As a seasoned coach in the world of distance running, I’ve had the privilege of guiding numerous athletes on their marathon journeys. 

Each coaching session presents unique challenges and opportunities, but perhaps none as inspiring as my recent conversation with Yvonne September, a dedicated marathon enthusiast hailing from Bloemfontein, South Africa. 

In this article, I’ll share insights from our coaching call, highlighting Yvonne’s journey, training analysis, and strategies for optimizing marathon performance.

Yvonne’s Running Journey

Yvonne’s running journey commenced three years ago, fueled initially by a desire for weight loss. 

However, what began as a quest to shed pounds evolved into a profound passion for the sport. Despite encountering setbacks such as knee injuries, Yvonne’s determination remained unwavering. 

She embraced strength training as a means to fortify her body and enhance her running prowess. 

Her journey culminated in completing two Oceans Ultra Marathons and recently conquering her inaugural marathon, setting the stage for ambitious future endeavors.

Analyzing Training Progress

In assessing Yvonne’s training data, it became evident that her progression across various distances reflected a well-rounded aerobic foundation. 

Despite challenges faced during her maiden marathon, including adverse weather conditions and pacing dilemmas, Yvonne exhibited remarkable resilience and determination. 

To further optimize her performance, we devised a strategy to incrementally increase her long runs, culminating in a potential 36-kilometre endeavour three weeks before her next marathon.

Navigating Training Variables

Yvonne expressed curiosity regarding the absence of interval speed training in her regimen. Emphasizing the paramount importance of injury prevention and consistency, we deferred interval training until post-marathon. Additionally, we explored the viability of splitting weekly runs into multiple sessions to accommodate Yvonne’s scheduling constraints, affirming its efficacy in maintaining training continuity.

Yvonne’s coaching session exemplifies the essence of structured training, injury mitigation, and goal-oriented planning in marathon preparation. With a blend of perseverance, resilience, and strategic guidance, she stands poised to unlock new heights of marathon success. 

As Yvonne continues her journey, her story serves as a beacon of inspiration for fellow runners, underscoring the transformative power of relentless dedication and unwavering passion in the pursuit of running excellence.

In closing, Yvonne’s marathon aspirations serve as a testament to the enduring spirit of the running community, where every stride embodies the pursuit of personal growth and triumph against adversity.


With a passion for high performance sport – Lindsey Parry is one of South Africa’s most widely recognised coaches. Having led a team to the London, Rio and Tokyo Olympic Games as well as the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, the Gold Coast & Birmingham, and coached both triathletes and runners onto podiums of some of the world’s most illustrious races, Lindsey has a unique ability to understand what it takes to succeed at any level and thrives on coaching, motivating and inspiring others to do the same – whether it’s on the track, on stage or behind a mic.

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