Can I Run 26.2 Miles For Fun?

Paris Marathon in 9 days.

Brighton Marathon in 23 days.

And right now the last thing I feel like doing is running, let alone for 26.2 miles.


It’s safe to say I really haven’t been committed to this training cycle. Up until March 4th I was hitting all my long run targets but the midweek stuff…well, it just wasn’t happening. The hill sessions, speed work, tempo runs; all the stuff that makes you fitter, faster and stronger so you can cope with the rigours of 42,000 steps in quick succession, I just wasn’t doing it. I couldn’t get excited about it, any of it, and I think that was because it was always part of a larger plan that had me concerned. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t enjoy a run just on its own merits, I was always thinking about how it fitted in to the bigger picture, and it became harder and harder to force myself out the door to get the training done. Running wasn’t about having fun any more it was a depressing means to a terrifying end.

When I signed up to Paris I was coming off the back of a marathon PB at Edinburgh and my first ever ultra a few weeks later. I was buzzing; fit, fast and excited about running long distances. Then I got injured, my back went, and for 2 months I wasn’t running at all. As soon as I was cleared to run again I signed up for Brighton, figuring if I was marathon fit at the start of April it would be a shame to miss the opportunity to use that stamina in mid April as well.


But the truth is that coming off the injury list and straight in to a prescriptive running plan with a huge end goal, and starting from a long way behind where I thought I’d be, I’ve never given myself a chance (or permission) to just enjoy running again…

…until now.

I’m still going to Paris. I’ve never been and I’m excited to see a bit of the city and spend time with some great people. When I line up on Sunday morning though I’ll be aiming for nothing more than a finish and I don’t care what combination of run, walk and crawl it takes to get me round. I’ve heard that in the last few miles of the Paris marathon locals hand out wine and cheese…I fully intend to cross the finish line but fully expect to do it drunk with cheese hiccups! Now I’ve accepted this is the best I can hope for it takes all the pressure off and I can start to look forward to it again!

And as for Brighton…I haven’t paid out for a train ticket yet, so let’s see how I feel after Paris. If I can happily take 5 hours to finish a marathon then maybe I’ll head to the coast, but the desire to test myself by doing the double is no longer there, so I’ll commit to that second marathon when the time comes.


So, I’d better dig out my passport, pack my nipple tape and some lycra and head to the land of vino et fromage, guidebook at the ready!


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2 Responses to Can I Run 26.2 Miles For Fun?

  1. Glenda Gill says:

    The very best of luck and love to you James. A similar thing happened to me in the weeks before Seville. I’d been ill and my head just wasn’t in the right place. Got to half way having just been cheered on by my nearest and dearest and had absolutely nothing left in the tank. I just could not run, my energy levels were at zero. So…. I switched off the Garmin and knew that this was even more than ever a mental race now not a physical one. I set the Garmin to 2 mins run 2 mins walk and I can tell you those 2 mins running were really hard work. I had to force myself to push to 2 minutes and boy did I welcome and need the 2 minute walk. Surprisingly because I had given myself permission to walk I really enjoyed the second half. I had the opportunity to talk to other runners and spur them on. Although it ended up a personal worst marathon by half an hour it actually renewed my live of distance running. It is about so much more than the time it takes you. That really doesn’t matter. We all run exactly the same 26.2 miles and cross the same start and finish line. It’s the journey that makes it a marathon x x

  2. says:

    We’ll be in paris also for marathon and parkrun Best, Laurent

    Typos by iPhone

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