Nervous, excited, filled with trepidation – this is how I’m feeling with only a few days to go until the London Marathon 2017 as you can see from the photo!
I’ve been a little reflective of the last few days about how far I’ve come in training.
The long runs, the races, and the added miles throughout the weeks have not always been easy. I started from a pretty poor base with Parkrun feeling difficult on 1 January.
- I’ve had the occasional gut-wrenching bad run;
- a minor injury (sorted now);
- done numerous races (more in the last few months than I’ve done most years since I started running);
- had highs and lows; and
- for the few runs I’ve missed, I’ve not beaten myself up about it but all the long runs have been done – most by myself, a few at races, a few with others.
And again I have to thank my running buddy, Mary, who has met me for the last 4 or 5 miles of some of my longer runs when I’m really not at my best where I’ve been at the stage where it hurts, I’m tired, I’m a little grumpy.
And I’m happy to have gotten this far. My first marathon was London in 2014 – pretty much a disaster from the start line. In 2015, I signed up for Rotterdam but a slipped disc in my lower back meant that wasn’t going to happen. In 2016, I was again due to run London. A few days before my last long run, I had back issues – while not a slipped disc it was a precursor so I deferred and marshaled instead.
So what’s changed?
1. I’ve taken the pressure off
I’ve got nothing to prove to myself or anyone else. And given the base I started at, I’m realistic about what I can achieve and how many hours I’ll be on my feet.
And yes, there is so much more I could’ve done. I could’ve
- started with a stronger base – both miles and speed;
- lost some weight before beginning this training cycle;
- done a lot more on general strength and conditioning;
- had a better diet;
- drunk less alcohol;
- drunk more water;
- etc etc etc
But I am where I am and that’s fine by me!
This is not going to be a speedy race for me but I will get to the end, hopefully in much better shape than I did in 2014.
Also, I’ve signed up for other races after this so this is not the end of the running adventure. Will I do more road marathons? We’ll see.
2. I know what to expect
In training, I’d done long miles before. I know how it feels to run 20 miles, to keep going when feet hurt and I just want to lie on the ground, have a temper tantrum and cry. That was training for my first marathon. This time, knowing what to expect, I’ve been a little more zen.
And on the day, the London Marathon is intimidating. It’s big, it’s scary, and the marathon is a distance to be respected. But I know the crowds, the excitement, the cheers.
3. Embraced the learning
Over the last few months I have learned so much more about running, nutrition and injury prevention. For once I’ve paid attention to the advice I’ve been given and experimented to see what works for me.
- On running – I started running without listening to music. I’ve corrected my uneven foot strike and my pacing is now much more even. Runs go faster – not in pace but in my head!
- Nutrition – I wrote about a session I went to with Science in Sport. You can read the lessons here. I’ve given gels a go for the first time and they work for me. I tried the carb loading (maybe not so many carbs as I consumed for my 20 miler!) and gotten better on the types of foods I should be eating for better recovery.
- Injury prevention – Finally, finally, I’m doing what my physio has been advising for years. I’ve stretched, I rolled and I’ve done core exercises most days. OK, so it’s 10 minutes worth, but it adds up. I haven’t been plagued by numerous and seemingly random injuries for once. And pilates, once or twice a week since January.
And for how it goes on the day, we’ll see. And the plan, well lots of stuff to plan but the most important, to ENJOY!
And while you’re here
My #reasontorun the London Marathon
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