What next after marathon? A beach body for starters...

SINCE January I have been writing about expectation, progress and a target.

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That was the Belfast Marathon - been there, done that. So what's next?

I was talking to a friend of mine, another lawyer, who took up running to lose weight.

She suggested I join the local running club she attends, and have a regular training routine for general fitness.

I graciously declined.

You see, I am no athlete, just a deadline junkie - in completing legal work, in writing news-paper columns, and in exercise.

I need a date and a duty.

I don't even like running.

Granted, I have done a marathon, and my friend - who is an athlete - is still gearing up for her first one next year.

The ONLY reason I ran the dozens of miles time after time for months before Belfast was because I had to.

There was no alternative.

Often I didn't enjoy it, I certainly didn't snuggle comfortably into it, but the effort was necessary as my date with destiny loomed.

And thus it will be from here on.

As advised last week I am booked up for the Men's 10K in mid-June.

I have now registered online for the Great Scottish Run half-marathon in Glasgow in October, and am still trying to get into London 2015.

Also next year I will be doing the Edinburgh full marathon, along with a Law Society of Scotland colleague who only started running this year but is already annoyingly quicker than I am.

But I call it Phase 2 - a second chapter rather than a continuation. Why?

Because I need a new result.

Phase 1 was a success.

Reorganising diet, routine and focus, with the intent and result of losing weight and no longer being fat/obese/lazy/gluttonous/self-deluding.

Job done, plateau achieved. But I am still not where I intend to end up.

I am about 1.5 stones overweight.

Let me be clear as to the Phase 2 ambition.

I seek a beach body, and that by the time I hit the beach in July.

I want the V-torso, the waistline that is fewer inches than my inside leg (apparently this is the test), to be fit to wear the budgie-smugglers - though only in theory, as (by popular, indeed universal, demand) I will stick to respectable beach shorts.

Moobs - be thou things of the past.

Paunch - depart and never show thy fat again.

Jowls - wobble ye not. I am carving the future six-pack from the current barrel.

And thanks to the last five months, it is a small keg rather than a great big tub.

We deal the cards we are given.

No, I am not an elite sportsman.

My karate ability is of a reasonable standard, and I love it, but there is nothing in martial arts training that hones the physique.

Look on the internet and you will see many of the top sensei and karateka are chunky around the midriff.

Sumo wrestlers are rotund because that gives them an edge, if that's not too inconsistent a description.

Remember Goldfinger's man Oddjob?

Square and squat for sure. But running, relentless running - that is what shapes and reduces.

So it is not in my nature just to make a New Year's resolution to go out hammering pavements three times a week.

It has to be a means to an important end.

THAT end is actual racing - those wonderful mass running events. Glasgow, London, maybe Paris or Rome and certainly Edinburgh - even Belfast again if I can stand the Antrim Road elevator. If it needs a planned approach, that's what will make me go out and run.

But that's enough about what's going on in my head and on my body.

What about you? What can you do? What are your deadlines and target events?

They may not be road races, but they may be losing enough weight to get into that dress, or packing in smoking, cutting down on expenditure on booze, replacing giant bottles of fizzy drinks with natural fruit juice.

In the weeks to come I will be turning the spotlight on you, our readership.

If I can reorganise my physique and habits, anyone can. We should be all in this together. I am happy to help, as indeed you have already helped me.

Sport

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