The day is getting closer…

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I’m reaching the business end of my marathon training plan, and I’ve got slightly mixed feelings: On the one I think I’ve done as well as I could with training consistency, considering all other planned and unplanned demands on my time since I started in July; with perhaps one exception (the long progression run last week which went terribly wrong), I feel I’ve been able to follow my plan and run the distances, paces, repetitions etc it included; I’ve have avoided injuries (he writes touching wood), and the few niggles I had at the beginning of my training seem to have gone.

On the other hand I still have missed more sessions than I’d like (crucially, including a couple of long runs in September), I have not been able to do much strength training or conditioning and I somehow can’t see myself completing the marathon in the time my plan is based on… I’ve probably mentioned this before, but the Athens route is quite hard, with a long hill from the 18th to the 31st km, so you have to pace it very carefully: Make the most of the relatively flat first 18k, but at the same time don’t set off too fast, and remember to keep enough in hand for the 13km long hill that follows. And if you are still strong at the 31st km, you can try to shave a few minutes off your time in the final 11km (gently downhill), but they will never be enough to allow you to run a negative split race. So you have to have a pretty good idea of your (realistic) target time and run the first 18k accordingly. And while I know I’ll be slower than what my plan says (less-than-perfect training and that bastard hill!), I’m yet to decide on my realistic target time.

That’s part of the reason why I joined the Leicester half, which is a local race which I enjoyed immensely last year and which this year falls on the first Sunday of my taper. I hope it will be a pleasant distraction from the training runs, give me an idea where I am fitness and training wise and – hopefully – boost my pre-race confidence a bit!

On other news, I got the letter informing me I didn’t make it through the ballot for London this year and, while I’d love to run for charity again, I don’t think that I can realistically commit to the pledges most charities ask for (most around the £2,000 mark), not with all my time already as stretched as it is with work and everything else…

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My original fall-back plan was to enter Paris (it’s two weeks before London and as my parents live there it would work out very nicely), but I think I’ll sleep on it… perhaps even see how Athens goes before signing up for the next one…

But that is all for another day – the priority today is to have a decent rest and then a decent long run tomorrow!

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