Still chasing that elusive marathon personal best?

Jo Chicago Marathon

It is much easier to run a marathon in 3 hours 30 than it is to run in 4 hours 30.  I know because I have done both.  And when I say it is easier, I mean that having trained to become stronger, faster and fit enough to run a quicker time, race day didn’t hurt even a fraction as much.   That additional hour on your feet on race day makes a huge difference.  Both in terms of enjoyment of the race and in your ability to walk the next day….

So what changed for me? My training. Not in terms of time, commitment or dedication, but the type of training, the pace of training, the variety of training.  Like many people, I followed a generic training program from a magazine for my first marathon attempt.  I did the long runs, but most of my “training” was plodding along at the same pace, along the same routes, time after time.  Then I met a running coach – now friend and colleague Andy Gornati (02:39 marathon) – and everything changed.

I’m still no threat to Paula Radcliffe (my best marathon time is 03:21: 48, most of my friends are quicker) but now I train with knowledge and awareness of what I’m doing and why, and the results speak for themselves.  And it’s not about becoming a slave to a gps watch or an inflexible program – in fact, part of the training is learning to become more self-aware, aware of pace, of learning to run according “to sensation”.

I’ve learnt that black toenails that drop off in time for the summer, sore knees and blisters are not necessarily just part of “the marathon experience”.  I’ve learnt that with the correct training you can cross the finish line feeling good – tired, having given it your all, with aching legs and dreaming of that celebratory lunch – but still able to face the stairs the next day (ok, maybe not the stairs….).

So perhaps it is time that we stopped celebrating the fact that with enough determination and support from the crowds on the day you can cross the finish line even on your knees, and started promoting the benefits of a balanced, professional training program. We’re not all going to become elite athletes, but we might just go beyond our own expectations. I know I did, and I haven’t finished yet (and check out some of these client testimonials).

Don’t get me wrong, running is and should always be an inclusive sport, open to everyone – social, fun, relaxed, in fact one of the great appeals is that you can just head out of the door and run.

However, if you’re interested in taking it further, discovering your own limits and finding out just what you really can achieve with the right training, then contact us at  Or read more about how a custom training program, built around your own strengths and weaknesses, your lifestyle, family and work commitments can help you achieve the best possible results – whether your target is the marathon or any other distance.



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