Hello Wordpretzels. This week I made a rather alarming discovery. Since I didn’t get a place in the London marathon, I was sent a glossy magazine called ‘Sorry’ or ‘Loser’ or ‘Not You’ (I’m guessing) by the VLM (Virgin London Marathon to you non-runners) organisation.
Instead of throwing it away in a fit of pique, as I have done on the PREVIOUS FIVE OCCASIONS I HAVEN’T MADE IT AND I’M NOT BITTER, I decided to have a read through and found a 13 week training plan for running a marathon. Thinking ahead, I kept the magazine safe. I consequently entered the Brighton marathon on behalf of my chosen charity, Cancer Research, meaning the training plan would come into use, obviously 13 weeks before the actual event. Of course, this would be in a week’s time, so last weekend I decided to have a look at the plan. Only to discover that the whole plan lasts 17 weeks (they hadn’t printed the final 4 weeks). I grabbed a calendar and made some calculations. Officially, this week should have been Week 6. Great. So that’s where I’ve started. I will talk you through some of the technical language involved in the training plan in another blog, but I’m lucky enough to be a regular, experienced runner, so week 6 wasn’t very different to a normal week. What are the qualities of an experienced runner? Firstly, all experienced runners need a good washing machine. I’ve also discovered that runners also need a washing powder/liquid that is good at getting rid of smells. Leave that running kit you wore for a 12 mile run untended for more than a day and you could either kill somebody with the odour or create a new life form that would murder you in the middle of the night. Physically, you are prone to getting cramp. I tend to get mine in my feet when putting on shoes. My family always enjoy watching me stumble around the kitchen like an Indian Chief doing a rain dance in a John Wayne western. Toenails. Recently, a lady was describing her first attempt at a half marathon to me.
“Oh it was incredibly hard; then, after the race, my toe started to hurt. The next day, the toenail started to darken and by the end of the week it was black!” she exclaimed.
She was horrified. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I have 5 black toenails, pretty much all of the time. Except for when they fall off in my socks, leaving a rather sad looking ‘trainee’ toenail, waiting to be blackened in the same way as its predecessor. Runners enjoy pain. Yes, they dress in tight, body hugging lycra, pant a lot and excrete a lot of bodily fluids, but this enjoyment isn’t driven by sexual deviancy. We’re just weird. What other groups of people like to exert themselves physically for mile after mile just to end up back where you started from? Who else wants something they enjoy doing to end as quickly as possible? The training is going very well. I tried something new last week, called Threshold Running, or TR to those who follow such training plans. Basically, this means running at 85% of your endurance for a given amount of time, in this case, 25 mins. This week, I had to do this after 10 mins of ‘easy running’ (ER), which, to those of you not unstable enough to be runners, would think of as an oxymoron. I found out that threshold running is a particularly torturous form of training that makes time slow down. What you think must be at least 15 minutes turns out to be 8. But you keep going, urging your middle aged body to drive forward until Mr Garmin tells you that 35 minutes of running have passed. The threshold run also took in a very steep hill, so I suppose I should have been proud of myself, but after 24 mins of TR I thought my lungs would fall out of my arse. It turns out that Einstein, as usual, was right. Time is relative. But I did it. More on the tech No logy of running in my next missive. Here’s my sponsorship page. If you have lost somebody dear to cancer or would like me to run on behalf of somebody affected by the disease, send me their name with your donation and I will put their name on a special card to carry with me on 6th April.