My approach to training for an event like this is normally quite laid back; a couple of training runs, a few lengths in the pool, try to avoid too many Tikka Masala’s and see what happens on the day. I’ve never run a marathon before, in fact I’ve never run a step further than a 10km before, but how hard can it be? It’s only like doing four and a bit 10k’s back to back isn’t it? Simple!
Now I like to think that I’m fairly fit. I do a fair bit of walking and cycling and I’ve done a few 10k’s in my time, but just at the moment, time is the issue. I like to keep busy, in addition to working at A-Z and running around after two children under four all my remaining ‘spare’ time is used up helping out at a couple of youth activity groups. All this doesn’t leave an awful lot of time for any serious long distance running training and a quick google search of marathon training schedules confirms that I will be woefully under prepared for this. But like I say, it’s only running isn’t it? But just to be clear, I’m not whinging, just getting in my lame excuses for a severe lack of preparation before the race starts.
I accepted Caroline’s challenge of joining the A-Z marathon team because 1) it’s in my contract to take part in any company activity and 2) she sits very close to me and I could never live with the bragging rights she’d have over me if she extended her marathon count to 3-0. I never really had any real aspirations to do a marathon and really only started running once my kids came along and all the spare time that the gym, squash court, golf course (not to mention the Raj Tandoori) used up vanished. Running was easy by comparison and just needed a half decent pair of running shoes to get started. Get the kids to bed, re-enact scenes from Sleeping Beauty or The Gruffalo depending on which child I was attending to (my wife said just reading the book to them would suffice), pop on the running shoes and then hit the streets.
Now I know I can walk 26.2 miles and I’m not intending to run every step of the way so what’s the big deal? The big deal is on the day I know the temptation to run and run fast will be there. I will get competitive; I will spot someone running in front of me and not only try to keep up but to overtake, even if Mo Farah happens to be there.
So eventually I did decide to get started with some kind of training which mainly consisted of lunchtime 3km runs (not including the epic 10km I tried only to end up miles away from the office with a only a couple of minutes left of my lunch hour). But I had a plan; the race was scheduled for October so a 10k in march, half marathon in May, do some regular runs to keep my fitness up and then race – easy! The only trouble was I managed to aggravate a disc in my back around this time leaving me unable to stand up straight (Fig. A) and unable to walk let alone train.
I’d love to say it was an injury sustained on the squash court or even on a recent stag-do in Berlin but embarrassingly it was the relatively simple act of pulling up my swimming trunks before a pre-work swim which left me bent over, I can only apologise to my fellow swimmers who happened to be in that changing room that day. Several painful (not to mention expensive) visits to the chiropractor followed and after a few weeks I was still rocking the Richard III look but slowly my body was returning to something that vaguely resembled human (Fig. B).
So now that I’ve straightened out and close to being back to the perfect male specimen that I was, I can resume (or probably more accurate) start my Bournemouth Marathon training…. Or I may just turn up and wing it!