I found out on Wednesday that I will be running the 2019 London Marathon. The place come through my company and will be running for WaterAid, a charity closely aligned with the company.
I have been toing and froing about doing another marathon for years. You can read my post following the 2017 ballot results here.
I enter the London ballot every year as a chance to run it is one you can never turn down. I even enter the Berlin ballot this year (unsuccessfully) and was thinking of doing another city marathon somewhere in Europe.
Whilst I’m happy and excited, there is some trepidation about the place. It’s easy to fire off ballot application forms and think nothing of it, as the chances of getting in are slim. But then you’re in and the thoughts of cold, wet long runs come to mind, the anxiety that comes from a missed run or how a marathon can come to dominate your life. What I should be thinking about is running through the line with my hands in the air and a new PB, and that’s what I’ll be focusing on.
In 2008, I finished in 4 hr 27 mins. I believed I prepared well, but think I just ran too slowly. I felt fine throughout the race and probably finished quicker than I started. In 2010, I prepared a lot less and my quads started tightening up at around 6 miles and thought to myself “This one is going to be tough”, but finished only 2 minutes slower in 4 hrs 29 mins. I’m not sure what it was the second time around. Overconfidence. Arrogance as I’d done one before and thought I knew everything. It properly kicked my ass, though and I haven’t done a marathon since.
There’s the piece of advice about doing a marathon, that if you want to avoid disappointment, don’t set yourself a time goal. Following all the training, it’s the easiest way to ruin the big day if you miss it. Since 2010 my 5km, 10km and half marathon times have got quicker, even though I’m getting older. I’m aiming for a time though. I want to go sub 4 hours. I feel I underperformed before, especially in 2008. This time, I’m starting in a better place both physically and from a knowledge point of view.
I’ve run enough races in the last few years to know that consistent training and preparation are the keys to good performance. Also, that the “it will be fine” attitude and marathons do not go together. I’m not going to leave anything to chance. The fitness, strength, flexibility, recovery, nutrition and rest all need to be on point. Mentally I need to be ready, especially knowing that I’ve put the work in and to be confident because of that.
I have BMF, BMF Run Club and the Wimbledon Windmilers sessions to help me along to keep my strength workouts going and my sessions varied. As I posted last week, I intend to make a start now and not relax before Christmas. I will not be posting about my training every week but will be checking in regularly and hope to post some learning’s as I go.
So the 3:59:59 attempt is on and I get to do it on the wonderful streets of London.
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