Mind over matter: my half marathon training so far

Some of you know by now that I am in training to run the Gold Coast Half Marathon in July. My training is fine but I won’t bore you with the ins and outs of long runs, tempo runs and speed work. Instead, I want to tell you about how I’m training my mind. See, my mind has been much more of an enemy than a friend.

It has been my mind in the past that has told me it’s all too hard. That I’m not capable of crossing that finish line. That I’m not worthy of that sense of achievement.

My new year’s resolution going into 2011 was to run a half marathon. Instead, I spent the year battling post-natal depression and finding it hard to get off the couch.

Since then, that 21.1km run has been a huge monkey on my back, and I want it off!

This may or may not be my actual monkey. Image from blamecristal.com
This may or may not be my actual monkey. Image from blamecristal.com

Crossing that finish line will mean I can set goals and achieve them. It will mean that I have guts and determination. It will mean I am resilient. It will mean I am the kind of woman I have always wanted to be. It will mean I can do anything I set my mind to.

No pressure, right?

So I’m going easy, building up my distance, and trying hard not to spook the horses in my brain. To celebrate turning 40, I took myself out for the longest run of my life – 15km – on the final day of my thirties. That was almost enough to freak me out and put me off. In the past it would have.

Instead, this time I eased back and just ensured I kept getting out there. On the whiteboard in my office nook at home, I have Robert Collier’s words of wisdom:

140216 success sum small efforts

So that’s what I’m living. Day in and day out, I am determined to do that little bit I need to do to work in the right direction. And in July, I am going to cross that finish line. I don’t care what time I do it in. I don’t care that I probably won’t do it in style. I will do it, damn it!

Then, I’m hoping you will celebrate with me? There will be champagne.

Oh, yes.


Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.


  • Wow! You are an inspiration! I have found that my battle with PND in 2012 and 2013 has really set me back and I feel so lazy, I know it’s my mindset I need to change to get out and exercise…I just find it so hard. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Thanks Eva! I know exactly how you feel. I think it’s so important to go gently with yourself and start very small – a walk around the block or a whatever you find comfortable and appealing. Then, little by little, you can start adding to it. The most important thing for me was to not go too big too soon and totally put myself off. I’ve done that plenty of times before. Good luck – this will all seem like a distant memory soon enough! xx

  • Baby steps and achievable goals! You’re doing it right, yay you! I would love some of your motivation and self love now instead of waiting until I’m 40, no time like the present hey 🙂
    On a side note I’m battling to make up 450 minutes walking this month so what you are doing is truly awesome!

  • Lady, you are a true inspiration. You know it grrrrrrrl!!!!!! I have learnt so much from your persistence and get on with it attitude. You have always told the truth, admitted that you have down days but you get up again and keep going. THAT’S what makes a champion my friend. You have helped me in my own exercise journey so much, and I am super proud of where I am at now, walking almost an hour at least 6 mornings a week. This morning i RAN. Forest. Ran. Up two steep hills. I am so going to be at the finish line cheering you on in July by the way. After you have a glug of gatorade, I’ll shower you in champagne. Ew that sounds dirty and creepy. But you know what I mean.

    • Oh, you are just too scrummy for words, Gilly! I have to admit, I have had a few moments where I have wanted to stop and then thought, “I can’t stop – I must be resilient like Gillian!” So let’s say we inspire each other. Oh god, I feel like I’m in a Lionel Ritchie/Barbra Steisand song. (Did they ever do a song together? If not, they should!)

      I am SO proud of the progress you’ve made this year. You are really incredible and the personification of resilience!

      Looking forward to that Champagne Shower (ew, that just got a whole lot creepier!). xxx

  • Yep, it’s that blasted brain that always gets in the way. At the moment my goal is to run all of the 4km Mother’s Day Classic that my husband and I have signed up for. As it stands today, the longest I have run non-stop is 1.6km. But 2 months ago the longest I had run was 100m so I’m making progress! It doesn’t matter what the distance either, the body will eventually adapt, it’s the mind that is harder to tame. I can run much longer on the treadmill, in front of the tv, with crappy shows to watch and distract my mind, then I can when I run outdoors, with nothing but a bit of music to try and distract me from the “oh my God I’m dying!” thoughts! Good luck with your training, it sounds like you’re well on your way to conquering your mind!

    • Thanks Kylie! You are so right – as long as we are making progress, we are doing a great thing. We’re all starting from different points and have different stories that got us here.

      Funny thing about music: I used to need tunes blasting in my ears or I couldn’t run past the corner, but now I run happily without anything. I think I must be starting to conquer those chattering voices in my brain telling me to stay home and eat bacon like the rest of the family. 🙂

      Good luck with your running journey! xx

  • I’m so excited for you! I too am training for the GC Half. It’s a big feat and I can’t wait to accomplish it! Look forward to hearing more about your training progress and can’t wait to see how you go on the day!!

    • Oh, excellent, Camilla – go us! Good luck with your training. Please let me know how you’re going along the way. I look forward to us both celebrating that finish line. Someone told me to remember to look up when you cross it – you don’t want a photo of you looking at your shoes!

  • Thats an awesome goal! I ran a 9km fun run in Sydney in September 2012, the main motivation was to lose weight for my wedding, but since then I have just packed all this weight back on and gotten even more unhealthy and lazy! My sister ran a half marathon and did it with this Cantoo organisation (which I did my 9k with) and am keen on using her training roster just so I can get back into the running. I need something to kick start my exercise again! Good luck with your running and enjoy it!

    • Thank you! I haven’t heard of the Cantoo organisation – they sound great. Anything that helps people get moving has to be a good thing. Good luck with your running – I hope you get back into it. It definitely helps with the anxiety too! xx

  • Go gorgeous, I wonder If i should sign up and then I’ll HAVE to train and drink less! Even if I did the 10km? I’ve run 5km easily with about 3 weeks on treadmill, eg with great music and some weird kind of can’t lose attitude, so maybe I just need to sign up and DO IT! So proud of you Miss 40 going on 38 😉 Bug me to do it okay? xxxx

    • Oh gosh, well obviously you SHOULD do that, but I’m not sure if I can be responsible for you AS WELL as this sorry old carcass. I have had to shift my drinking days around somewhat but haven’t really reduced it as such. Not sure if that will come later or if I can muddle through. I have had to start taking it easy on a Friday night though, because Saturday is my long run morning. But should you come and join me in the run? Of course you should! GO ON!

Leave a Reply