With the level of training increasing as the Bournemouth Marathon approaches, conventional wisdom suggests that it is a good idea to find a training partner. Someone to work with when it gets tough and motivation starts to be questioned. Part of the idea is that you help each other when one is feeling slightly below par and you work as a team so you don’t let your partner down if you are not exactly relishing your next run. Living some 100 miles away from the rest of the team, Steve was highly delighted when he discovered he knew someone who was also planning to run the Bournemouth Marathon and they quickly decided to train together and even agreed a training plan.
Unfortunately for Steve, it has not proved to be one of his better thought out ideas.
The choice of training partner is quite an important element in the plan. Knowing that someone seems to be a nice person and you see them around a bit are not the only factors that should be considered. Much to his dismay, Steve discovered he had agreed to train with a triathlete 14 years younger than him who causally mentioned on their first run that he had just run a 10 K in 41 minutes the evening before and generally resembled a whippet. Reason enough to terminate the agreement and indeed any friendship for most people, Steve decided to ‘man up’ and stick to the plan. Another of his not very well thought out ideas.
Saturdays have developed a regular routine. Steve wakes early, wishing that it was any other day of the week as it is the day of the weekly long run. After forcing down some sickly ‘energy’ breakfast, the whippet arrives at Steve’s house, having run there ‘to put a couple more miles in the legs’. They then set off together to tackle the route the whippet has chosen, so far ranging between 11 and 18 miles. Running together is not actually an accurate description, the whippet bounds off into the distance and then turns back after about 2 miles to check that Steve is still vertical and moving. Contact established he bounds off again, leaving the poor old chap to plod after him, gradually turning a brighter shade of crimson while moving increasingly slowly.
This pattern continues until eventually the whippet determines that they’ve covered enough distance although by this point Steve has largely forgotten who he is yet alone why he’s doing it. With a look of great concern, the whippet delivers Steve back to his home before bounding of up the hill to do whatever whippets do when they are not running unfeasibly quickly, probably cycling and swimming.
Steve’s wife, who views the whole project as a mid-life crisis, (admittedly a conveniently cheap one) realises that Steve needs to rest and recover. Therefore, she waits for about 15 minutes before presenting him with a long list of jobs that need doing in the garden or suggesting that it would be nice to go for a walk in the Purbecks.
The only consolation from Steve’s perspective is that the whippet is due to go on holiday in August for two weeks. It is fair to say that he has never looked forward to one of his own holidays with such relish as that of his training partner.