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Don't let setbacks obscure success

Just keep moving forward!

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!

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  • Thanks Lums. I've got something in my eye...
  • That is the most brilliant article i've ever read. So blooming true
  • Great article !!!!! xx
  • Just keep swimming... just keep swimming...
  • 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.
  • :-) Excellent article.
  • Terrific article thankyou.
  • Great article Thanks
  • So true :-)
  • Very wise words. Thanks
  • A good reminder to be proud of ourselves :-)
  • Love this article and it was much needed reading for me thank you!
  • Just brilliant :-)
  • Love this article. Many congratulations Soggous! :-)
  • Brilliant article Lums - and well timed as my mojo has gone hiding ;-) What an inspiration - Congratulations Soggous. Thank you both :-)
  • I needed that especially today
  • 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.
  • Wise words! :-)
  • Words could not be truer. I definitely need to tale heed. Thank you.
  • :-)
  • Fantastic :-)
  • Running the sport that keeps on giving!... Thanks for the positivity over dose : )
  • Fab writing and such a true message!
  • so true good article
  • A very good read and so true sometimes you need to stop and take stock then move forward again.
  • Hmm... Couldn't have read this at a better time.
  • Brilliant Article - should be sent to RW Towers
  • True Lums hope your friend does well. In same position as her but mine's hip bursitis. Heeding advice though :-) x
  • This is a great blog! Thank you just what I needed to hear.
  • 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!! :-)
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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.

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