I’m not going to play this down, I’m pretty excited about finally getting a place in the London Marathon (thanks Adidas). I’ve ran five marathons now; Amsterdam, Paris, Munich, Brighton and Madrid but, for the most part, I chose to do these because I didn’t get into London.
Each of them had their positives and negatives. Madrid was amazing to run through but very tough, Paris was a last minute thing so I had no supporters and Brighton was easy to get to but I ended up finding the route boring after doing a couple of more exciting ones I’d done. I’ve watched London a couple of times whilst friends ran it. I stood at the side outwardly smiling and waving, but on the inside I was desperate to take part.
There are many reasons why I, like most other runners, want to do London. Firstly, it’s close to my house. Yes that might seem like a lazy reason to want to do a marathon but trust me, when you’re taking part in a big race, waking up in the comfort of your own flat is a wonderful feeling. When travel abroad for a race there are so many things to consider; transport links, breakfast, spending an extra night in the hotel, meeting people. It all adds up and detracts from the matter in hand. Secondly my family and friends will come to watch me, not that I’m in any way an emotional man, but I do feel a sense of competition when I know people are watching me. Perhaps the most important reason however is the fact I run these streets all the time, it’s my home turf, every other marathon I’ve done has been like an away game. If I’m ever going to get a good time it’ll be in London.
Over the past few years my marathon training plans have always been lacking in focus. The main reason for this is because, as many friends have commented on, I have far too many fitness hobbies. The result is that effectively training for a marathon, as well as maintaining a number of other activities, means that my life becomes somewhat one-sided. When this happens the running becomes the easiest thing to skip.
That’s not to say I don’t train. I was in great shape for Madrid, and although I didn’t particularly have a plan per se, my long distance running was probably the best it’s ever been. My times at marathon distance have never been particularly exemplary although I managed to knock of five minutes from my previous time, finishing in 3.39. Not bad considering Madrid is essentially just a load of relentless hills.
This year I’m setting myself 3.25 – not an amazing time but an achievable one if I actually pull my finger out and train. Then who knows? Maybe in another few years I’ll break the 3 hour mark.
So over the next few months I’ll be trying to work out a plan that fits into my schedule. I’ll speak to various people about my diet, my VO2 max, my lack of stretching, my running kit and I’ll attempt to make sure I don’t skip training runs or do too many HIIT sessions.
If you have any tips, suggestions or just want to tell me I’m being lazy then let me know on Twitter.