I wrote my first blog back in February about why I am running the 2017 London Marathon and why I’m raising money for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). I am now less than 48 hours from the start line, something that excites and terrifies me in equal amounts.
I thought I would share how my training has gone and some of the unexpected moments, of which there have been a few…
The first thing to say is that the training is tough. I did know this before I started, but chose not to think about it too much - ignorance is bliss as they say. It’s tough because the schedule is relentless and, for amateur runners like myself, there isn’t any let up (in theory) during this schedule. Other runners are fantastic sources of help, support and advice but hearing about their runs and mileage did lead me to question whether I was doing enough.
I had a plan. It involved running 3 - 4 times a week, long runs on a Sunday, every week from January to the start of April. I learnt that to get up and run first thing in the morning is great. It means you get the run done and you can enjoy that feeling for the rest of the day. My best running experiences were on these early morning runs, pre-dawn, sometimes at sub-zero temperatures but you don’t feel the cold once you get going. I’ve seen the sun rise and play with the mist rising from the Thames running into Richmond, I’ve felt like the only person in the world running across a pure white and frozen Bushy Park. These were unique moments, serene, uplifting and beautiful, not something I was expecting to experience and definite highlights of my training.
So although my legs felt sore and I wasn’t sure whether I was running far enough, January and February went well. I can tell you I ran 62 miles in January and 100 miles in February. The problem was sore legs, in particular, my right leg starting to ache a bit even when I wasn’t running.
At this point in my adventure, I discovered the joys of sports massage and tight clothing (not combined). I was fortunate to find Jules, an osteopath living 2 minutes away from me who could examine, refresh and advise me on how to better care for my legs, mainly through stretching. Her other sage advice, which others had also told me was to run slower and put less stress through your body. Then tight clothing, or to be more precise, a pair of calf constrainers have helped stop the pain in my legs and I can walk normally again!
So in March, all was good, until one Saturday run when I felt something funny at the top of my right leg. I got home and tried to ignore it. This one was different to other training twinges, it didn’t go away and although I gamely tried to run on it a few days later, I couldn’t. Six weeks before the marathon and I couldn’t run, this wasn’t in my plan!!!
I went to see Jules who believes I tweaked a hamstring, but that it should be fine in a few days (phew). I ended up taking 10 days off running, where every day my goal was to wake up and go for a run, this was unbelievably frustrating. I’m back in the game, and although I’ve run less in March than originally planned - 86 miles in total including one 20 mile run - I needed the rest period. Come April and the plan was run less, tapering they call it, and get ready for the race.
I’m ready!!! I cannot wait for Sunday. The support and encouragement I’ve received from friends and family has been amazing, it’s a super uplifting experience and something I would recommend to anybody.
If you want to sponsor me please do at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/RobertPyke
21 April 2017