Don't let setbacks obscure success

by Lumsdoni

This weekend, a good friend of mine will run her first marathon. It's a wonderful achievement for any athlete but it is unlikely to be the experience she imagined when she decided to enter it.

When she entered this marathon, she was fresh off the back of a half marathon personal best, running around 1:45 on a fairly challenging course, and full of positivity and determination. For her, a marathon seemed like the obvious next step. The next step in a long journey. When she first joined the running club nearly two years previously she was only able to run for a couple of minutes at a time, and was 50lbs heavier. Now, she helps run the club and has helped inspire a great number of others, not just to run, but to enjoy running.

With the marathon entered, she trained, and she trained hard. In all weather, building that ever-important long run up past 13, 15, 16 and 17 miles. Then she picked up a knee injury which hampered the 18 mile run. Not one to accept defeat she adjusted her training, including walk breaks to minimise the stress on the knee and eventually tackled the longest training run of 20miles.

Her knee developed a lot of pain and trips to the physio brought instructions to rest totally. Three weeks later with the big day rapidly approaching, she was worried, feeling like she had to complete the race having raised a few hundred pounds for charity. We found a compromise, and she has changed all her plans to include even more bouts of walking and to run at a sensible speed and respect what her body is telling her.

The hardest part of marathon training is undoubtedly the training - the relentless drain on your time and energy if you let it, the need to watch what you eat, get plenty of sleep, fit in three hour (and sometimes longer) runs, and somehow do your job and raise a family.

By the time you're on the start line, the only thing you have to do is keep going forward - do that and you will finish. It may not be as quickly as you want, but you will do it.

Whatever the outcome I hope my friend will recognise the huge changes she has made in her life and therefore the success she has already gained. The organisation, determination, focus and dedication required to get to the start line have inspired others, improved her health and totally transformed her appearance. By recognising just how far she has come, hopefully it won’t seem quite so far to go on the day and she can try to enjoy the feeling of what she is achieving without the pressure of arbitrary time goals.

How many of you have ever lost a stone or so and then beat yourself up because you put one pound back on? All too often I hear people focus on that one awful pound that has blighted their life, and not on the great achievement of the other 13 pounds.

So if you're bemoaning a recent setback, or plateau in your training, remember what you have already achieved and the skills you used to achieve it. Then use those skills to adjust what you're doing if necessary, and just... keep... moving... forward!

Please help the site by sharing:


  • Thanks Lums. I've got something in my eye...
    Soggous 2:32pm, 12th November
  • That is the most brilliant article i've ever read. So blooming true
    Night-owl 2:35pm, 12th November
  • Great article !!!!! xx
    Tri girl 2:47pm, 12th November
  • Just keep swimming... just keep swimming...
    Discovery Dave 2:49pm, 12th November
  • I think many of us forget the importance of giving ourselves recognition for what we have already achieved so far.

    It's nice to stop and take a look every now and then and say 'Actually well done me' before marching onward.
    Max71 2:49pm, 12th November
  • :-) Excellent article.
    Garfield 3:30pm, 12th November
  • Terrific article thankyou.
    HermanBloom 3:46pm, 12th November
  • Great article Thanks
    jaks 3:53pm, 12th November
  • So true :-)
    SWIMBIRD 3:55pm, 12th November
  • Very wise words. Thanks
    The Scribbler 5:03pm, 12th November
  • A good reminder to be proud of ourselves :-)
    jude 6:28pm, 12th November
  • Love this article and it was much needed reading for me thank you!
    Kato 7:26pm, 12th November
  • Just brilliant :-)
    Clueless 10:49pm, 12th November
  • Love this article. Many congratulations Soggous! :-)
    Kittenheels Kath 1:08pm, 13th November
  • Brilliant article Lums - and well timed as my mojo has gone hiding ;-) What an inspiration - Congratulations Soggous. Thank you both :-)
    Wombling Plodder (Welsh Womble) 2:24pm, 13th November
  • I needed that especially today
    Phoenix Lesley 5:40pm, 13th November
  • A brilliant article it is so true what you say about not letting a little setback get in the way of the overall goal. WELL DONE to you for sharing this very insightful article your friend for continuing to overcome and adapt and to all of us who have been in a similar situation. I'd love to do a marathon (well ultra) but I know it would be fitting in the training that stops me you may have just helped nudge me in the direction of giving it a go overcoming and adapting my lifestyle to suit. Thank you.
    geordiegirl 7:06am, 14th November
  • Wise words! :-)
    MarkC 9:21am, 14th November
  • Words could not be truer. I definitely need to tale heed. Thank you.
    Steady as she goes 6:47am, 15th November
  • :-)
    Lorraine 11:26am, 15th November
  • Fantastic :-)
    GuyG 9:12pm, 16th November
  • Running the sport that keeps on giving!... Thanks for the positivity over dose : )
    Darting 8:35am, 17th November
  • Fab writing and such a true message!
    Cuddy 3:20pm, 17th November
  • so true good article
    RFJ 5:32pm, 17th November
  • A very good read and so true sometimes you need to stop and take stock then move forward again.
    philbo 8:35pm, 18th November
  • Hmm... Couldn't have read this at a better time.
    RunningRonnie 11:20am, 27th November
  • Brilliant Article - should be sent to RW Towers
    Mick n Phil ( OBE ) 10:40pm, 27th November
  • True Lums hope your friend does well. In same position as her but mine's hip bursitis. Heeding advice though :-) x
    oldbiddynandi 8:40pm, 2nd December
  • This is a great blog! Thank you just what I needed to hear.
    Kato 5:30pm, 14th February
  • This all sounds very familiar! I'm struggling with exactly the same thing - 2 weeks off running due to a knee injury now with just 6 weeks to go until my marathon. I was thinking I couldn't make it but I'm starting to reconsider.... Thank you!! :-)
    TheBookFairy 3:49pm, 6th March
You need to log in to leave a comment.
Please help the site by sharing:
Pictured above is Rwandan mountain biker Adrien Niyonshuti. Despite struggling in the race, he stuck to his task, finishing 39th out of 42 finishers in a field of 50, at the Men's Olympic mountain biking. Thanks to *Anj* for the picture.

Lumsdoni aka Pete Luxford is a Personal Trainer working in the Letchworth, Baldock, Hitchin, Stotfold and Biggleswade area - he's been running for 7 years. He strongly believes that everyone can run, but that many of us don't know how to start. He's dedicated to making everyone feel welcome, regardless of ability... find him at

Lums' friend is Soggous and I'm pleased to say she finished her marathon in 4hrs58. She took things steady with 12/13-min miles until mile 21, then ran the last five miles in 55 minutes! Congratulations Soggous on your first marathon - read her marathon blog here.

Share This Article

Trainer Mileage

Becoming The Iron You

An analysis of training volume for long distance triathletes

Extremely Useful Threads

Training tip truffles from the Fetch forum

Being Below Average

And why it doesn't hurt one bit.

Marathon Checklist

Any Way The Wind Blows

The impact of wind on running pace

Fetch Gets Mobile!

In your pocket wherever you go!

Beginners Programme

Who can you inspire this year?

Leadership in Running Fitness

My day at the British Athletics course

A Very Important Date

Eat this! Make running bigger!

Connect your Garmin device

Automatically import your training

Steve Way Made Me Quit!

Don't let genetics beat you!

Propensity for Intensity

Measuring the effort that makes up each training session

Becoming a Race Director

First steps to organising a race

Bending The Ruler

Guidelines for race time prediction

The Wait Begins...

Tackling spring marathons together!

Mission Control: 10K

Training with added hindsight

Be Your Own Boss

Run it up the flag pole, and see who salutes!

Pesterers vs Lazybones

Listen up you worthless maggots!

Eight Ways To Help Fetch Everyone

Free things you can do to help the Fetch community