Posted by: Leonie Brown22/01/2010
I succumbed to the London Marathon shop this week. Could probably have popped to any department store and spent half as much on a second set of gear – necessary to avoid washing machine burnout when you’re running this much – but that didn’t have quite the same lure.
Perhaps it’s the specialist shop’s huge digital countdown to the main event (3 months, 2 days, 23 hours, 35 minutes and 29 seconds as I write) over the door that adds an appealing sense of occasion and persuades gullible runners to part with their cash.
But it turns out there’s more than shiny trainers and breathable thermals on offer. The shop assistant, with two marathons to his name, had a top tip: ‘enjoy it’. Nice advice, but not all that practical. As a marathon novice, in order to ‘enjoy it’ on the day I feel I need some serious training pointers beforehand: how far and how often should I be running, what should I be eating, where are the best routes, and so on?
Pushed a little further the assistant did admit that he did ‘hardly any’ training for his first marathon and that this had ‘not been a good idea’.
‘The more 20-mile runs you do beforehand, the better,’ he said. Now we’re talking, proper insider-knowledge. ‘Listen to your body, don’t overdo it. And on the day listen to the crowd, they will get you round.’
Listen to your body has been a common piece of advice from the marathon old-timers whose views I’ve canvassed. Currently my body is saying: ‘Whoa, what’s going on? We never used to do this much exercise, not sure I like it.’
Another popular tip has been to increase my mileage by no more than 10 per cent each week. My first properly long run – 12 very soggy but satisfying miles along Regent’s Canal on Saturday – threatened to blow that aim apart this week. But then the body piped up moaning about a troubling left instep, sore hamstrings and general fatigue and the week’s planned mileage quickly dipped.
With a posh new running outfit to show off though, next week there’ll be no excuses. The body will just have to keep schtum.
Leonie’s run rate
Miles since 1 Jan: 57.8
Number of people I’ve managed to impress with that figure: too few
Cash spent on probably unnecessary running gear in the hope of looking the part: too much
Caroline’s run rate
Miles since 1 Jan: 50
Mantra of the week: ‘In 3 months it will all be over’
From Home run
Tracking the progress of Inside Housing staff and others running the London Marathon for the Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust