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First things first…is don’t panic.

Now look…let me be frank with you. You know you should have started before now, and I know you should have…but hey, shoulda, woulda, coulda. We are where we are right?

Now before I give you some advice about what to do if you find yourself in the first week of January pretty much starting from scratch with a marathon just weeks away…erm yeah…FYI the London Marathon is 15 weeks away, I would like to first explain who I am.

I am a runner.

In fact I am a FAT runner.

A FAT Marathon Runner.

I ran my first marathon in 2012, and have since run 3 more, and heaps of other races including 30+ half marathons, an olympic distance triathlon, various obstacle races and a 40 mile ultra….I now help women to get up to marathon distance when they often don’t think they can…so I know a bit about this stuff.

Now here is the thing.

In an ideal world we would all do the right amount of training, and go into our races in the best shape physically and mentally, but the truth is all manor of things get in our way (especially us women)

  • Work commitments
  • Travel
  • Family stuff
  • Injury
  • Procrastination
  • Fear

But whatever the cause of you not running enough so far, of course has to be addressed, but just not dwelled upon….then you have to pull on your big girl pants and make shit happen.

So here are my top 10 tips for getting yourself up to marathon distance in time for your big race.

  1. Start Now – Like seriously, go for a run as soon as you can. Doesn’t matter how far or how fast just get out of the front door and run.
  2. Be honest about where you are – Seriously, where are you at? Can you run 5K, run for 30 seconds, or run for an hour? Be completely honest about where you are at so people can help you. DO NOT LIE!!!
  3. Now form a plan – It doesn’t have to be fancy just sketch out the next 12 weeks, use these FREE planners to help you. Training plans from online are OK as a guide, but you will only feel shit if you can’t keep up so design your own… you know your life better than anyone.
  4. Be properly active 3 times a week – run at least twice (no excuses), one increasing in distance each week
  5. Get some races in the diary – 10K by end of Jan, half marathon by end of Feb. even if you have to walk some of it. Get the races in the diary.
  6. Commit to parkrun – every week from now until race day…or some other kind of structured speed session, a track session can be helpful.
  7. Fix up your bad habits – Sort out your nutrition, stop drinking, get more sleep.
  8. Ask for help – Let your loved ones take some of the daily strain, be explicit about the kind of help you need. Get a physio, a coach, a buddy…don’t try and do it alone.
  9. Find your tribe – Find other people on a similar journey to you, join a running club real of virtual, don’t be afraid to train with others…even if you hate it, it is a necessary evil sometimes. Check out #iblamejulie on instagram for some inspiration
  10. Believe in yourself – You have to employ a “by any means necessary” approach, know that you can and will succeed. You can do it.

Now look.

I have run enough races in my overweight body to know how it works.

In November I ran the New York Marathon, training wasn’t perfect and I wasn’t very well on the actual day. But I know my body well enough to be able to make sensible decisions now. I have been running for almost 15 years.

I have a place for the London Marathon in April and of course, I have been training…could I have done more absolutely.

I did 3 parkruns over the xmas period, well 2.5…as my almost 6 year old only fancied one lap on Xmas day…but hey it was something.

My plans moving forward???

  • 10K race this weekend (there may be some walking)
  • Weekly CrossFit conditioning sessions
  • 10K beginning of Feb (aim to run it all)
  • 10 miler following week
  • Half marathon the end of Feb
  • I will also do parkrun as often as I can and throw in a couple of track sessions

The only thing stopping you from following a similar plan is getting injured through overtraining. This is running too far, to fast or too frequently…so be careful. You must learn to listen to your body.

If you are seriously starting from nothing…then go out for daily walks. In fact, I have 5 weeks to 5K programme starting on the 14th January which will at least give you some accountability (and it costs just £5 if you sign up this week)

Remember why you signed up for a marathon in the first place….because you want to feel like a rockstar when you cross that line and get your medal right?

Now get off your arse and make it happen.

For more brilliant marathon training tips, and enough inspiration and humor to make you believe you can actually do this thing, check out my book The Fat Girls Guide to Marathon Running 

Oh and I’m leading a 10 mile training day later this year…its perfect for anyone training for a marathon, suitable for all abilities

Please share this on social media, or forward it on to your running friends…see you in London peeps.

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