“Smile though your heart is aching, 
smile even though it’s breaking”
Nat King Cole


I found it very hard to smile! in fact I found it very hard to put one foot on front of the other! I did though and finished my second marathon in 4:24:18. Thirty minutes later than I had hoped.

Would I recommend it!? Hell No!!

So what happened? I can’t say it went wrong because I finished and that is the goal of any race, to finish, but did it need to take me so long? I didn’t think so.

There are lots of factors that I could blame, the weather, the scenery, too hot, too cold, too windy, the sun, but that’s all a load of bull!

My first marathon was in October 2011. I decided 8 weeks before the event to register, downloaded a training and duly started it in week 10. No Garmin, no idea of anything. My fitness was good though, hill running and cycling were just part of my normal week.

A few long runs around the Phoenix Park and all was well. I ran the marathon in 4 hours 4 minutes, no major problems, just hunger and ignorance! I vowed I was done, never again!!

Roll on two years!


One broken leg later and an intense sense of wonder. What would happen if I trained “properly” for a marathon. If I could achieve 4:04 with little or no training surely with a bit of hard work I could knock a good 20 minutes off that?

An 18 week training plan, bike hung up, no booze, healthy diet, a Garmin, some swanky new runners and a mantra on my vest!

Sure what could go wrong?

Plenty it seams!!


Lesson #1: Don’t train for a marathon, or anything in fact, unless you can stay 100% committed.
I got bored with the training. In my world 18 weeks of thinking about one goal is just material for head wreck! I like variety in my life, I don’t thrive on one thing, I like being jack of all trades.It was exciting at the start, Gung-Ho on registration, inspired and highly motivated, I just got fed up somewhere along the way.Lesson #2: Don’t stop doing the stuff you enjoy, there’s no point!
I gave up my bike in the hope of becoming a better runner, I’m still a poor runner and my bike is in need of some serious TLC! It achieves nothing giving up what you enjoy. (Smokers please ignore that last line!) Cross train, take a day off, go do something fun.Lesson #3: Realize your strengths, not your weaknesses.
I love being athletic, fit and healthy. There is nothing better than being outdoors and running around the mountains or the parks. Pavement pounding is not that much fun to me. I much prefer trails, grass and coastal runs. Do something you enjoy and it will be much easier to improve. Your head hopefully will also stay in the game.Lesson #4: Project Marathon or Project Cover Up?
Sometimes we all hide behind big events so that we don’t have to face up to what is really, or not. going on in our lives. It keeps us busy and can be a great excuse not to do things. While goal setting is important, it is detrimental to ensure you are on the right path. 18 weeks of training for one big event is all well and good, but what happens after that? Has anything really changed? Getting lost in a project, allowing it to consume your every thought is just a camouflage for not wanting to face reality. Set a goal by all means, but don’t forget, the calender will continue long after the event. What’s next??

Lesson #5: Enjoy it. There doesn’t have to be a reason/ purpose to it.
I said earlier that I got bored with training and had given up the things I enjoy. Was it worth it? No way. Just run, leave the watch behind, or at least put it in your pocket now and again. You don’t need a marathon to be a runner.

“That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I’d just run across the great state of Alabama. And that’s what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going.” – Forest Gump


Lesson #6: If your not happy, change!
Will I ever run another marathon? Unlikely. Will i continue to run, absolutely. I love 10 kilometers or there about. I like the length of time it takes me to warm up and find my stride. I like that I get a decent session, still able to walk after it and carry on with my day. I would rather run a 10km everyday than relive the hell of the marathon!Lesson #7: Let them off.
This is my 8th Marathon, this is my 35th, I ran a 3 hour marathon. Well done! I love hearing about other peoples achievements, but that’s what they are, THEIR achievements. We are all different so try not to get caught up in numbers.Lesson #8: Seek Professional Help!
I did! I joined two different running groups and really enjoyed the build up with them. It’s great when training for anything to be able to bounce off of like minded people. Share the experience and pull each other along.Lesson #9: Let it go!
Ok! So I trained by the book, gave it my all, even though I slumped in the motivational aspect, I kept training. I followed the plan to the letter. Did it get me anywhere? Well, yes! It got me over the finish line. Maybe not in the best shape, or the best time, but when all is said and done, I crossed the finish line! Like most movies, the sequel just wasn’t as good as the origional!


It is unlikely this will turn into a trilogy! Although my name is in the lottery for New York 2014! So I suppose we will just have to watch this space!

Yours In Good Health!Sinéad
About the Author:
Sinéad Kennedy is a Physical Therapist, Yoga Siromani and Pilates Instructor, based in South County Dublin. She treats and teaches people from all walks of life, including many athletes, especially cyclists, runners and golfers. A keen cyclist and proud member of Orwell Wheelers she is currently training for the Marmotte Sportive, Alps, July 2014. Sinéad has completed two Dublin City Marathons, numerous Adventure Races, Half Marathons and Cycling Events.

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