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Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail

Sep 23, 2015 | Running | 13 comments

I’m trying really hard to keep a positive attitude about my upcoming marathon and aggressive time goal. Remebering the quote ‘If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re probably right’. I need to believe that I can do it and run a sub 3.35, otherwise the battle is already lost.

However, there is something very different to turning up to the starting line just hoping and believing that I can make it, and toeing the line knowing that the miles and hard work has been done, and that if I run well and push through, I can make it.

Berlin Marathon medal

Recently I’ve read friends and random people’s blog posts/facebook updates about goals that they haven’t quite achieved.

I hope Adam doesn’t mind me using his recent Ironman attempt as an example. He is running 15 marathons this year, including an ultra, and has cycled from John O’Groats to Land’s End successfully, however he only just finished the first lap of the swim part in Ironman Wales. He readily admits in his post that he didn’t do much swim training, and infact had never covered even half the distance before – he was not prepared to race 140.6 this summer and didn’t achieve his goal. Whilst I would be among the first to give him a huge hug and celebrate all his achievements this year, I don’t think it was smart tackling such a massive endurance event without adequate training.

I compare this to Abi who has worked hard all year, riding, running and swimming across Cornwall in rain and shine, and she smashed the very same race, coming 2nd in her age group in her first ever Ironman! Read her amazing race report here. 

ironman wales ABI

It’s easy to read blogs by my friend Sophie who ran 100km, and took on the same Ironman Wales last year with very little specific training and still finished strong, and think we can do the same. Whilst I am not debating that some people can do this, and you don’t necessarily have to train specifically for events, fitness does translate to other sports, I think this is dangerous for the everyday athlete. I wouldn’t turn up to the start line of a marathon without some solid training behind me and personally don’t think others should either. If you do finish, I would imagine it might not be a very pleasant experience and you could do serious damage.

It can be easy to get caught up with the next challenge when I spend time with friends from Project Awesome, they always seems to be doing something bigger, better, longer, harder, or faster.

Running a marathon is a big deal. Running an Ultra is a big deal. Tackling an Ironman is a huge deal. Let’s not forget this, but I believe they should be trained for, respected and the medals/titles earned.

Good luck to all those running the Berlin marathon this weekend, in particular my amazing cousin, Lucy. She’s worked so hard this summer, training on family holidays, embracing the hills around Henley and  running further than ever before. I hope you smash it Luce!! She’s running for Make a Wish foundation if you’ve got a little spare change in your pocket… xx


  1. Hannah

    I’m sure you’ll be fine so don’t worry. You’ve done marathons before and know how your training compares this time to last time. And if it doesn’t go right on the day, although it will be disapointing, it really doesn’t matter. Don’t put pressure on yourself. You’ve got another marathon next year to try again anyway! I can’t remember reading on your blog, but have you done an official half marathon recently? That should give you an idea of your fitness level in a race. Not that I’m talking from experience, a knee niggle made me pull out of my first marathon this month!

    • charlotte

      No I haven’t done a half marathon for a while, my fastest half marathon time was actually during the Berlin marathon! Need to get one in my calendar soon!

  2. has2run

    You have really hit something I have been thinking about as well. I know that I can hit a PR at my next race, I know I have put in the time, but then there is that chance of failing in the back of your mind. I just need to focus on having a great race. Don’t compare yourself to others, you are a great runner.

    • charlotte

      Thank you, and I’m sure you have that PR in you. Remember you are often your own worst enemy and it will hurt because a PR is meant to hurt!

  3. fionajarrett

    The 2 slogans of my childhood! My mum and gran used to say these to us kids all the time and they are never far from my mind. I completely agree with you & none of these feats should be taken lightly, if only to mind your body from serious injury going forward. Not to mention how miserable it would be to run a marathon with no training done….

    • charlotte

      So true, my teacher used to say this to me all the time!

  4. Liz

    You CAN definitely do it. And as far as I’m concerned.. any distance (whether it be run, jogged, or walked) is a big deal. Whether it is someone conquering their first 5k or crossing the finish line at an Ironman.. our efforts are all huge accomplishments, and we should relish in them 🙂

    • charlotte

      Thank you Liz, I totally agree, every accomplishment should be celebrated!

  5. Jessica

    I’m getting pre-race jitters myself with just over a week and a bit to go until my first Full Marathon. I have been working hard since June but I am having some doibts even though my only goal is to make it around in one piece. You’ll have a great time in Chicago no matter what!! Enjoy the experience and if you reach your goals (you have worked so hard!!) that’ll just be the cherry on top!

    • charlotte

      Good Luck!!! You’ll do great and the hard work will pay off, I hope you enjoy it- that should be the main aim for your first marathon and cross the finish line wanting to do it again 😉

  6. Amy

    Excellent points. Really excellent points. I think being honest about preparation and race readiness is sometimes a neglected part of training. But I think it’s better to have a realistic goal and hit it than go for an unrealistic goal and have to deal with missing it.

    Good luck in your marathon!

    • charlotte

      So true! thanks Amy!

  7. Trina Noyes

    Thank you very much for all your support and encouragement Charlie. Lucy finished the berlin Marathon this afternoon – and is already talking about the next one….!
    Will be thinking of you in Chicago.



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