Thursday, 21 February 2013

The Long Road Ahead...2 Months To Go

Hasn't time flown by? It's been 6 months since I 'won' a place in this year's London Marathon and there is now only two months to go until the big day. I must admit, as much as I'm looking forward to what will be my first attempt at the marathon distance, I can't wait for it to be over. The dark mornings and nights, snow and adverse winter weather generally, plus a very busy period at work have made the training regime even harder!

On the whole, as I've stepped up the training, my body has coped reasonably well (I think!). I suffer regularly from the rather painful Achilles tendinitis in my right ankle and an inflamed Piriformis muscle, which is, quite literally, a pain in the butt! Both these troublesome injuries are common in long distance runners. Asides from the physical, the one sizable mistake I have made is that I've been too focused on the carbohydrates to fuel my running and I've not paid enough attention to the protein essential for muscle recovery. In the last few weeks my body has began to ache a little and I need to address this quickly. I've recently had my very first sports massage, which helped give my tired muscles some much needed TLC and I've taken another look at my ever-changing diet. For the first time in my life I'm looking at labels to compare the nutritional values of food. It's all getting rather scientific!

At present, I'm running over 30 miles a week, with my 'long' run up to 16.5 miles. I'm still running 8 minute miles, which I will do all I can to maintain. My stamina levels seem endless and I have no doubts I'll be mentally able to cope, but I have no idea if my body will hold up against the demands of such a distance. Music helps me along the way (don't worry Mum, I'm still watching out for the cars!) and I'm considering running with headphones on the day to help me find that same level of focus. I'm a music man of the most eclectic of tastes, but I'll confess that my daughters 'pop' music is actually quite good for running moderation, of course! 

The more focused I've become on pushing my limits, the more I'm convinced that the mental obstacles of running a marathon far outweigh the physical ones. If I wanted to simply enjoy the day, take in the atmosphere and run without the burden and pressure of targets then I'd be ready to run tomorrow. But that isn't my focus. I have pushed myself further and harder than anything I've ever done before. I have nothing whatsoever to prove to anyone else, and more importantly, I have nothing to prove to myself either. But the truth of the matter is that - in a sporting sense - I've never been in a situation where I can truly dictate the outcome for myself and be proud of my own efforts. I spent years playing for and managing football teams, but the success is shared across a squad of players. The 'success' or 'failure' of this event will be down to me, and only I'll be measuring it. The mental stimulant of the marathon training has been great for me, if I'm honest. I've found an inner drive I didn't really know I had.

I wrote about my personal motivation for running in my post back in October last year, but as far as sponsorship goes I took the decision to run for a small local charity in my home town. My wife set me up one of those Just Giving pages and it can be found here. Assuming you click on the link, at this point I feel I should explain something: I'm not called Ted (I'll explain that another time). My real name is Roger, although I'm almost universally known as Rod these days. Confused? Never mind, just please sponsor me anyway!

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