From couch to marathon

I wasn’t sure what to call this post. Ideas included ‘Emma completely loses the plot’, ‘I’ve got a confession to make’, ‘Please don’t try this at home’, ‘From zero to hero’ and ‘How not to prepare for a marathon’.  Although I’ve only been running consistently since December, I’m going to attempt to make it around this year’s London Marathon. Yes I am *really* daft!

Towards the end of last year I noticed that the London Marathon was holding a competition on twitter to win places in the 2016 event.

I retweeted the relevant tweet, went to work, and completely forgot that I had entered the competition.

A couple of weeks later I received a message from the London Marathon social media team. I had been chosen at random as one of the lucky winners of the retweet competition to win a place in the 2016 London Marathon.

Wow! What had I done?

After managing to contain some of my initial excitement at work (non-runners just don’t understand), I sat down and made a list of the positives and negatives of attempting to complete the marathon distance. The positives far outweighed the negatives. I emailed the London Marathon social media team to confirm my acceptance.

I had a place in the 2016 London Marathon!

I’m being realistic about my fitness levels and what I want to achieve on the day of the race. I want to finish the marathon in one piece. I want to be smiling rather than crying at the finish. I want more of this.


I’ve decided to adopt a run-walk-run strategy from the start of the race; I don’t think that there is any chance of me running the entire marathon distance.

Perhaps I was selfish accepting a place in such a heavily over-subscribed race?

I reasoned that I might never get another chance to complete the London Marathon. I’m pretty certain that most other runners in my position would have done the same.

I have another reason for wanting to complete the London Marathon. I want to raise money for the Samaritans. The Samaritans really helped me a few years ago when I felt that I had no one to talk to. Without the help of the Samaritans I’m not sure that I would still be here.



16 thoughts on “From couch to marathon

  1. kyrapaterson says:

    Wow, it sounds like you are very lucky to have the opportunity to run the London Marathon (I didn’t realize it was so difficult). I would take the chance and not feel guilty about it – you are just as deserving as the next runner! Have you found a training plan to follow? I look forward to seeing how you progress. Sounds like you’ll be running and swimming lots in the next few months!! I am sure you can run the whole 42.2 km, but doing a run-walk method is definitely an option. Good luck!!!


    • Emma says:

      Thanks! The London Marathon is pretty difficult to get in to unless you can raise a lot of money for a charity or can run a ‘Good for Age’ time. I’ve stopped feeling guilty now and am looking forward to the challenge. I’m in the process of finalising my training plan, luckily I know a few experienced marathon runners so can ask them for advice. I’d love to run the entire distance, I’ll have to closely monitor my fragile right knee. I’ll be sure to write several swimming and marathon training progress updates on here. Thanks for the support!


    • Emma says:

      Thanks, I also think that a run/walk/run approach is my most realistic (and sensible) approach. I’ve stopped feeling guilty about accepting the place and am looking forward to the training and race day. I’m also really looking forward to reading all of your marathon training updates.


  2. Maria @ runningcupcake says:

    How exciting! I think a run walk strategy sounds perfect- Jeff Galloway advocates this and I am sure he has plenty of training plans on the internet. And you are not selfish for accepting- people apply for the ballot and it’s just the luck of the draw- the same as the twitter thing.


    • Emma says:

      Thanks Maria! I’ve ordered one of Jeff Galloway’s books and have drafted out a training plan. I’ve also stopped feeling guilty/selfish for accepting the place and am now looking forward to the training and to race day. I know that I’m really lucky to have a place in the marathon so will make the most of my experience.


  3. Helen says:

    No way, absolutely NOT selfish!

    Plenty of people walk and run.

    I won my place last year in the same way, so I’m really pleased you got it as well. I was injured and should never have done it, but who knew when I’d get another attempt?

    Good luck! x


    • Emma says:

      I remember you winning your place through twitter last year. I’ve found loads of people who are planning to run and walk their way around the course so I’ve stopped feeling guilty now. Like you say, I might never get another attempt so why turn down the opportunity x


  4. Christine says:

    Wow, congratulations on getting a place – I’m so pleased for you!

    I think a run-walk strategy is a really good idea, Becca ( has some great posts about using that strategy for several races if you are interested.

    Good luck with training – I’m looking forward to following your progress!


    • Emma says:

      Thanks Christine! I’m definitely going to adopt a run-walk strategy, I want to be able to move the day after the marathon. I’ll take a look at Becca’s blog, thanks for the recommendation. My running has been getting slightly faster, I now need to work on my endurance!


  5. Em says:

    Brilliant! I’m planning on a run walk run plan too. Simply because my long run pace (anything over 8 miles) is faster that way as I don’t fade out towards the end! Good luck!


  6. Em says:

    Brilliant! I’m adopting a run walk run strategy for London too simply because my long runs (anything over 8 miles) are faster this way as I don’t fade out at the end.


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