Controlling the controllables!

Today, it’s 32 days until the San Francisco Marathon, where I’m running the 2nd Half Marathon and am hoping very much for a shiny new PR. My current PR is 1.55.34 set at Healdsburg and I’d really like to run 1.54.

Oakland’s 1.59 was disappointing. I went out too fast, it was hotter than expected and, being honest, my head wasn’t in the game. I knew I wasn’t as fit as I was at Healdsburg and I knew I was unlikely to PR. And – quelle surprise! – I didn’t.

I’ve been reading a biography of Bradley Wiggins, last year’s first ever British winner of the Tour de France, and his phenomenal Team Sky cycling team have a motto … ‘control the controllables’. I can at least do that. I can’t dictate the outcome on June 16th at the Embarcadero, but I can dictate how well I prepare.


As such, when we got back from Hawaii, Monday marked the start of Buckling Down – the final few weeks’ training plan. It’s definitely a training plan as I made a copy in my best hand-writing and stuck it on my fridge! I am excited about the race – loads of local bloggers are doing and I’m looking forward to seeing friends and meeting new people. One of my friends from the UK is coming over to run it.  And me? I can’t wait to run.

A work of science and beauty!
A work of science and beauty!


I generally eat pretty healthily, but not always. I have a deep love for cake and poor self-discipline when it comes to portion control. So my guidelines for this training period are:

– One cake/dessert treat per week.

– Three glasses of wine per week.

– General mindfulness. (Bit of a cop-out clause)

So that’s the theory and the plan. No idea how it’ll turn out but I’ll do what I can do and wait and see what happens!

10 Comments Add yours

  1. I am sure you will do great! I like your willpower to only have dessert once a week (fairly certain I could never keep that one). I would rather run one more mile to get rid of the calories of the dessert than not eat it! 🙂

  2. Cathryn says:

    Ha, you know how little willpower I have and how long my resolutions usually last! I have managed to turn down two desserts this week though, knowing there is amazing cheesecake waiting for me on Saturday!

  3. Jen says:

    Yay! I’m on your *very* official training schedule!! 🙂

    I’m trying to do the same re: eating healthier, etc. etc. Usually, I wait until 2 weeks before the race, but I thought maybe I’d try it a bit earlier and see how if I can shed a few pounds before race day. I’ve been bringing lots of fruit to work to snack on and watching my portions… but like you, I have a deep love of cake (and desserts in general! I don’t discriminate), so I’ve been having a tougher time with that. Wishing us both lots of luck!

    1. Cathryn says:

      I found a thing online which suggested that, based on my Healdsburg weight and time, if I lost 5 lbs I could run SF in 1.52. I then read a lot of criticism of the science that article was based on. And I don’t think for one second that it’s that simple. But it was interesting and quite motivational – just by cutting out the cr*p, could I lose a few pounds and would they help?? Hmmm.

      1. Jen says:

        Yeah, it can’t be that linear/straightforward. Also, it seems like one has to factor in what kind of weight he/she is losing. Obviously, in a crash diet, it’s probably not going to help running performance from a fuel and muscle-loss perspective. What I’ve been having trouble with is not the eating less part (which is difficult but doable), it’s the morning runs on what feels like a lot less energy than I’m used to. I guess my body will adapt eventually, but it does make for more dragg-y runs.

        5 lbs or no, I totally believe you can run a 1.52 in SF!!

      2. Cathryn says:

        Thank you for the confidence!!! Wow!

  4. Bean says:

    Sounds like a good plan. I hear that magic things happen when people run SF. I am excited to hear how it goes because you are going to do awesome!

    1. Cathryn says:

      I hope so 🙂 Thanks for the confidence!

  5. Angela says:

    Even though I won’t be in anything like half marathon PR shape, I am still super excited just for the experience. Good luck with the rest of your training & see you there!!

    1. Cathryn says:

      It’ll be fun!! Good luck next weekend!

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