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Motivation: delicious carrot or vicious stick?

3 February 2014

Sometimes all it takes to make me run is the promise of coffee and cake at the end. Here is Sunday’s. It was warm, tasty and swiftly inhaled at The Spoke on Holloway Road after a fast, hard 10 miler.


Most of the time there are no cakes at the end of a run, though, are there? There are no prizes for running 6 sodding sodden miles home on a dark Tuesday night, only dripping trainers and beans on toast again.

This week I ran five times. Twice I came home in the pouring rain, picked up my daughter from nursery, gave her warm milk and a lovely bath, then put on my kit and went back out into the rain to run 6 or 7 miserable miles in the dark. After doing this on Friday night, on Saturday and Sunday morning all I wanted to do was stay in bed, even though the sun was shining.

So why didn’t I? No-one is forcing me to run. I signed up to train for a marathon with absolutely no cajoling from anyone. Most people, including my family, think I am mad. So what is forcing me out of the door?

I don’t need to “lose the baby weight” (and nor does anyone). I’m not unfit. I’m not unhappy. I don’t need a goal. I’m not being pushed by anything negative. I’m motivated by the biggest, most delicious slice of cake and cup of coffee imaginable: finishing a marathon a year after having a baby. Just doing that – proving to myself, and no-one else, that I’m still here. I’m still a runner.

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 6 miles with 8 x 40 secs hill reps
Wednesday: 7 miles
Thursday: booze
Friday: 6 miles easy
Saturday: 5 miles with 2.5 mile tempo in the middle
Sunday: 10 miles steady

Total: 34 miles

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