Thoughts on training plans & the Great North Run

It may seem unusual to post about a race the week before race day, but I wanted to touch on something that is of great importance to me.

I am ever so excited to be racing the Great North Run on 9th September and have been looking forward to this race for many months! However, unlike other races, this is the first time that I have not followed a rigid training plan, and I would like to explain why.

Looking back on my training for Brighton Marathon, I took it very seriously; I stopped drinking, my nutrition was absolutely on point, and I declined invitations to a variety of social events that I really wanted to attend.

I don’t regret doing this, and I will certainly be following a structured plan when training for my first ultra and London Marathon. I am more than happy to dedicate 16 weeks per year to this lifestyle, as I thrive off fully committing to a set goal. However, for me, this just isn’t a sustainable way of living long term.

I want to emphasise that I think a fantastic personality trait is having the motivation to commit to goals (both fitness and non-fitness related) that require time and dedication. I know that some may view this kind of behaviour as ‘obsessive’*, and this is a comment that has been made to me on many occasions by Hortencia and others. However, Hortencia is a narrow-minded moron, therefore quite frankly their opinion is irrelevant to me.

My ‘training’ for the Great North Run has been fairly flexible and highly enjoyable. With a summer full of birthdays, weddings, and various other celebrations, my weekends have consisted of a healthy mixture of running, wine and lots of cake. I have not turned down a single (important) social event, because no race or long run is more important than spending time with my friends and loved ones.

Moving forward, if (realistically, when) my training starts to genuinely interfere with my general lifestyle, I will be treating this as a warning sign. I must admit that I do feel hypocritical writing this, as honestly, I find it SO difficult to take a step back when I have set my mind to something.

As always, it would be so interesting to hear your thoughts on this (unless you’re one of the Hortencia’s) – please do get in touch!

*I am not referring to exercise addiction here. That is, of course, a completely different kettle of fish, and there is sometimes a fine line between being a dedicated runner vs. addiction.


  1. Hi Melissa, I absolutely agree. Some races are important to me, and I will try and prepare as best as I can. Others are less so, and I will tackle them off “normal” training. For this latter category, it’s not so important if I don’t quite get the result I was looking for, though conversely a good result is a bonus!

    Liked by 1 person

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