Magic tricks

I was snoozing away the other morning when I heard the faint sound of a text message arriving. I was in that semi-comatose state of waiting for the alarm to go off. I grabbed the phone and opened the text. I didn’t have my glasses on but I could see it was a mile-long message containing words like running, marathon and help. It was only 6.30 AM. Ugh.

A magician I am not...
A magician I am not…

After my morning coffee and taking my son to school I finally read the full text of my client’s tale. He’d twisted his ankle a month before during a race and forgot to tell me about it. So after three weeks of not doing anything he realised that his “A” race for the season, a marathon, was just seven weeks away. At this point the story I was composing a reply in my head with workouts to get him to the starting line.

The text went on that he also had a two week dream vacation to the Orient with his wife where he probably wouldn’t be able to run, immediately followed by a business trip to East Coast USA with late night meetings. He ended with, “I need you to be your professional best and get me ready for the marathon with one month of training“.

Right. Professional best.

I gave him a call and voiced my honest opinion: I thought he should enjoy life and pull out of the marathon.

Not only do I not advise running a marathon with one month of training, but he’d risk not fully present for his once in a lifetime vacation and wonderful business opportunity, because he’d be worrying about a marathon. Wouldn’t it be better to truly enjoy that quality time with his partner on the vacation? Not to mention jet lag going East, jet lag going West, and all the microbes, viruses and whatever else crawls around a 10+ hour flight that he could possibly catch.

Training for endurance events – whether it’s a marathon, a granfondo or a long distance triathlon – takes a lot of planning, time and energy. I do know a few people (like two) that can do minimal training then pull a rabbit out of their running cap on race day. The rest of us mortals need to put some mileage into the plan or else race day can turn into a death march. I can tell you now, death marches are not fun.

Endurance training is already hard enough without making it even harder on yourself. Don’t be afraid to change your running plans at any point of the game. Most of all remember that it’s supposed to be a healthy addition to your life, not a stressful one.




  1. frances
    Funny, I had a similar enlightenment moment today: an Italian marathon runner said his top tip was devi essere onesta con te stessa." You are both very wise!