to do it, I want to do it as well as I can. I have a time in mind and I am working towards that time. It was tricky when my friend signed up to do it with me as we run at v different paces. However I kept to my pace during the midweek sessions and she has now decided to withdraw, I am happy doing my own thing at my own pace again! She wasn’t able to do the midweek sessions and I am finding them key to the training- I want to to spend these few months dedicating myself to this marathon to see how I do. I say it is because I have asked for sponsorship and don’t want to let people down, but really, it is for me!
    You will do it when you are ready for it!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Being able to recover for the midweek runs makes all the difference I think. I know I made the right decision and I’m at peace with that now. I love reading about your progress and will be cheering you on the virtual side line.

      Liked by 1 person

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