There’s been a lot published this week about how to survive your first London Marathon. Ten things no one tells you and top tips from elite athletes. But nobody seems to have touched on the pre-race TERROR that takes over the week before the big day.
On Sunday, I ran six miles. It was the slowest, hardest, worst six miles of my entire training. With horror I realised that on the day, there would be another TWENTY MILES to go.
By Monday, I was all but convinced I couldn’t run any more. Training. What training?! Too scared to even attempt it.
On Tuesday, enticed by a lovely evening and following much cajoling from a friend, I ran for 20 minutes. I was thoroughly relieved that my legs did, in fact, still work.
On Wednesday, I went out for a light lunchtime jog. I ran happily along Embankment until I spotted the signs announcing road closure for the following Tuesday. Realising that the next time I ran along here I’d be at miles 23-25, I felt a certain spasm in my gut. Gulp. God knows what state of near delirium I’ll be in then.
On Thursday, we headed to the expo to pick up our race numbers. The terror momentarily gave way to excitement, until I reviewed the route in the brochure again and realised just how far 26.2 miles is. It’s really, really far. I felt an odd twinge in my right knee and stabbing pain in my hip. I moved gingerly for the rest of the day, convinced that I was about to develop an injury out of nowhere. Knee, hip, glute, ankle – it was all about to crumble.
On Friday, I was utterly distracted from work and spent the day staring blankly at my computer screen, visualising the race in my head and thinking of how good I’d feel afterwards. I’ve been inundated with wonderful messages of support from colleagues, friends and family, and I’ve bravely been telling them I am so ready for it. Yeah, I got this. If I can convince them, maybe I’ll convince myself…
It’s now Saturday, and the race is tomorrow. Having forced a bowl of porridge into my mouth (NEVER want to eat carbs again) and am sitting with my feet up. In an effort to ward of the Pre-Marathon Terrors, I am channeling the nervousness into excited anticipation (I am, really) and have compiled a list of top three tips to get me through the race:
- Visualise a good race. Imagine yourself crossing the finish line and seeing the desired time on your watch.
- Smile! The message on my fundraising page from one of my sponsors was: Sprint, run, walk, limp… and smile! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Such a good point to remember. How luck to be running in one of the world’s most amazing races.
- Have a plan for IF you hit the wall. I say if, as provided you’ve managed to pace and fuel correctly I’m hoping to avoid it smashing me in the face. Mantras, running a mile for a special person, more visualising (someone suggested a tiger going after its prey), drawing on the crowd support, whatever. Just have a plan.
Most of all…..
Good luck tomorrow runners! See you on the finish line – smiling.