Your sun so bright it leaves no shadows
Only scars carved into stone
On the face of Earth
U2 – March 1987
If I think hard enough, I can probably remember each and every one. Not just my marathons, each of which are easy enough to recall, but the long runs which go before, which form the basis of any training campaign. Those twenty-milers which lie at the far end of all those long weeks of running.
2004. A year all about rain. And one glass of grapefruit squash.
It’s a year since I wrote about the first long run of my 2004 London Marathon campaign. A wet and miserable winter run which uncovered some forgotten history on a wooded bluff above the River Wey. A line of tank traps forming the last line of defence for London against a Second World War invasion which never took place.
It was an unexpected and thought-provoking find, and I’ve learned a lot more during my running year of 1 000 miles since then. A year unlike any other I’ve run through.
… could make a welcome Christmas gift. But the arrival through the post at last on Saturday, of a consolation London Marathon rainjacket provides the unwelcome confirmation that I don’t have a ballot place in next year’s event.
That, and the yellow writing plastered all over the magazine packed inside. Just in case I was in any doubt.
If marathon training is full of contradictions, then it should be no surprise that rather than building relentlessly towards race day, the last three weeks actually comprise a taper of easing training levels, designed to build up strength before the race itself.
It’s certainly good to take things a little easier after the exertions of some tough training weeks.
But sometimes I feel that it’s taken fifteen weeks to get progressively fitter, and that these three weeks will simply be enough to lose all that fitness again.
Fortunately, I know that this feeling places me right on track. The taper may not be the hardest part of a marathon training programme, but the experts say it is definitely the most important. Continue reading
My computer hard disk crashed yesterday, which seemed appropriate. It wasn’t the only hardware that was suffering.
The Bath Half Marathon last week gave me a useful opportunity to experience the thrill of racing again, and to assess my fitness levels.
The appalling weather also offered a good ‘dry run’ (if that’s the correct word) for running a race in the wet, if that’s the weather which should be served up by the London Marathon.
A successful day, but I’ve paid for it since. My legs have been stiff and heavy. My motivation’s been tested, and found wanting. Hell, I felt tired. I still do.
It was marvellous to meet Steve Cram once, at the Buckingham Fountain in Chicago before the marathon.
Then, a few weeks ago at the school Christmas production, Roger Black sat down only two seats in front of me.
‘Excuse me, you don’t know me, but…’
No, it wasn’t going to work, so I sat there silently and tried to remember.