The Smiths, capturing my current state of mind quite beautifully there in “Panic” (1988). Marathon training has become some kind of awful, all-consuming beast. I seem to have lost the ability to finish a sentence without some kind of reference to training, recovering, preparing or it being over with. Really it is starting to bore even me so I feel terrible for all those around me. With two weeks to go, an update and a reality check.
Training has not been ideal. I used the official improvers plan off the London Marathon website. This was probably my first mistake, being as I have never actually run a marathon I have nothing to improve upon. The logic was that I was not a beginner runner so I am hoping this will hold fast. Second mistake, not starting the plan until a few weeks in as I didn’t know I was going to be running for a fair while. Maybe this is more of a psychological barrier as the first few weeks are about gaining mileage in the legs so I’m hoping as I wasn’t starting from nothing we can gloss over this as well.
Our wonderful British weather has not been on my side, a few mis-timed snow days coupled with illness, holidays and general trying to have a life have meant my longest run has only been 18 miles. My 20 miles was forfeit last week which has meant I am now in the taper zone. As a marathon novice, I really don’t know how much of an impact this could have. By sticking to the rest of the plan and keeping things ticking over I am hoping the impact will be minimal and perhaps again more psychological. My mind keeps flicking back to March last year, if I can do the Edale Skyline (21 miles, 4k of ascent) with even less training then I can hopefully get around 26.2 flat miles.
Panic is also a real fear, I’ve felt it in a few races in the past and had to slow down whilst having a word with myself. For me I think it is brought on by the simple exertion you are putting your body under in a race which pretty much mimics how panic feels. Racing heart, hot, sweaty, breathless, a little light headed. Given too much thought this can lead to the misinterpretation that you are in fact in a state of panic. Quite common in runners apparently, and quite debilitating as you can imagine. Staying positive and calm, and probably pretty distracted by the spectacle of the day will hopefully keep me on track. Forgetting about the pressures of pace and time and trying to just relax and enjoy the experience should also help. As my first foray into the marathon and in one so busy as this, I think time is going to be low on my priority list here.
So fuelled by Clif Shot Bloks and water, tried and tested in training of course, I hope to not only just get around but enjoy the experience. So many runners are disappointed by not getting a successful ballot entry that the least I can do is make the most of my Championship place and try to enjoy myself a little.
Happy running x