Health & fitness · Uncategorized

Why I’ve set a target time for my first marathon.

I recently mentioned on Twitter that I’d set a target time for my first marathon. This was met – almost without exception – with responses suggesting that I shouldn’t do this, and should just focus on completing the distance, enjoying the experience, and not putting too much pressure on myself. In fact, there were only two responses in support of my goal (and one of them was my coach!).

Don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t think that there’s anything wrong with this other approach at all – and although it’s not a mindset I would naturally adopt, I can see why others would and that’s totally cool. You do you and all that. I was surprised however, by the weight of opinion in the ‘just focus on getting round’ camp.

I’m sometimes asked why I run, and the first word out of my mouth in answer to this is always ‘pride’. I run for that sense of accomplishment, for reaching a goal, for seeing improvements, for proving my inner critic wrong. I’ll be proud to – touch wood – finish a marathon, of course I will. But I also know that I could probably go out and complete a marathon tomorrow if I really had to (it wouldn’t be easy of course. Or pretty. Or without walking, but I’m reasonably sure that I could do it). And with another 20 weeks of training I almost certainly could. The real challenge for me comes in trying to complete it in a (relatively- taking into account my current fitness and speed levels) fast time. The time itself isn’t really relevant here – to some it will be slow, to others fast – but it’s a time that I know I should be capable of if I train smart and push myself. And why wouldn’t I want to challenge myself? Find out what I’m really capable of? By giving myself this goal, I’m giving myself the opportunity to achieve something awesome. I’m certainly not in the business of holding myself back.

What if you fail? People ask. Well, I’ll be disappointed, of course I will. There’s no two ways about it. But I won’t have any regrets. There won’t be any what ifs. I’ll have given it all I’ve got, and I’ll know what I’m truly capable of.

And what if I succeed? What if I find myself waking up on April 24th with that coveted time to my name?  Well, you won’t find a happier, prouder runner in London. And I owe it to myself to give myself that opportunity.

So I’m taking that chance.

I’m betting on myself.

I’m aiming for a sub-4 marathon.











5 thoughts on “Why I’ve set a target time for my first marathon.

  1. Yes to this! I was exactly the same with my first. Everyone told me to just ‘enjoy it’. Well I’m sorry, but if I’m going to train my arse off for sixteen weeks I want to get the best time I can achieve. I announced a target time and people told me to forget it. A few weeks before the marathon, I went a step further and announced I was aiming for an even faster time because training had gone better than expected. It wasn’t about putting pressure on myself, it was about me trying to achieve my full potential and being honest about it. I’m so glad I did that and finished that race leaving it all out there. If I’d jogged it home I would have felt like I’d wasted that last 16 weeks.

    I have every faith in you – but more importantly YOU have faith in yourself. And if you don’t quite make it – so what? It’s good to be ambitious and stretch yourself and I think that as long as you don’t overtrain you’ll achieve a far better time by announcing a goal. Good for you 🙂 xx


  2. That is a reasonable goal. I think people suggest not worrying about a target time is because they want you to enjoy the experience without being hung up on.

    Have a target time and if you don’t make it – oh well. Plus, most first timers start out aiming for a sub 4-hour time anyway. Happy and injury-free training.


  3. Pingback: 2017 goals |

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