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London Marathon

The London Marathon – Blog Post 5

Having completed the London Marathon two weeks ago, it’s time for Andrew to gather his thoughts on his training decisions, gear choices and – of course – the day itself.

I can safely say that the London Marathon experience surpassed my expectations. Just a brilliant day!  But did I learn anything other than tipping water over your head washes off sunscreen?  Absolutely.

Two off-road runs a week?

Was I right to “only” run twice a week? Put simply, yes. I completed the marathon in 4hrs 3mins which was a little slower than expected, however as it was officially the hottest London Marathon on record – runners were dropping like flies due to heat exhaustion because everyone had been training in the snow! – I’m happy with that.  I’m confident I would have completed in under 4hrs (my goal) if the event had been a few degrees cooler.

Was I right to “only” run twice a week? Put simply, yes

Would this work for everyone? Well, yes and no. As I mentioned in blog no. 4, I continued my usual fitness regime of  functional exercises and strength & conditioning workouts, weekly spinning classes, and MTB rides whenever possible; so my overall leg and core strength and CV fitness certainly helped. 

Training on trails also clearly made a difference, simply because running off-road is harder (and less mind-numbing!). One of my long runs was in 4 inches of snow; when you’re slipping and sliding and running on uneven surfaces, you’re working harder for every step.

Essentially, if you’re an active person and want to mix up your training, aren’t too bothered by your time and want to still enjoy running; then I would absolutely recommend that two off-road runs a week is all you need to add to your exercise to complete a marathon.

What to wear when you’re not dressed as a tree (like the guy in front of me)

It’s safe to say that I’ve put the Aussie Grit Apparel flint run range through its paces and thankfully, it was more than up to the task.  Not only during the event where temps unexpectedly hit 25 degrees, but also throughout the three and a half months of winter training which ranged from -8 degrees with snow to 10 degrees with gale-force winds, and everything in between! When paired with the bike shell and light or thermal gilets, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the flint run range was suitable for year-round running in the UK.London Marathon Medal

Marathon day was actually the first day I wore the run top without a base or outer layer.  When I threw water over my head every two miles to beat the heat it didn’t soak the water up and get heavy, it still wicked sweat from my skin and – pleasingly – didn’t chaff or rub, even when worn wet with a running Camelbak. Very impressive. I was wondering how the lined run shorts would fare in the heat but they too were impressively comfortable and kept me cool with no rubbing (extremely important!).

Put it on your list

So…the event itself. Just amazing! The positive vibes from all the supporters and musicians lining the course was infectious.  The organisation was impressive, given the record number of runners (42,000). Everything was heightened for me – from the excited nerves crossing the start line to the elation I felt when I finally caught sight of the finish gantry (the last three miles had been tough in the heat!), the sense of achievement was amazing.  All those cold, long, lonely, miles suddenly seemed an eternity ago as I was handed my medal by a smiling volunteer.

the shorts…were impressively comfortable…

The London Marathon should be on everyone’s must-do list if you’re a runner, even if it takes you six years to gain a ballot place! Speaking of the ballot, it opened again on the 30th April…will I give it one more go? Maybe! In the meantime, I’m looking forward to just getting outdoors without having to worry about distances or times… to reconnect with nature and enjoy the simple pleasures

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