Marathon blues

I’ve got the marathon blues.

Last year’s final few weeks of long training runs were so punishing that I’d made up my mind long before race day that I’d be taking the following year off. More importantly, I then stubbornly stuck to that decision despite the euphoria that followed.

So, I won’t be running London on Sunday, and it will mark my first year in six without a marathon. With my usual home town half in Bath also cancelled this year due to that (first) ridiculous week of spring snow, the only organised runs I’ve been doing are Park Runs.

I’m late to the game with Park Run, I know, and I don’t know what took me so long. Well ok, I think the 9 am Saturday starts probably had a lot to do with it, but I’m over that now. What an amazing way to start the weekend, with proper chip timings, a good crowd and most importantly, they are free and on your doorstep (you’re never too far from a Park Run).

Anyway, it’s reached the inevitable stage where I really wish I was running on Sunday, and am hugely jealous of those that are. I’m an absolute sucker for the emotion of it all. I get tingles of excitement and pulses of adrenaline throughout race week (putting together my playlist, registering at the expo, reading the media build up…), and waves of intense emotion during the race too (I pretty much started full on crying after about 23 miles last year when I found myself right behind a guy with a photo of, I assumed, his late wife on the back of his t-shirt).

I’ll really miss that buzz, but will be doing the next best thing this weekend, and getting to the course nice and early to support a few friends. I have to be honest though, conditions look far better for spectating than running. Research suggests that the optimal marathon day temperature is anywhere from about 4 to 12 degrees celsius, but it’s looking more like 20+ and sunny on Sunday, heating up as the race goes on. I doubt we’ll see the world record threatened in those conditions, and it’s even more important than usual that runners pay very close attention to their hydration status. I would always recommend a little and often approach, prioritising isotonic sports drinks (great for hydrating as well as replacing lost salts), which the London course is usually well stocked with.

But the main bit of advice to all runners, especially first timers, is of course to enjoy it. Enjoy the carb-loading build up (yes there’s a little bit of evidence growing for ketogenic diets in endurance exercise, much of it anecdotal, but carbohydrates rightly remain the mainstay for the vast majority…future blog post right there), enjoy the incredible atmosphere, and enjoy the fantastic sense of achievement. Good luck, and I’ll rejoin you on the start line next year!


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