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Barcelona half marathon – a new personal best!

By Darren O'Toole | In Fitness, Health, Marathon training, Outdoor | on February 21, 2019

At the start of each of the last few years I have targeted improving my personal bests in running pursuits. Each year this becomes my goal. Over the last couple of years, it’s been listed, but more out of stubbornness than true belief that I would do it.

On the car journey from Eldoret airport in Kenya, the coach said to me:

This trip will get you fitter, but it’s what you learn – the mentality, the focus – which will change your outlook on training.

My first real race of 2019 – the Barcelona half marathon made this ring true. A new personal best, a time of 1:28.20. What’s more, my first personal best since 2015. In that time, there has been lots of races, many many miles of training and in reality, no real progress.

Instagram and the like are jam-packed with fitness figures hammering home their various mantras related to pushing yourself to the max! It’s usually just words and for me, none directly resonates. However, seeing how locals and running tourists all adapt to the ‘Train hard, race easy’ mentality caused a seismic shift in my mindset. It resonated because races were never easy nor comfortable and had started to become unenjoyable.

Now, don’t get me wrong, to achieve a personal best means you have to be uncomfortable, but when you have the mindset and knowledge that you’ve done all of the work to get this time, the mind games play a lower level of significance. I’m still in a training block of some grim mileages and some very hard workouts. However, knowing the impact of this level of intensity has already had fuels the desire to push on.

My upcoming race schedule includes one more half marathon – the Big Half, in London on Sunday 10 March ahead of the full Greater Manchester marathon on 7 April. I’ll be updating this blog with brief reviews of both races alongside, what I hope, are positive lessons from new successes.

Bespoke marathon training plan

If you’ve got any upcoming races, ranging from a local 5k to a Tough Mudder or all the way up to a half marathon or even a full marathon, get in touch with Darren who will be able to devise a bespoke training plan to help you to achieve your personal best.


Read more…

Home of Champions: part one

Darren’s personal experience after one week at Iten, Home of Champions. Read about the training so far, itinerary, food and his initial impressions of this high altitude training camp for runners.


Home of Champions: part two

Week two in Iten, Kenya. Read about Darren’s personal experience about the training with Kenyans, hiking, famous Kenyan fartlek Thursday and more.

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