What a funny old year eh. The coldest winter I’ve literally ever run through seemed to turn, almost instantly, into the hottest summer of all time, or at least that’s how it’s felt. There was no spring. No gradual increase allowing us to begin to acclimatise to it. I got to the start of April still running in hat, thick gloves and baselayer. Since then, give or take the odd couple of days or so, it’s been pretty much 25 degrees plus, day after day after day. And I’ve decided to keep on running right through the middle of it.
The 2018 London Marathon was literally the hardest thing I have ever done, ever. It was, almost from the get go, unrelentingly, leg-shatteringly, teeth-grindingly difficult. The warmest race I have ever run, literally the hottest London Marathon on record. A horrendous experience, almost from start to the eventual finish. So why have I entered the ballot for 2019?
Because, as with last year, it was one of the best experiences of my entire life.
After last month’s little diversion into the world of cycling, or more specifically, the sad story of my total withdrawal from it all, it’s back onto more familiar ground this month with my first running update of 2018.
We’re now well over three months into the new year and although spring is only just starting to fully show itself I’ve already got a race in the bag and I’m staring down the barrel of the second. One down, one to go. A half, then a full. Liverpool, then London.
I’ve done a fair bit of running over the years it’s safe to say, and I know you’re probably sick of me droning on about it, but one thing I’ve never done before as best I can recall, is (if you discount the weekly free parkruns) two events in the same month. October 2017 was the month where it finally happened
The 2014 edition of the City of Salford 10k is, thankfully, still to this day the only time I have ever pulled out of a race on the morning, as a dose of crippling insomnia overnight left me feeling distinctly undercooked ahead of the proposed 6.2 mile sprint around the quayside. Thankfully that had a happy ending as the four others I was due to run with all had a great day at the office, but I still felt like I had some unfinished business to attend to with this one.
The Mancunian response to the tragic events of 22nd May was amazing; stoic, defiant. A city standing together arm in arm, a city united. A city trying to move forward again.
The 2017 edition of the Great Manchester Run would come to be a part of that. We ran for Manchester.
I thought I was prepared for quite how big an occasion this would be, but nothing quite prepared for what turned out to be the most brilliantly horrific three-and-nearly-half hours of my life; my favourite ever race.
I’ve waited over half my life to be part of the London Marathon and it was absolutely one hundred percent worth the wait.
I sit here writing this, winding down the training for one last marathon, the final taper period for the one I thought would always get away from me. I’m nearly there. A week today, I’ll be there. Lining up with 35,000 others in a world major marathon for the first time in my life, an ambition about to be realised.
Over a million people have crossed that finish line on The Mall since the first race in 1981, and all being well by around 2pm next Sunday I will be one of them.
Welcome to the second of my articles aimed at helping you with your marathon training, drawing on personal experience to try and help you avoid some of the pitfalls I’ve stumbled into over the years.
The first one was hopefully of use for those of you who are considering signing up for the full 26.2 mile distance, or have just done so and don’t know where to start with it all. For those of you about to embark on your marathon training though, hopefully this article will help you on your journey.
As I sit here midway through marathon training for my fourth and probably final push at the 26.2 mile distance, I thought now might be a good time to share a few bits and bobs that I’ve learned over the past five or six years since my first effort.
I can’t promise everything I tell you here is the absolute best way to go about things, but I can certainly let you know what has and hasn’t worked for me in the past. I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way but then finally last April I would say I ran probably the best marathon I’m ever likely to run, using all the benefit of what I’d learned over the years. Hopefully, what I know now will be of some use to you too.