The training continues and the mileage gets higher. Between Sunday and Saturday of last week I clocked up 37 miles. “Pah!” I hear you experienced runners say, “that’s nothing. I can do that in my lunch hour.”
Today, my training programme told me I had to run 18 miles, using the run to try out my ‘hydration and nutrition strategies’, which means seeing if I can cope with consuming 3 sports gels over the given distance. For those of you not disposed to the lunatic pastime of plodding around the roads trying to get run over/bitten by dogs, sports gels are small, metallic like packages of flavoured wallpaper paste designed to keep you going on a long run.
compete stumble around in a race, I always refuse water and just consume my gels. Runners’ World magazine explained that ‘older’ people don’t get so thirsty when running, but this could be dangerous if their hydration levels fall. Now, in the past, the only worries I’ve had about my hydration levels have been a) dreaming about having a soothing pint of beer after competing stumbling about and b) having too many soothing pints when I’ve finished competing stumbling about.
So, at mile 16 today, I was thinking that a drop of water on a marathon wouldn’t go amiss. What do you think?
In some organised events, there are volunteers who hand out sweets – I don’t mean boxes of Milk Tray or sherbert dib dabs, but jelly babies, jelly beans, those sort of things. I’ve never really seen the appeal, personally. I do remember last year at the Forest of Dean half marathon being offered to scoop some sweets from the tray of an obliging steward. I didn’t want them, but noticed a little girl standing with her parents, obviously waiting to cheer on the poor idiot they were standing out in the cold for.
Feeling charitable, I took a big handful of sweets, ran to the little girl and proffered my gift. Yes, I know. I hadn’t thought this one through. Quite rightly, all children are taught never take sweets from a stranger. If this rule were more specific on that day, it would have warned never take sweets from a sweaty, smelly middle aged bloke in tights.
Somehow, I planted the sweets in the poor girl’s hand and glanced at her parents, who were wearing a rather thin, semi grateful smile, not sure whether I was just a misguided kindly old geezer or a galloping paedophile in lycra. Having almost instantly realised my mistake, I ran on, fearful that the parents would be at the finishing line standing with their distraught daughter and a policeman, pointing at me.
As I approach race day, friends and colleagues are starting to ask me whether I am sticking to my ‘no carb’ diet, a specific eating plan that involves no bread, rice, potatoes, pastry or (at present) alcohol. I explain that I get all the carbs I need from the foods I eat. I can see their concerns; before I got into this lark, I always thought that the night before a race, long distance runners would eat the equivalent of Mo Farah’s weight in pasta (approximately 4 lbs).
Now I know this isn’t true. If I did this, by the following morning, I would have a huge pasta belly and heartburn, not the best condition for marathon running.
Next week is a piece of cake. Tuesday’s instructions are:
|10min ER, 12min TR, 5min ER, 6 x (3min IR, 1min ER), 15min ER||
How on earth I’m meant to remember all of that, I don’t know. Perhaps I’ll write it down on a piece of paper, but then I’ll have to take my reading glasses in order to see it…
Until next week.
The Rural Spaceman is running The Brighton Marathon for Cancer Research UK. If you would like to sponsor him, please do so by going to the link below: