Recovery…

Post-marathon recoveries are tricky things to get right. After London in April, I abandoned the sport for a fortnight, then ran 30 miles in the following three days. My body was all at sea. There was an illustration of how not to recover after a marathon. After the Lakeland Trails Marathon  in July, I was running sections of the…

2.50.23

Marathons are cruel. They slowly but surely destroy participants, emotionally and physically. They wear down the mind, eat away at thoughts, until pre-race aspirations, hope, motivations are smashed. All that is left is a desire for this suffering to be over, and quickly. They wear down the body, finding little niggles that become groaning aches, before…

When time is all that matters

There was an advert – for Lucozade, I think – at Custom House, the DLR station for ExCel, that read: ‘ When all you think about for 3,29 is 3,29.’ What runner could not empathise with that? There lies a runner’s obsession: time. Tsegaye Kebede wants to break the world record tomorrow, dipping under 2,04 in the process….

26.2

The gun of the 2011 marathon is now a mere two days and 15 hours away, according to the countdown clock on the VLM website. I took a trip to ExCel today to pick up my number. This might be my fifth London, but I still feel a tingle of nervous excitement when I hear The Trap –…

Body falling apart

I knocked out 222 miles in February, 13 fewer than January (a month that was, however, three days longer). As you can see, I’ve become pedantic about mileage. My London Marathon training of years gone by has traditionally flagged in February, my efforts plagued by injury or plunging motivation. Not this year, it seems. Not so far. With the marathon now six-and-a-half…

Roding Valley half-marathon

There are plenty of pre-London Marathon half-marathons to test one’s mettle: Bath, Brighton, Fleet, Reading, Silverstone. Unfortunately, they are/were all fully subscribed. Hence I found myself in Essex  today, taking part in the 29th annual edition of the Roding Valley half-marathon. After running a short loop around Woodford, we commenced a long loop, with the…

The pain game

I’ve had various brushes with sports therapists over the years – the consequence of bursting the fluid on a knee cap, general knee pain (tight IT band to blame), plantar fasciitis (five weeks before a marathon), scar tissue on the soleus and badly bruising a knee cap (the other one) in a fall on snowy ground. So…

January – a month of mileage

Marathon training continues apace; the prospect of a comfortable sub-three hour time becoming ever likelier. I covered 235 miles in January, which included weeks of 45, 49, 55 and 59 miles. The pattern was not deliberate. The month culminated with the South of England cross country championships, a nine-mile battle of attrition and mud around…

Pain by the Thames

No more dreams. Only the grim reality of a five-mile Surrey League fixture at Ham, a muddy cross-country on the banks of the River Thames. These Surrey League races are fast and frenetic; it is no wonder when runners of the ilk of Phil Wicks – a man who can run a sub-29 minute 10k…

Sub-3 – seventh time lucky?

Having ran four Flora’s, it is time for a Virgin. The London Marathon on April 17 – 14-and-a-half weeks away – will be my seventh attempt at the 26.2-mile distance. The marathon, however, has been my nemesis, a constant bridge too far. I ran 3,40s in my first two races during a period when times concerned me…