In summary, here was my marathon training diary from 2011. I kind of only planned the big distances, mainly basing them around and wanting to be able to run a distance of approx 20miles one month before the actual marathon date. Running is different for everyone, my only tip really is do try to get the big distance 2-3 hour runs done – the 10,16 and 20milers – they are tough and somewhat daunting, but try to keep relaxed, take it easy and just do them. You’ll look back and find them well worth it on the day. Looking back now, it’s amazing what you can actually do.
TOOK 5hours right on, well 5:01:20 to be precise!! whoop whoop 🙂
To Your Marks
Woke up wide awake and somewhat hyper at 5:15am, but forced myself to lay in bed trying to rest and got up at 6:40am just after my alarm went off. Had my Shreddies, but was too nerve-racking to eat the eggs and bacon I’d cooked the night before, so only ate bit of the eggs and made sandwiches. Caught Wimbledon to Waterloo train, along with loads of other marathoners and we then took the packed Waterloo East train to Greenwich station.
Wandering through Greenwich Park at 8:30am to the marathon area was quite a sight with the thousands of other runners all getting ready with their red Virgin London Marathon kit bags and brightly coloured shirts. As it was so warm I took off the bright red £3 top I’d bought from TK Max the day before (they suggest buying a cheap top to throw away if it’s a cold start) and showing off my running number of 46685 walked into the runners area to be greeted by Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now.
Still a bit tired, sat in the park listening to the funny Geordi announcer guy and ate my egg/bacon sandwiches + some crisps and Muller Rice pudding 🙂 before noticing it was getting very close to 9:45am. So following a bunch of runners, I walked through a fence opening to the start line queue. Looking around, downing a Gatorade, I seemed to be surrounded by this bunch of very fit 3:30hr club athleteswell except for the guy in the big furry outfit a few metres behind me
The race started and off we went, took about 10mins to cross the starting line and was very exciting and great feeling from the start.
Wanted to pace myself with about 10 or 11minute miles, which I stuck to rather well. Got overtaken by millions of people for the first few miles, including Horny Paul the Rhino, but this didn’t really concern me as I had an idea I’d catch up with many of them later on, which I indeed did, including poor Horny Paul the Rhino just before 21miles where upon he looked rather hot , tired and bedraggled (massive respect to him). Fellow Save the Rhino runner Dave Curnick also said hi on the way 🙂
Running over Tower Bridge 12.5milesRunning The Race Words cannot describe how good the crowd were – their cheers really do keep you going, they give you motivation like nothing else. Also just knowing your friends are out there is a great boost. What is awesome too is that for the first 12 miles or so the roads are a bit more open and the thousands of people lining the route and cheering are just wonderful. Tons of kids/randoms hold their hands out and you can slap them a high or low five as you go past. Thanks to them all hugely. Big thanks to Terry too for telling me to put my name on my shirt, as you run along people sometimes shout your name and again it just keeps you going like you wouldn’t believe.
Seeing my friend Ben Hall at Surrey Quays 8.5miles in and his shout of ‘James Reed’ and then again at Tower Bridge and again at 21 miles was off the planet, mate that was someting else. Also the Rachel + Gina shouting like maniacs along with dad and his rhino placards and the rest of the family at 11.5mile mark in Bermondsey ruled and then on the Embankment, so good, so surprising and so enlivening.
The live music played along the way and the loud speaker music is also MASSIVE help, so good of the clubs/pubs/people to do that. Put it this way at one point, we’re talking about 22miles, they were playing Jump Around and I actually jumped past them it was so energizing, yeah at 22miles, lol.
The mile markers really do help too, really did find myself counting them down. Found the worst mile was mile 15, you’re a bit past half way and the going is starting to get tougher, it’s less populated, plus it was on somewhat of a hilly area and I desperately wanted to hit 16 (prob cos of the Epsom run). Once you hit 16 you know it’s two miles til 18 and once there it’s only 8 miles to go which should be possible, even walking.
The weather was warm, sunny and hot at points, nice suntan in the end, but cool enough to run (officially described start as ‘perfect conditions’) but I must’ve literally drunk about 10litres of water, I had countless bottles of water + lucuzade sports drinks handed out on the way and must’ve just sweated it out. The sports gels were also incredible. I’ve never tried a sports gel (liquid carbohydrates + glucose) before but they had Lucuzade gel stations at 14miles and 22miles, so I tried them and the result was remarkable, just seemed to propel you along.I also carried one of them(third taken at 23miles + at 24miles) and a couple of carbo-bars with me(consumed at 9 and 18 miles) which helped push me onwards.
At the finish 26miles 385yardsCrossing The Finish Line
Whereas many say they can’t feel their legs the last 6 miles, I actually picked up speed during the last 3 miles(seriously surprised at my own fitness), I mean I was properly running it, hitting 11kmph apparently. Meant I overtook hundreds of people, including some really old and some really in-trouble runners and Sprinted over the finish line!
Received my medal, goodie bag and got one of those silver foil capes I’ve wanted pretty much my whole life and was one of the main reasons I did this thing Then hanged out with the Save the Rhino team, thanks so much Adam and Lucy you guys are the best, had a leg massage from two very nice blondes and was met and greeted by the old folks, Gina, Stephen, the Rachel, Ben, Henry, Jackie and the QRC bunch. I waited until the last Rhino came in (about 7:30hrs, a lady who’d run the Brighton marathon the week before!) and then headed to Wagamamas for a chicken Katzu curry. The finale being a pint of Guinness with Mr.Hall in Wetherspoons in Wimbledon! Zzz
Other Highlights Of The Race
My running battle/war with none other than Mickey Mouse! the pesky mouse kept repeatedly running fast, overtaking me, then slowing down a bit and so I’d overtake him, then the menacing mouse would do the same again and I couldn’t do anything cos the crowd loved him and kept shouting “Mickey!” all the time!
Being chased by a tiger, he was very funny
Racing a couple of Elvis’s
Being well overtaken by Dino the dinosaur and the Flintstones, then seeing them doing some interview later on.
Seeing the guy in the green Tinkerbell fairy outfit who was kicking a football all the way
Seeing the two firemen walking at about 12miles in FULL UNIFORM + BOOTS, they must’ve been ahead of me by a good way until then! wow!
The Knights in full armour jogging past me at points.
Txting facebook and friends “At 24miles!” when gone through the tunnel at 24 miles 🙂
Seeing a big hairy Lion right at the end
Watching the Rhinos come in – wo those guys are crazily brave running in those things!
Lots of other moments…
I have to say the whole thing was organised extremely well from start to finish and All in all was a brilliant brilliant day!
Finally thanks again to super runner + running expert Nico, all credit to him for telling me to run this thing in the first place!
And so my London Marathon 2011 training blog warms down to a close, thanks for reading 🙂
Attended the most excellent London Marathon Expo at the Excel exhibition centre in the docklands to pick up my marathon number, IPCO tag and to eat pasta at the Pasta Party! turned out to be rather good, lots of running equipment / food / holiday / foreign marathon exhibitors. Saw Mike Gratton the 1983 London Marathon winner again and met Iwan Thomas (the blonde/ginger guy who’s the British 400m record holder). The Pasta Party wasn’t quite what I expected, very nice meal, but not a huge amount of pasta tbh lol.
Bought a £5 Runners World belt bag to carry gels and carbo-energy bars when running + ended up buying a couple of SIS GO carbo energy bars (apple & blackcurrent + chocolate/orange) and a CLIF BLOKS gel bar + oh and some socks. Well actually ended up buying some rather expensive Falke RU4 Cushion running socks and then bought an even more expensive pair of Sky Run X-Socks, after this guy told me some European Olympic team use them or something, apparently they wick the sweat from your feet to your heel, have to admit these X-Socks did sound pretty incredible. Yesterday I bought some gel Sof Sole Massaging Gel insoles for my trainers and a couple of pairs of twin skin Hilly socks from Blacks that are meant to prevent blisters. Well this is kinda desperate times folks, it’s 26miles on Sunday.
P.S. Since yday and the trainers trouble, flippin heck the nerves have been kicking in.
Despite the success of the Epsom run I seemed to have bruised my knee, that's why I've been resting the past week and a half, yes, yes I know the marathon's only on Sunday, but I haven't had much choice. Tried to go for a run other day and couldn't, seems to also be something to do with my trainers. Thought I need a new pair, so did the 'wet test' on my feet and seems my arch is fine and should be able to wear any trainer at all really, so bit confused. As I was driving through East Sheen the other day saw the shop Up & Running, so yday went there with John from the tennis club and ended up doing the Gait Analysis thing, whereby the video you running on a treadmill and pick a good pair of trainers for you, have to say the staff guy was excellent. Apparently my old trainers weren't great for my ankles and I ended up buying a pair of New Balance 858's – it was either them or a pair of Brooks, which also seemed good.
ANYWAYS, minor mistake on that. They are good trainers, I think for shorter runs, but they seem a little bit too big for me and cause me to run on my heel instead of my toes, which is my usual running style. I ran about 9 miles up to Tibbets corner as usual, to the Richmond Park corner and then back into the common by the rugby ground and back into Wimbledon and back home down Ridgeway Place and round Dundonald Park couple of times and home, BUT I WAS SHATTERED! it was mental. running on my heels/mid-foot style in the New Balances, which were also significantly heavier than the Nikes, must take a lot more energy and gave my calves a big workout, when I stopped, I realised there was NO WAY I'd be able to cover 26miles using those trainers as 9miles was hitting my limit! BUT WHAT TO DO??? the marathon is on Sunday, I've no option to run in my old trainers, least I should be able to complete the distance, perhaps I'll just take painkillers and walk oh well.
Due to lots and lots of work and tiredness, didn't get a chance to do much running for about a week and a half. With the Marathon a few weeks away now, decided I need a proper training run and what better than to do the Epsom 16 mile again!! in case I didn't make it clear, that first Epsom run (~16.5miles) was the toughest run I've ever done, perhaps the toughest exercise I've ever done, think I hit the proverbial wall due to all the hills esp Hillcross Avenue at the end. I remember there was pretty much nothing left in the tank as I staggered across Kingston Road from Mostyn on to Dundonald Park to stretch down. ANYWAYS, this time was slightly different!! I paced the run a lot better, I found myself at Epsom in about 1:10hrs about 5mins quicker than last time. I bought a Lemon Spring water drink and a Muller rice pudding, ate that and jogged back. The uphill out of town past that X pub was still a bit of a slog, but I got out of there and found Malden Road from Cheam village to be nothing like the never-ending nightmare it had been the first time. Heading back to Morden and then Beverly Roundabout and Hillcross Avenue also wasn't as bad, found myself counting the hills and while being careful it wasn't too bad. Getting to Merton Park I actually sped up and even finished with a sprint down Mostyn Road! there seemed a lot left in the tank, which was very surprising. Wandered down to the tennis club to stretch down. Took about 3:25hrs(or 3:30hrs can't remember) which was also a good 20mins quicker than last time.
Clocked up another 7-8 miles, pushing it a bit esp at the start, up the notoriously steep Edge Hill and around past the infamous rival Westside Tennis Club and then the new Michelin star chef'd Fox & Grapes then onto the common and to Tibbets corner and back, sprinting to the end 🙂 About an 1:08hrs or so.
Whoosh!! 20miles to Esher and back. Due to work and other 'commitments' haven't had a chance to do quite as much running as I wanted, but when I heard Ben & Laura were doing an 18miles on Saturday, thought it was time to step things up, to put the Nike's to the road and what better run than to go to my favourite place Esher and back! Set off towards Raynes Park via Chase Alley, then to Kingston via Coombe lane, along the one way system to the river, along the left side (partly along the nice park toepath bit by the Thames) until Thames Ditton and then into Esher. Past Esher Common and into the town, turn left at the pub where the Rachel and I used to go sometimes, down that road, then all the way to the West End Common area carpark. I'd set off late afternoon and it was pitch dark by the time I reached here, lol, but here's a fine photo from it. After that headed back into Esher, bought a Lemon + spring water drink and couldn't resist the special offer rice puddings on sale! ironically Mike Gratton had recommended eating these, so had good excuse 🙂 I'd started combining running for say 40mins then walking a tiny bit and running again and at this half way point, I devoured the rice pudding whilst briskly walking along and then set off again in the direction of Hampton Court this time. Finally got there, despite not really knowing the way and it being very dark and then followed the wall back to Kingston. Over the bridge into the town centre, past the phone boxes, fighting fatigue I powered onwards up Coombe Hill and Coombe lane into Raynes Park and back to Wimbledon and home!! it was a strange feeling having run that kind of distance in 3:47hrs! and strangely to be honest it wasn't that bad, the 16.5mile a few weeks ago over all them hills seemed a LOT tougher, man that was tough, perhaps near my limit. Anyways as the park was closed, wandered into the tennis club to stretch things out (legs needed a lot of stretching out!). Mike Knepsl casually asked me where I'd been, oh just ran to Esher and back, yeah about 20miles I replied, you don't do things by halves do you he said, was very funny.
Well that's pretty much the biggest run I'm doing until the marathon itself ticked off! 🙂
UPDATE: Stair walking the next day was great fun (read:bit of a mission), legs took about 3-4 days to recover properly.
Ran 14 miles. Set off, said hi to Roger Tagholm outside his house on the way to the common and Tibbet's Corner, up over Kingston Hill round to New Malden, Cambridge Road, all the way to the roundabout, down Burlington Lane passing the Krispy Kreme doughnut place (a particular highlight of this run) into Raynes Park and back to Wimbledon. Was pretty easy going and surprisingly quicker than expected, wanted to crack 2:05mins and ended up having to run all over the shop at the end, saw Roger T again couple of times as I did a loop of Dundonald Park, he was a bit stunned I think to see me still runnning nearly 2hrs later 🙂 then into Wimbledon finishing outside Queens Road Church in the end. Funnily ran into tennis star Kiwi Jo as I walked back into Wimbledon from there, so if you want to know what I'm like after a 14mile run and high on a sea of endomorphins, just ask her hehe 😉
Click here for roughly the route <did run down Chase Alley but not on Google Maps!>
Had a couple of very busy weeks, so only managed to get in one short 30mins run last Friday (25th Feb) and a 7 miler tonight. Up the very steep Edge Hill and up to Tibbet's Corner and back down the hill via Murray Road.