Former GB international Colin McCourt reflects on his early career and recent progress as he gets set to attempt a sub-16-minute 5km to avoid getting 17 tattoos

Hello everyone, I hope you are all well?

Right, it’s time for a 5km attempt. This weekend I am running the Simplyhealth Great South 5k in Portsmouth and training has been going well again. Last week I managed to get a 65-mile week in. I was running strong and getting my minute miling in the low 6 minutes without pushing too hard.

Running around work gives me a good structure but limits the amount of mileage I can do. I forgot how much freedom I had when I was a full-time athlete, how I could go for a long run in the morning then nap, have a relaxing day, run again, and repeat. Now it’s a long run to work – a nice 10 miles run in – then work 8-5, jog to the train at the end of the day, eat and have some family time then bed. Repeat.

I am not saying I don’t want to work, I am just thinking how much more I should have done back when running was my full-time job. Now I do more than I did then, I work full-time and have a family.

I would say to young athletes to look at what they are doing and look to other people and see what they are doing. You don’t have to copy it but, for example, when I was young, like 14, I only trained twice a week. My PB for 1500m was 4:24, I was the best in Dorset, I could win a Wessex League!

That year the South West Schools came to Kings Park in Bournemouth, I had been winning all the local races and I thought I was going to walk it. I didn’t though, I came sixth! I think I ran a PB 4:22, I was gutted and I couldn’t figure out why they were better than me.

I thought I was good so I asked one of the lads I raced against how much he trained. He said, as all young athletes do, three times a week (when it was more like four or five). So, that got me thinking… ‘I need to do more, twice a week isn’t enough’. So, I started increasing my training. Also, do you remember when you were young and you would ask everyone before the start of races what their PBs were!?

In the next three years I went from a 14-year-old 4:22 1500m runner to a 3:44 17-year-old just from increasing my training. I was running six days a week at 17 with a Friday off every week and I had a part-time job. Also, I not only won South West Schools, I became English Schools’ champion over 3000m.

All I am trying to say is look at what you do now and what you can add in to make you better. Mine was a small change and I got better and reached the goals I wanted to reach. Yours could be one extra run a week or a core session? Just have a look and see, it might be nothing, but I think we can all do more.

I only have 70 days left as of writing this to complete my challenge. I am not going to lie, it has been much harder than I thought it would be. I haven’t had any big injuries but a few setbacks. I am back on track now and it’s time to get my head down, get racing and get training. I want this goal smashed.

Have a great week and I will write again soon, hopefully when I will be closer to my sub-16 goal!


» You can read more on Colin’s challenge here. Look out for regular blog posts from Colin here, while you can also follow his journey on Instagram here

» Colin will be running the Simplyhealth Great South 5k on October 21 and will be sharing updates on his progress at