#MyManchesterMarathon – May

Decisions, decisions, decisions

Over the next six months, I will be writing a blog post every month in the lead up to the 2021 Manchester Marathon and Half Marathon. I hope to share my personal experience of training for a marathon, some tips and tricks I’ve learnt in over 20 years of running and coaching and as an employee of the Manchester Marathon, some insider info about what it’s like to be part of the team that organizes one of Europe’s largest marathons.


During lockdown, I’ve watched a lot of Netflix. As we all have.

One show I particularly enjoyed was ‘High Score’, a six part documentary series about the history of video games. The show delves into the conception of sports games like Tiger Woods PGA Tour, FIFA and Madden and that got me thinking, if there was to be a video game about running, what would it look like?

HIGH SCORE (L to R) Trip Hawkins and Steve Madden in episode 4 of HIGH SCORE. Cr. Netflix © 2020

Running games have existed for a long time. Usually, the faster the player taps a combination of buttons, the faster the character on screen runs. For me, this doesn’t truly imitate what it’s like to be a runner because for most of us, running really is about making decisions.

Beijing 2008 Video (Sega) © 2008

Here are some running related decisions I had to make in this last week alone: How many runs should I do? How far should I run? How hard should I run? Which days should I run? Where should I run? What should I wear when I run? What should I eat before and after my run? What kind of terrain should I run on? Should I run up-hill or on the flat? What should I listen to whilst I run? Should I run with a friend or alone? On the treadmill or outside? The list goes on and on…

And then there are the questions you ask yourself whilst running: Am I going hard enough? Am I going too hard? Is that pain I’m feeling something serious or should I push through? Should I stop for the loo? Should I stop for food? That person has just gone past me, should I try to keep up? Should I have eaten that curry last night? How far until the finish?!

To my mind, the best runners are not those with the quickest times but instead those that can answer the questions above correctly most frequently. The answers can usually be traced back to one single overarching question…what is my motivation?

Over the last few weeks, my motivation has changed. The running gods, merciless as they are, have blown wind in my sails and foolishly set me on the path for the Manchester Marathon on 10th October 2021, where I’ll be running 26.2 miles.

Truthfully, a running game that asks the player questions like ‘What would you like for breakfast? Press A for Cereal, B for Toast, X for porridge…’ doesn’t sound very interesting at all. Perhaps running, and the decisions we make whilst doing it, will always be better be appreciated through moving your feet rather than twizzling your thumbs!



TOP TIP: I find training plans are a great to answer some of those difficult questions above. Like many of you, I’ll be following the HOKA ONE ONE Training Plan over the next few months. If that’s something that might interest you, the plans are available for download on the Manchester Marathon website here.