Marathon Training: Week 5

Updated: Mar 24

How did your first time trial go this week?

In Duncan’s words:


“I took 52 minutes for my Lake Hayes loop, which was pretty slow I guess? I pushed myself a little on the flatter parts but walked much of the uphill sections as I still don’t have the strength in my legs.”


The whole idea of the time trial is to use it as a measure of improvement over the weeks. A slow first T.T. with some walking in it is totally fine. In fact it’s expected, and he can look forward to steady improvement on that as a mini-goal.


In addition, Duncan not only stuck to the schedule, but felt so good that he lengthened a couple of his shorter sessions.


Use the research on successful goal-getting.

How do winners do it?


You’ll be able to recall many successful people who consistently achieve their goals. Sports teams, business people, and also yourself! There are some areas in each of our lives where we’re very successful at making sure we get what we set out to do.


Conversely, there will be some areas of our lives where we wished we could get what we aimed for more often, and you can also recall examples of repeated failure at goals for others in the world, in business, sport etc.


Great new research shows, that by studying and modelling the habits of successful people and the strategies we ourselves use when we’re successful, we can copy and adapt our approach to be more successful in areas we’ve previously failed at.


This accelerated learning can be applied to your marathon goals to substantially increase the chance of you succeeding, (or even bettering your goal!)


Four of the main strategies of successful people:


1. Choose goals that are truly inspirational.

Goals don’t have to be outrageous, it’s more about goals that are deep-down powerful to you. The sort of things that raise the hairs on the back of your neck and give you goose-bumps. The sort of things that link profoundly to your values in life. They align with your purpose on the planet, or your mission in life. You’ll be able to recall successful people, maybe your heroes, and notice that sense of purpose they have, the sense that they are part of something bigger than themselves. Imagine the drive and motivation with which they tick off their goals, and copy that for yourself.


To juice-up your marathon goal, I suggest making a list of 8 to 10 values you live your life by, the bullet-point list of sage advice that a wiser, older you would pass on to grand-children.


Common examples of these sorts of core values are:

  • Be a good role model to my family

  • Make the most of every opportunity and have no regrets

  • Live with integrity

Then write a sentence for each of your core values, to link how achieving your goal in the marathon supports and strengthens these core values.

2. Determine the difference

Be really clear on all the ways that things will be different. Not just the physical things, but also how you will be “being” different.


You might have heard the adage “the definition of insanity, is doing the same things but expecting different results”?


How exactly will you be different in how you’re acting, behaving, going about things on the journey to these exciting new results in your life? Notice the difference between old and new behaviour, but then focus on the new, positive version of you and your way of being.


How different is your diet? Your Friday night? Your wardrobe of smaller clothes?


How will you be talking differently to people (perhaps with a sparkle in your eye?), and the topics of conversation?


What sorts of new sensations will you be feeling? The refreshing cool wind as you train, perhaps some rain? Some snow? How will it feel to be super fit? What sort of things will people be commenting on?


Apply the same sorts of questions to how will things be different in the weeks, months and years after you’ve achieved it?

3. Powerfully word your goal

The way you word it makes a big difference. It’s more powerful to enrich your written goal by adding some description about how you’ll do it.


For example,

“Finish the marathon in under 5 hours.” Could be boosted up to:

“Cross the finish line, punching the air with excitement, in 4 hours 50 minutes!”


You can make your own powerful version. Make sure you have your “elevator pitch”, ie a sentence like the one above that you share with your mates when they ask what you’re up to.


Notice also that I converted “under 5 hours” to a figure with 4 hours in it. Research shows that this is very useful because the number you see on the clock at the finish line needs to have a 4 in the hour for you to have achieved your goal. Help your subconscious to create your reality the way you want it!

4. Richly remind yourself

Put motivational reminders all over the place.


Not just your goal written on a piece of paper on the mirror, but add really cool and thoughtful motivational memory boosters to yourself. Eg a screen saver picture that inspires you, change your wake-up smart-phone alarm to a motivational theme song to get you out the door running, print off a picture of a champion runner and glue your face on it… stick it on the fridge. Give your running shoes pride of place, stored in view, ready for action at a moment’s notice. You get the idea, go over-board with this one!


Perhaps most importantly, share your goal with people around you. They need to understand how important this is to you, they’ll treat you differently, they’ll ask how your training is going, and make “space” for this change to happen. Even more powerfully, you might be able to get your family to come with you on some of the runs, eg, your kids could ride their bikes with you on the recovery days.


It’s about making it reality, acting “as if”.

I’ll cover some of the other strategies in future columns, and you can also have a session with me if you want more advanced help. For now, invest time wisely by applying the above to your marathon goals and other important goals in your life. Notice how much more motivated you feel already!


Week five training schedule:

We’re gradually converting the walking to jogging and increasing our time training.


Thursday 17th July

40 mins; walk 10 mins, jog 25 mins, walk 5 mins. Small hills.


Friday 18th July

Rest day


Saturday 19th July

Warm up 10 minutes with brisk walk or easy jog.

Time Trail Course - See if you can go a tiny bit quicker than last week.

Warm down 10 mins walking.

Record your time, ideally start a graph


Sunday 20th July

Walk / jog 50 mins at a conversational pace (Easy-Medium)


Monday 21st July

Rest day (optional swim or bike or yoga or gym 30 mins)


Tuesday 22nd July

Walk 5 mins, jog 30-40 mins, walk 5 mins. Medium Pace.


Wednesday 23rd July

Rest day (optional cross train eg swim, bike, yoga 30 mins)


Thursday 24th July

Walk 5 mins, jog 40 mins medium to quick pace, walk 5 mins. Small hills.

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