There’s a strange calm in the final week before a marathon. A sort of limbo time where you realise you’re largely powerless to do anything to affect the outcome. In fact doing anything, save for eating healthily and resting, is more than likely going to be counter-productive. You just have to sit back, relax and hope that everything will be okay come the big day. If you can’t relax you’re probably going to have a pretty crappy week.
Now, I’m far from confident. My training over the past few months has been somewhat erratic to say the least. But I’m far from what you may class as a normal marathon runner. I’m well aware of what a good training plan entails, I know what I should be eating in order to get the right nutrition; I also understand the pain I’ll feel on the day if I’m not ready, I’ve suffered it a few times.
For me it’s a balance though. I run marathons because I want to challenge myself to improve, I want to know I’m fit enough to finish the distance in a good time, but I want to do other stuff as well. In the past four months alone I’ve tried Muay Thai, fencing, climbing, weight training, boxing and even attempted wrestling. Yes that may seem idiotic, yes I could have focused on my running and knocked tens of minutes off of my marathon time, I know this, but I also know I couldn’t have done it any other way. I like running as part of the bigger picture. I love my week to be filled with different types of exercise and activity, otherwise I get bored, and if I get bored, I barely train at all.
That said, I have ran quite a bit. Since Christmas I’ve done seven half-marathons and three 10ks, each one improving on the previous. My 10k time is currently at 42 with my half marathon at 1.37. So I’m in good shape, not my best-ever shape, but not far off. My training distance is only up to 17 miles though, which means I’m going to have a tough few miles on Sunday. I had planned to run the full distance a month before but illness, work and moving house (never move house the week before a marathon, ever) have meant missing a session or two (definitely more).
But marathons are more than just running, it’s about the experiences during your training and the emotions that run through you on race day. And I’ve had a fair few experiences over the past few months; I’ve run through places in London I’ve never been before, I’ve had body composition tests, I’ve undergone physio to fix some niggling issues, I’ve run a load of races and I’ve made a lot of new friends – seriously, like a ridiculous number. Marathons are a busy time, and that’s before you’ve even run it.
I love my week to be filled with different types of exercise and activity, otherwise I get bored, and if I get bored, I barely train at all.
I’ve also, as you can see here, had a few photos done with the extremely nice chaps over at Adidas (who incidentally invited me to join their team) as a memento of my marathon experiences (no, I didn’t have them commissioned myself) as well as training, nutritional advice and various other support to help me out before the big day. So yeah, thanks Adidas, if it wasn’t for you I’d be going another year staring at the runners, dreaming of what it might be like.
So with only a few days to go I’m quietly contemplating race day, running the route through my head, sorting out my kit, working out where I’m going to meet friends afterwards and ultimately trying not to worry about it. I’m also trying to ignore my growing desire to eat piles of McDonald’s and pizza under the excuse that it’s carb-loading.
All that’s left to do now is visit the expo, pick up my stuff, sleep and eat properly. Oh yeah, and move house.
Photo Credits: Adidas