Am I ready? Too late to worry now!
Training is over, nothing more can be done. So, try and relax, enjoy the build up (and eating those carbs) ready for hitting the red start and Greenwich on Sunday morning.
I had intended to update my blog every month, but as the training intensified and with work being busier than ever its just not happened but as I sit relaxing in the garden on the fabulous warm sunny afternoon what better time to reflect back on those hard months of training on what seems to have been the coldest, wettest and muddiest winter in these parts for years.
So, how was the training?
A few ups and downs but generally good. Hand on heart I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed it, even those long cold solitary long 30km runs over muddy tracks and pot holed roads. What have a learnt?
Following a training plan has helped, I used the ASICS training app. For for my first half marathon last summer I didn’t really understand what I was doing, I would tend to run nearly all runs at a similar pace, in hindsight too fast as result suffering more muscle pain and strains. This time I’ve run to a set pace on the training runs, the recovery jogs were the hardest to master, to start it felt I was barely at walking speed. Fast runs were tough allowing sufficient recovery time was important.
Technology does help, I now find my Garmin Forerunner 235 and my older Fitbit invaluable, it really has helped me, especially earlier in the training, the data insights identifying times I would push too hard or not hard enough. It’s brought much better consistency to my running, hopefully that will put me in good stead for the marathon as long as I don’t get too carried away with the atmosphere.
I like the solitude of the long run, occasionally I will listen to music or an audiobook but for the most part I just like to run, listen and take in my surroundings, I have found its gives me a great place to think, contemplate, work things through in my head, I get into a rhythm and the running almost becomes and unconscious action. That is until I start to hit my limits then its the willpower needed to keep going to reach that distance or time goal.
I love reading about running. I’m not a big reader, never have been. Maybe a book whilst on holiday, that was it. However, I thought reading others experiences would help keep me motivated through training, which it most certainly has. I started with ‘Up the smoke’ a book with twenty six inspirational stories of the London Marathon and their motivations for running, stirring stuff! I’ve since read ‘Don’t stop me now’ by Vassos Alexander, ‘Keep on running’ by Phil Hewitt and I’m currently enjoying Vassos’ second book ‘Running up that hill’. All have been excellent reads and would recommend.
My own health has improved, thats no surprise but I was keen to see how much it would help with my diabetes. Last week I had my annual review with the specialist consultant and the news was good in all areas which was fantastic.
I have learnt so much more about the impact of Brain Tumours. My motivation for running was to honour the memory of my dad who we lost to a brain tumour in 2002. As part of the team raising money for Brain Tumour Research I’ve learnt that so many of my friends and colleagues have also lost family or loved ones, I’ve learnt of the shocking statistics that surrounds this cancer, such as the few examples below.
Finally I’ve learnt that my young Labrador, Wilbur is not much of a runner, I’ve been taking him with me on some of my shorter recovery sessions, on one occasion around half way around he sat down, refused to move until he had had a good chew on a stick he had found on the path. Luckily I managed to get him moving again.
As thoughts turn to Sunday they also bring memories of my parents. Tomorrow (21st) is the forth anniversary of Mum’s death from breast cancer, she always loved watching the marathon and said she would have loved to have had a go herself. Sunday is for my Dad, my motivation. I’m not sure what he would have made of me running the London Marathon, surprised for sure but hopefully proud of what i have done and what I will achieve when I cross the finish line on the Mall.
If you would like to support me in raising vital funds for Brain Tumour Research you can do so by visiting www.justgiving.com/Stephen-Riches
Thank you for reading and your support and the best of luck to all the other runners taking part in the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon.