So, after six months of the most intense, gruelling, self-imposed training regime I will ever encounter and throughout one of the harshest, never-ending freezing winters on record, I am just days away from running my first London Marathon. I have pushed myself as hard as I can and I know in my heart I can't do any more to prepare. Only time will tell if I can achieve the goals I have set myself.
In those early days my only aim was to run the entire length of the marathon distance, but over time, as my training runs have lengthened and I've become more focused, so has my desire to achieve a finish in under 4 hours. By the time I'd completed my final long distance training run of 20 miles two weeks ago (completed in 2:43.32), my 8.11 mins per mile pace would suggest I'm inside that target by some margin, which is encouraging. Since then I've picked up a nasty ear and throat infection which has knocked my training at just about the worst time, but I'm trying to stay positive in mind and hopeful my efforts in the last 6 months will not be wrecked. I'd be absolutely gutted if that was the case.
I never followed any set training regimes and have instead listened to my body and pretty much kept to my usual routine of running approx. 16 miles per week over 3 runs whilst adding a longer run (typically over a weekend) that gained around 10% in distance each week. I've taken plenty of good advice from people I can trust, but it's in my nature to find my own way.
Notably, against the advice of sports scientists I'm sure, I ditched isotonic sports drinks very early on because I found they left me feeling too weighed down and sticky with sugar. I now feel far happier with plain old water for hydration.
I have decided to take everything in to the marathon that I've used throughout my training, which means I'll carry a hydration bladder with me and I'll wear earphones. Plenty of people have told me that if I run with music I'll miss the occasion going on around me. They perhaps don't understand that what is going on around me will be of complete irrelevance. Right or wrongly, I have only one focus on the day and I won't be trying to pick faces out of a crowd that's for sure.
I spent a good few hours sorting out my running playlist yesterday and it gave me a real lift after not feeling too well in the past couple of weeks. Music has always played a massive part in my life and there will be times my favourite tunes will give me a much needed lift. Music also allows me to completely zone out, which will help in those relentless mile after mile.
In the last few days before the event my main focus will be on diet and ensuring I have that right balance of rest whilst staying as fit as I can.
In case you feel inspired to sponsor me, my Just Giving page can be found here. Once again, I should say that Roger, or more typically Rod, is my real name! Many thanks to the Addicks that have already offered their support, notably David Thomson, Robert Addison and John Beaumont, whom I have sat next to at the Valley for countless years.