I can’t believe it’s just a few days until 20,000 of us will be lining up for the start of the Barcelona marathon. I’ve been training hard for 16 weeks, and hopefully on Sunday all the early morning long runs and hard interval sessions around the infamous St. Georges Park in Wandsworth (running isn’t exactly a glamour sport) will pay off.
I thought I’d write a little summary of how things have gone in the last few months as well as provide a bit of information for how to track me on the day.
16 weeks – training started on the 23rd of November
Miles per week: 71, 74, 76, 70, 84, 80, 80, 74, 87, 80, 70, 84, 61, 63, 60, 55
Average miles per week: 73
# runs of 20 miles or more: 6
# of PBs: Two
One minor calf strain – had to skip one long run (22 miler)
It’s definitely been without doubt the best build up I’ve ever had before a marathon. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not – it certainly means I won’t be able to use the excuse that I didn’t train hard enough if things go pear shaped on race day.
In the past, I’ve struggled to resist racing on most weekends in the build up to the main event, but this time I’ve held back and only raced a couple of times, with the hope that I’ll have saved my best effort for the race itself.
I started training back at the end of November, and keeping the sessions up over the Christmas period was difficult, but also gave me a great excuse to eat as much as I wanted over the holidays – maybe I’ll have to make the 20 mile boxing day run a yearly tradition…
There was another first for me – I ran for over 100 consecutive days, right from November the 23rd all the way up until this Tuesday. I felt like my legs had earned a nice little break in race week, but I don’t feel as if I’ve suffered from not having the time off. I’ve just kept the easy runs real easy and I think my legs are in a better position as a result, and I never really suffered from any soreness.
Another thing that’s changed from my normal marathon training is the incorporation of some core strength work in the ‘Home Gym’ (which in reality has been various living room floors in the rented flats we’ve been living in – practically keeping the removal men of South London in business). On average, I’ve done 2-3 sessions per week of planks, crunches, press-ups and other macho activities. I think this has really helped my running, and it’s definitely something I’ll keep up in the future.
Quite amazingly, the last time I checked I’ve still got a girlfriend, which means she hasn’t got fed up of me running every single morning just yet. It probably helps that she’s running on Sunday too (there are even rumours of a guest blog post-race). I’ve also started a new job and managed to bore my work colleagues to death with all my running chat – although it seems to have rubbed off as a few of them seem to have caught the bug!
So, onto the day itself – we’re flying out really early on Saturday morning and heading straight to the expo to pick up race numbers and get all that sorted. There’s around 10 of us taking part so we’ve hired a big apartment in the centre of town. Quite a few our group are first time marathon runners so it’ll be great to be able to share in that experience with them (nothing beats your first marathon finish).
The race starts at 7.30am UK time, and you can actually track my progress by downloading the official app – just type in ‘Barcelona Marathon’ to the app store on your mobile. I’m hoping this will provide splits on my progress every 5 kilometres. Failing that, I believe there’ll be live results on the Barcelona marathon website (http://www.zurichmaratobarcelona.es/eng/). My race number is 161.
A fair few people have been asking me about my goals for the day. I know some people are reluctant to share things like this, in case things don’t go well and it then looks like they’re just talking themselves up beforehand. However, I’m of the opinion you’ve got to nail your colours to the mast and then be held accountable if things don’t go well.
Everyone knows I want to run a marathon in under 3 hours, and have done ever since I ran 3 hours 30 minutes in Paris nearly 2 years ago. But I also think it’s better to have more than one goal so you can adjust to how things are going on the day – after all a marathon is a bloody long way, and a lot can happen/go wrong. So I’ve got an A, B and C goal;
A – Under 2.55. This would be a dream situation if everything went right.
B – Under 3 hours. This is what all the training has been for, and ultimately I’ll be over the moon if I can get a marathon time starting with a 2. It’s something I couldn’t have even imagined possible about 12 months ago.
C – Under 3.05. My current personal best is 3.06 something, so this would be a new personal best and also qualify me automatically for the next 2 London Marathons (assuming they don’t change the time this year, which I suspect they might well do!)
One things for certain, I’ve left no stone unturned in this training cycle and will give it absolutely everything come race day – I plan to use every last drop of energy to get me over that finish line.
On a closing note, the marathon definitely isn’t the most important event of the weekend. My great mate James Bosher (who has featured heavily on some of these pages in the past) is getting married to Clare the day after the race in Mexico amongst a small group of family and friends. I wanted to wish them both all the best for what I’m sure will be a very happy rest of your lives together, and look forward to celebrating with you both at the party when you get back.
The time for talking is over, it’s now time to drag myself round 26.2 miles as quickly as my stumpy little legs can carry me. Vamos!