It's the column that I really didn't want to write, but unfortunately I won’t be running the Manchester Marathon this year.

I’ve had to take the difficult decision that due to my calf that I won’t be able to toe the start line in little over a week’s time.

Yet another test run ended with the same discomfort by around 4K that I’ve been experiencing and it’s time to accept that I’m just not going to be ready to do myself justice.

There is of course disappointment and frustration; to some extent I’ve never felt fitter and if my calf was intact then I’d be confident of setting a new PB there.

But at the same time there’s an element of relief; it had become mentally exhausting trying to plan my next run and wondering if my calf was going to hurt. I just can’t wait to get it right now and enjoy some lovely spring runs without worrying whether my calf is going to tighten up early into a run.

I needed to stop trying to force this recovery. Hopefully, it’s a relatively minor injury, but it needs time and some concerted work without the impact running has to make it better.

To my mind I’ve got April to really get on top of it before easing back into things in May and kicking on with the rest of the year.

I’ve tried to be proactive and listed all the races I want to run in 2024 with the emphasis obviously on getting to the Berlin Marathon start line in September in the best possible shape.

I’ve learned so much from this training block already and it’s been nice to surprise a few people with the progress I’ve made. 

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I’ve run times I’ve never thought I was capable of at 10K and half marathon distances but I also have to accept that at this stage my body doesn’t always cope particularly well with a high volume of running.

That’s obviously relative to everyone but I’ve found that once I get to around 40-45 miles per week in my training that my body starts to complain.

But that’s okay - I can work with that - it doesn’t mean I can’t achieve the goals I’ve got, notably a sub three-hour marathon. It just means I have to be a bit more strategic in how I get there.

I’ve grown to really enjoy the strength and conditioning side of things and I’m more than happy to get on the bike to supplement my training. The heart and lungs don’t know what exercise I’m doing so I’m confident I can build fitness there.

Running is just one part of the build towards a marathon goal; strength and conditioning, nutrition, sleep, stress levels are all other factors that can impact what your body is capable of.

Rather than feel envious of my running friends on the way to the marathon start line, I feel inspired in the knowledge that one day in the near future it will be my time to produce a marathon run that I can feel proud of once again. A run that I can look back on with my children to demonstrate that if you put your mind to something then you can achieve goals you never thought possible.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where people want instant gratification and patience is a dirty word. You can’t expect to be good at something straight away; there are always going to be setbacks when chasing something you really want, tests that will make you question how much you really want something.

But building resilience is a key life lesson - tough times don’t last, tough people do.

That’s why I’m focusing on coming back fitter and faster…

With very strong calves…