Marathon Training: Don’t Overlook The Little Things – Part 3

F.O.M.O.  That’s the topic of this week’s marathon training feature.  Most of you will probably know what this stands for, especially if you read a lot of blogs or follow a lot of runners on twitter.  Personally, I had to ask someone what it meant as I didn’t have the foggiest.  F*ck Off Manky Oranges?  Facts Of My Omelette?  Fat and Obese by eating Macaroons and Oysters?  

Unsurprisingly, it’s none of the above.  It actually stands for Fear Of Missing Out.  (Thank you to Laura Fountain for the explanation!).  There have been so many fantastic races over the last couple of months and I have wanted to run all of them.  From fast and flat 5ks to off-road half marathons, there have been so many exciting events lately.  And of course it feels like ALL of my friends are taking part in them, which naturally means I want to play too.

Just a few of the humbugs! (Photo credit: Nicola Nuttall)

Just a few of the humbugs! (Photo credit: Nicola Nuttall)

The picture above features my Dad and my brother, as well as some wonderful team mates.  They’d just won the men’s team prize at the East Lancs Hospice 10k.  I had to choose between taking part in this and doing a 16 mile run with 10 miles at marathon pace.  The race would have been fantastic, but it wouldn’t have helped my marathon training.

Now I’m not for one second advising people to be a slave to the schedule.  It’s important to keep the enthusiasm going in marathon training – it’s a pretty long slog!  There’s nothing wrong at all with keeping your hand (foot?) in the racing scene, but if it’s starting to compromise the marathon training runs then it’s definitely something to re-think.

Here's what I missed! (Photo credit: Blackburn Road Runners)

Here’s what I missed! (Photo credit: Blackburn Road Runners)

The above is what I missed out on this weekend.  I had actually entered this race months ago.  But I was due to run 20 miles yesterday.  I would have loved to have a crack at this race but after much deliberation I made the decision not to start.  Sunday was the only possible day I could do a 20 miler and I know that it was more important to get my first big 20 done than it was to take part in a local 10k.

As it happens, the organisers were kind enough to let me defer my entry to next year’s race when I emailed them to let them know I wouldn’t be attending (it’s a personal bugbear of mine when people enter races and don’t bother letting the organisers know they’re not going to show – please don’t do it!)

I was a bit resentful chewing on my pre-run breakfast bagel on Sunday morning, knowing that my friends were lacing up for some great events.  But I was lucky enough to get some great company on my long run and we chatted those miles away.  Hand on heart, it was the most comfortable 20 miles I’ve ever run.  It wasn’t particularly speedy (8:56 minute miles on average) but it was a great effort considering the amount of climb – over 2,250ft!

I was buzzing by the time we’d finished, it was done in no time at all.  And whilst there was no medal or t-shirt at the end of my run, the confidence I’d gained from that single training run was worth all the goodie bags in the world.