Three weeks to go, and I’ve run all I can

BESIDES hiring a stunt double to run the 26.2 miles for me, there is now nothing more I can do to hone my endurance skills before the 2014 Brighton Marathon.

'Ferry far away | On my most recent long run, I made it as far as Westferry. Nope, me neither. (Image | Adrenalin Advertising)
‘Ferry far away | On my most recent long run, I made it as far as Westferry. Nope, me neither. (Image | Adrenalin Advertising)

Having completed my final long run, a particularly energy-sapping 21.3-mile slog to the faraway land of Westferry and back, my distances will get no longer until the big day itself.

If anything, not having to pound the pavements for three hours is a relief, and having to taper, otherwise known as reduce the amount of training I am doing, is fairly welcome.

Some runners will find it extremely difficult to cut back, particularly those that have been unlucky with injuries and forced to postpone, or even abandon, their training plans.

Not only this, but the idea of easing off flies in the face of the “run harder, faster, stronger and longer” mantra that us carb-loading, distance-obsessed runners supposedly follow.

There are aspects of the athlete’s lifestyle that appeal to me greatly, namely eating as though a global shortage is imminent

The other weekend I attended a brilliant training day at the home of my charity of choice, the wonderful Alzheimer’s Society, in sunny Wapping, led by Nick Anderson of Running With Us.

It is fair to say that, while I still struggle to fit in the requisite amount of strength and conditioning training and always wonder whether I am doing the myriad of stretches right, having genuine professional advice is a godsend.

Which leads me on to my next point: Can I, as a marathoner-to-be, now call myself an athlete on the basis that I occasionally drink Powerade and carry around those gels that taste like gone-off liquefied sweets?

Although the glamour and prestige of our Olympic heroes is unlikely to be festooned upon me by friends and colleagues, there are several aspects of the athlete’s lifestyle that appeal to me greatly.

Firstly, eating as though a global shortage is imminent. As a foodie, which many runners, perhaps unsurprisingly, seem to be, I have found (almost entirely) giving up the empty calories of cake, milk chocolate, pastries and puddings rather difficult.

It has, on the upside, allowed my carbohydrate intake to go through the roof, but eating plate after plate of pasta or rice, you long for something slathered in cheese and served with red wine.

Talking of alcohol, it was a huge relief to hear Tom Craggs, another Running With Us expert, reassure the panicked room that we needn’t reintroduce prohibition over the next 23 days.

Tom did, unsurprisingly, point out that having a skinful the night before a long run was probably not the best idea. But we probably knew that already, didn’t we? Even if we didn’t want to say it out loud?

With three weeks remaining until the big day, I feel this is a perfect time to thank those that have contributed to my fundraising and astounded me with their generosity and kindness.

Perhaps, as I have been told was the case for some, it was a previous blog that revealed my reasons for taking on this challenge that inspired them to donate. My family, naturally, have not been given a choice in the matter.

Whatever encouraged the flurry of sponsorships that landed on my JustGiving page over a manic seven-day period from February 25, it was a massive boost for my training and extremely heartwarming. I cannot overstate my gratitude.

If you would still like to donate, my page remains up and running, rather like its owner, with lofty ambitions (my 3.30 to four-hour target time, its to jump from £846 to £1,000) and an unshakeable determination to raise as much money as possible for a magnificent charity.

Have your say | Tweet the author | @chriskking

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