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Ed's Cunning Plan 

I have run most of my races for the charity Comrades of Children Overseas (COCO) and developed a training plan bearing that name.


The plan is based on the belief that most races are not important; it is running and life that are important.  (See the glossary at the end for an explanation of these terms and other technical words that appear in this article).  Running is joyful, life is joyful and racing should not be allowed to impinge on this unless you are aiming for a PB or an important lifetime goal.  The COCO standard race preparation plan is designed so as not to interrupt the joy of running and important parts of life such as drinking and socialising.


The three main elements of the plan:-


         1. No taper (therefore no interruption to the running)


         2. Alcohol loading (therefore no interruption to the drinking and socialising)


         3. Staying up late (helps with the drinking and socialising)


By applying the three elements religiously during the year spectacular results can be obtained on those special occasions (PBs and lifetime goals) when you do not apply the principles and therefore start the race refreshed and well rested rather than knackered and hung over.


Many people have asked about pre-race eating (often referred to as carbo-loading).  The COCO standard race plan is neutral on eating the night before.  Expert alcohol loaders find it interferes with alcohol intake and inexperienced alcohol loaders who eat normally lose all the food that night or first thing in the morning when they are violently sick.


Some people have asked about how sex fits into the COCO standard race preparation plan.  Again the plan is neutral on this issue other than to say that if you have sex too close to the start you may not hear the gun and this will obviously affect your race time, even if your performance does not suffer.  Running, like alcohol, increases the desire but taketh away the ability (Shakespeare I think).  Running certainly increases your sex drive but, as most serious runners end up getting divorced, takes away the opportunity.


I should, perhaps, at this point explain why I have managed to stay married for 26 years.  Vanessa, my wife, is an absolute angel; although it helped that she married me when I was a boring chartered accountant, so that when I took up running I became slightly more interesting.  Also the fact that I am now out of the house for long periods of time running means I am actually boring her less because I am not there.


When you attempt to get a PB or achieve a personal goal there is a special COCO race preparation plan; tapering, carbo-loading and abstinence (alcohol and sex).  You will feel really good at the start, but will feel awful during the last part of the race because you will be pushing yourself to the limit.  This is where the standard COCO race preparation plan is so useful.  When you follow that plan and race when you are tired and hung over you will feel awful right from the start, you feel awful for 100% of the race.  So feeling awful for only part of your PB or lifetime goal attempt is a breeze.




Running – the art of being at one with oneself and the universe.


Life – the bits that fill up the spaces between runs.


PB – Personal Best the holy grail of running.  Strangely, once achieved it instantly loses its value and the search for a better one starts.


Important lifetime goal – A challenge, which at the time seems only just achievable, for example your first 10K, half-marathon, marathon, sub 4-hour marathon, sub 3-hour marathon etc.  Once achieved it is often replaced by another lifetime goal.


Sex –cannot remember what this is.


COCO – Comrades of Children Overseas, a brilliant charity that helps children affected by war and poverty.  Formed by Jim Panton and Steve Cram (yes that Steve Cram)


Socialising – if you need to be told what this is you are running too much and need to get a life.


Drinking – if you do not know what this is you are beyond help.

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