So here we are. Almost two years after my first Marathon Training run and two aborted attempts, this weekend I finally get to toe the line in London.
It’s definitely been a roller coaster but now I need to trust in the process and that the training has brought me to the point I needed to be at.
First though it was time for the taper.
Everyone always talks about the taper in wondrous terms. After all the hard training, the fact that you get to ease up a bit is meant to be a bit of a relief. I however have actually found it a bit odd! So close to the race, running almost takes a back seat although it probably hasn’t been helped by external factors.
Week 15 started like any other and I was out on the Tuesday doing the speed session on the plan. AlreadybI could feel the difference as the total distance was much shorter and I was ending almost as I was getting into it. It was also the first run where I have felt that winter is truly coming as I got a beautiful misty sunrise.
Now I have read a lot about maranoia but what happened next was definitely real! At the weekend my daughter had been suffering with a stinking cold. My son came down with it Monday night and come Tuesday PM I was as snotty as you like. I think it’s really doing the rounds but it’s not ideal race prep! Thankfully my PT couldn’t do my normal Wednesday session so I was able to rest up and I then followed this on Thursday as well. I suppose in a strange kind of way, this is the best week to get unwell as training is on the downward trajectory and there is time to recover for race day.
Among the rest, the more important thing was that I finally got my start details through. Having told people that info would be out by the previous Friday and that had only been the event guide, it did feel ridiculous not knowing any specifics so close to race day. They had said emails would drop between Monday and Wednesday and mine finally dropped at 16:24 so they used every last second! I will be starting in the green pen at 9:40 so if you are in London or tracking any runners keep an eye out for me #12170
Come Friday the worst of the cold had started to abate so I took the chance to knock out a short, easy run. After so many longer runs, it was weird being back in the “not much more than half an hour” realm.
The weekend was always going to be a tough one for training purposes. In June 2019 we were in the Peak District for a weekend away with all my wife’s friends from uni and families. Little did we know that this would be the last time we would see Pete. Two weeks after we had left, Pete contracted Sepsis and died. We had been due to meet again as a group in May 2020 but C**** hit and after several rearrangements, this weekend we were finally able to all meet up again in Eyam.
The weekend was obviously bittersweet as it was great to see everyone after so long, but there was someone missing. We had a toast to Pete on the Saturday night (never have I seen so many disgusted faces as no one in the room really like Jack D – it was Pete’s favourite!) and it felt fitting given why I am running for The UK Sepsis Trust that we were able to have this so close to race day.
I had originally had visions of completing my last long run up in Derbyshire. I was looking at running the trail, part of which forms Bakewell parkrun. However, we had to be out of the property by 10am and with 12 miles to do, it wasn’t going to work. That should have been fine as we’d be home early enough to do that afternoon. But, despite not drinking (the aforementioned measure of JD withstanding) I had overindulged a bit on curry, pizza etc and after almost 3hrs in the car, a run was the last thing I wanted. It was also the North London Derby and as an Arsenal fan, I was rather pleased not to miss the first half.
Whilst I knew physically I didn’t need to do the 12 miles there was a psychological factor meaning I knew I wanted to complete it. Therfore, I had an early night and got up Monday morning. Having barely run in a week I felt a bit sluggish but still fresh enough and knowing that next time I venture past a few miles, I’ll be in London.
The rest of the week really was just about ticking over. Tuesday was a short speed session that I was able to knock out in my lunch break. After all these long runs, being home in 30mins almost felt like cheating. Then on Wednesday I was back in the gym but with a session much more focused on the upper body and some stretching. No squats this week!
Finally in Wednesday my kit bag arrived for the race. Whilst I appreciate it is a big event to put on, having changed the kit rules, it has been a bit of a fiasco. “You will receive your bag by Friday”, “we’re now expecting bags to drop Monday”, “don’t worry there will be plenty of spares!” I wasn’t too stressed but having to decant a bag at the expo was an added pressure I was glad to be done with.
On the Thursday I was out for another short run round town at lunch. I did go a bit faster than I had planned on but to quote Vassos Alexander on that mornings Virgin Breakfast Show my legs felt “spongy and bouncy!”. I wasn’t sure if I would get a final couple of miles in before Sunday or not but as it was, this marked the end of training for the race. All that is left now is 26.2 miles!
That night it was also time for packing my kit ready to head to the expo on Friday with my friend Claire. I barely slept Thursday night thanks to nerves. Not because of the prospect of the race. No, because we had to produce a negative lateral flow test! After all the disruption and multiple training blocks, it would have been just my luck to have seen a 2nd line on the test. Thankfully, it came back negative so the race is go.
I really wasn’t sure what to expect from the expo but was really pleasantly surprised at how quickly we managed to get through the admin side of things. I was dropping off another friends kitbag and collecting her race number so thought it could take a while. However, the machine was so well oiled, I had managed both bags before Claire had finished hers. It was then through to collect the ever important race numbers. Again we flew through, so much easier than I had feared.
Neither of us wanted to spend too long trapesing around the expo spending money on things we didn’t really need. So after a brief visit to the Make a Wish stand (who Claire is running for) and a coffee we headed out to get some food, and of course some all important photos!
So there ends my marathon training journey. The day before the race my sister is getting married and I am grateful to have something to take my mind off the race. My bag is packed and now all I need to do is get to London on Sunday morning.
Since my very first Marathon Training run on 16th December 2019 I have run a total of 1,654.44km as part of my training plan. As I write this my justgiving page has hit £1,915 which added to the £1,018 we raised when running the #twopointsixchallenge on the original London Marathon date is so much more than I could have envisaged. I am so grateful.
Now all that is left is 26.2 miles around London!
- Monday – Rest Day
- Tuesday – 8x 400m – 6.46km
- Wednesday – Rest Day
- Thursday – Rest Day
- Friday – 7.66km @ 5:00 pace
- Saturday – Rest Day
- Sunday – Rest Day
- Monday – 19.01km @ 5:07 pace
- Tuesday – 10x 200m – 5.16km
- Wednesday – Gym
- Thursday – 5.37km @ 5:03 pace
- Friday – Expo
- Total – 43.66km
- Overall Total – 677.11km