3 Ways Writing a Book is Similar to Running a Marathon

3 Ways Writing a Book is Similar to Running a Marathon

I didn’t want to write this blog post today.

Today, I didn’t want to write anything.

In fact I am so exhausted by tapping on my keyboard I wonder if I will ever find the love for writing again.

Why is this you may ask?

Well for the last 21 days I have been steaming ahead with writing my latest book “The Fat Girls Guide to Marathon Running”

Now normally I give myself a good few months to complete my books, (I currently have 6 books on running and health on Amazon) but I only decided to write this one 2 and a half weeks ago, YES I KNOW while the internet was awash with talk about the London Marathon ballot, with pleas of

Help, I have a marathon place now what?


Holy shit I’m In

I realised in all of that turmoil and as women came to me for help that although there are tons of marathon training guides and books on the market, none of them were written by me, few of them (if any) were from overweight slower runners, so why not write one?

I’ve run 3 marathons, an ultra marathon and hundreds of other races, I’ve also coached well over 100 women to run their first marathon, so I like to think I know a little bit on the subject…besides nobody has quite the funny stories I do.

I realised though at the end of last week, when I was like 40,000 words in and really struggling, just how much writing a book is actually like running a marathon….without the chaffing of course…although there is the repetitive strain injury to consider, but still.

With both, initially you think it’s a good idea and then within a little while you are like “what the hell was I thinking?”, but of course because you have started you have to finish. Especially if other people know you have committed.

So OK, one activity is done with your feet and one with your hands and head, but here are the 3 similarities between writing a book and marathon running that strike me most,

1. You will doubt that you can complete it – All the way through the process you will have a nagging voice saying you can’t do it, you have taken on too much, you’re an idiot, why did you commit to this. You have moments where progress is so slow, you feel like you are going backwards. And moments where the end point seems so bloody far away.

The trick with this is simply to focus on the next few hundred meters, the next few hundred words, because otherwise it’s just too overwhelming.

Marathon running is an endurance sport, is is never going to be over in a blink of the eyelid. Writing is the same, it takes time even if you don’t suffer from writers block and know what you want to say, the process of getting it into some kind of readable format will take time.

So just continue to put on your trainers, continue to sit at your desk. You will get there eventually.

2. You will be rubbish and brilliant in equal measure – There are some points of training for a marathon where you excel, and others where you feel like you have only just taken up the sport. Even while running the race there will be moments where you are completely flying and moments where you hit the wall.

I had days last week where I sat at my desk at 9am and realised at 4pm I hadn’t eaten or been to the loo, I was in my flow, I was in my zone of genius…it was brilliant. Then I had moments yesterday where I couldn’t remember how to spell “Was” like seriously?

Perseverance is key, taking a break, a walking one if you must. Onwards is onwards, by any means necessary.

3. Other people will support you – Most people are in awe of marathon runners, OK they think we are a bit crazy but mostly they are impressed. The same goes for writing a book. Both activities hold a mirror up to folk who say, “Oh I could never do that” or the perfectionists that say “I would need more time”.

I have had so much support in the last two weeks it’s been amazing, people checking in to see what my word count is, popping funny GIFs on Facebook reminding me to get on with it, and of course my wonderful editor who stops me from writing page long sentences.

You may also come across a few neigh sayers who tell you it would be better to take your time, or that you are crazy for trying. But when you have the drive to accomplishment, nothing can stop you.

So this morning, at 9.36, 68,222 words were sent across to my editor for her to work her magic, and I have sat on the sofa most of the day (almost like it was the day after a marathon) saying,

Never Again

Well, at least never in that time span again.

The irony is, this weekend I was supposed to be running the Beachy Head Marathon, 10 days ago I made the decision to pull out, because in all honesty I hadn’t done the right kind of training and the logistics around travel and childcare had become to complicated.

This is the first race in more than 12 years that I have pulled out of.

I knew it was the right thing to do.

Anyways…I’m off to the Cinema tonight to take my mind of the book, and the fact I should have been racing this weekend.

Vertical_3D_cover_version (2)The book is currently available as a download for just £6.99, and the paper version will be available from the 6th November, I hope you enjoy it.

Please download it and help me get in the Top 10 Running Charts

Please do share this post with anyone interested in writing or running marathons, hopefully they will find it of some use…I hold on to that fact seeing as I really didn’t want to write today.

Have a great weekend.

Oh and here is some evidence that I have actually run said marathons

IMG_9222 3

Picking yourself up time and time again

Picking yourself up time and time again

Business is tough.

Real tough.

In fact, life is tough…really tough at times.

It doesn’t matter how much perceived success you have had in the past, or how much other people rate you, the fact remains you still have to get out of bed every day and do the work.

It is lonely too.

Well at least it is for me.

I am a single parent, and spend much of my time behind my desk in a corner of my front room trying to grow an empire. Tying to to convince women to buy into a sport that many believe should be free. Trying to support women who don’t prioritise their own health and happiness to do so. Trying to help PR companies and brands realise that this is a business and

No you can’t get to my audience of 50,000 women in exchange for a free sportsbra

So yeah, some days I simply can’t face sitting at that desk.

Somedays, like yesterday I simply want to lay on the sofa, watch crap TV and have a bit of a cry.

Yesterday was a bit of a corker though to be fair, triggered by a busy few months culminating in 3 big races, in 3 different countries, in the space of 3 weeks. I have also launched a new life coaching programme, overseen the start of my Sport England funded year long pilot in Barking & Dagenham and currently have two other online running programmes to focus on too…so I guess I am just a bit tired and overwhelmed.

I’ve also had a whole heap of personal stuff going on, including settling my 4 and a half year old into BIG school, and trying to organise childcare for this weekends Proffesional Speaking Associations annual convention…which up until late last night I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make.

So yeah it’s been a tough few weeks.

Yesterday I think I needed some kind of release. A day at a spa would have probably done the trick, but instead a morning of rubbish TV and half a pack of stale digestive biscuits took me into a spiral of self pity and panic.

By 2pm it was getting really ugly.

I thought getting some fresh air might help, so I walked to the bank to deposit a cheque…the cheque however got stuck in the machine as I was paying it in, and as the assistant went to get the key to open the machine, with a bank full of people watching me, the tears started rolling again “Why me?, Why me?” yes it seriously was that embarrassing, I have no idea what that poor bloke must have thought of me.

Anyway, once home I knew there was only one thing for it, one thing which would get me out of this funk.

I needed to run.

Luckily Wednesday night is my new, once a week night of regular childcare…so I donned my new snazzy leggings which I am reviewing for an awesome company I have just discovered, and I made my way to the East London Runners weekly training session. I haven’t been in well over a year…and boy have I missed it.

I only did 5K, but it was a speedy (for me) 5K

On the way back to the station I walked through a cool looking urban underpass and thought, this would look good as a backdrop for a photograph so I spent 5 minutes or so trying to get a decent shot.

My sweaty puffy face couldn’t quite muster a smile…so instead I went for an intense “I don’t care stare”

The moral of my story. Sometimes life is shit. Sometimes it doesn’t pan out how you want it, even when you work your arse off. Sometimes you feel like packing it all off, selling up and moving to the outer Hebrides to milk goats. But mostly, sometimes you just need to take a day off, cry some ugly tears, watch a bit of Jeremy Kyle to remind yourself that it could be a whole heap worse and then pick yourself back up and find a way to energise yourself so you can live to fight another day.

For me running works for this every single time.


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