...but will it work?!

If you thought Baldrick had plenty of cunning plans, then perhaps you've never seen how many running plans there are! Once you start comparing them, it soon becomes clear that there is no absolute consensus about how best to prepare for 26.2 miles: the frequency, distance and speed of suggested training runs varies quite markedly. I was very conscious of the competing demands on my time - at work and at home, and was therefore looking for something that seemed achievable physically (given my fitness and running experience), as well as acceptable practically and relationally (given the impact on those around me). I settled upon the 'Novice 2 Marathon Training Programme' by Hal Higdon, which essentially requires four runs per week. If only I had chosen and stuck to it sooner...

Having ended 2019 with my longest run to date of 28km on 30th December, the first couple of outings in new year were relatively short, but I then ran 21km on 5th January which took my weekly total to 59km. With hindsight (- undoubtedly a wonderful thing), that was perhaps a little too much! And so it was that on 8th January I completed what should have been a very manageable run only to find that I had a dreaded 'niggle' in my right calf.

It is sobering to realise how injuries can crop up unexpectedly, and can derail the best laid plans. This short video from 5th January speaks for itself: it all seemed fine at the time!

So, anxious not to aggravate that and make matters worse, I eased off and dropped a couple of sessions until I felt the pain / discomfort had eased somewhat. I ventured out the following Sunday for a very short jog, but things still didn't feel right by midweek. I decided to call a physio and got an appointment for the Friday evening. Thankfully her assessment was that there was nothing seriously wrong, but my right calf - and both legs more generally - were very tight and 'knotty'. I left with various exercises to do but was given the go ahead to continue running, so long as I was not in pain of more than 3/10! I did follow the physio's advice and kept things steady, and was relieved to be able to complete all four scheduled runs in the following week, a total distance of 41km. In order to fit them all in, one of the runs started at 10.30pm and another of them started at 7.00am - but thankfully not on consecutive days!

Sorting the necessary kit for an increased training schedule - and for the event itself - takes some careful thought, especially when running on three consecutive days each week. Suffice it to say that certain items cannot (or should not) be worn more than once between washes! I was therefore very thankful for various running-themed Christmas and birthday gifts in late December. I also ventured out to the sales to pick up my next pair of running shoes, having covered 600km in my previous pair. Doing the calculations against the plan I'm following, I should actually be covering something like 600km again before the Big Day and so will probably need to get another pair in readiness, and break them in alongside my current shoes. No-one wants new shoe blisters on race day!

The pair of trainers that I have just retired actually had a rather interesting name. The manufacturers and marketeers come up with all sorts of words and phrases to entice prospective purchasers; some are more intelligible than others - clearly intended to motivational and inspiring, whilst others seem far more abstract. Whatever their thinking in this particular case, I'm quite sure that no-one at Mizuno had any idea that Feba's office building was called 'Skywaves House' when they called their shoe the 'Wave Sky 2' (see the banner photo at top of this page)! For those who follow Feba regularly, you'll know that we're in the process of selling and intend to move office - hopefully/probably later this year. I think it is unlikely that we'd choose to call any new building 'Skywaves House 2', but the shoe name connection was at least amusing! [Incidentally, the new shoes are called 'Triumph 17'...]

At pretty much the same time as people were saying that New Year's fitness resolutions are typically broken by mid January, we passed the '100 days until the London Marathon' mark; the countdown is now in double digit days! The event organisers also published details of the various elite runners due to take part. There is a particular focus on the rivalry between Kipchoge and Bekele and with good reason: widely regarded as the two greatest distance runners in history, they are the two fastest men ever over the marathon distance. It promises to be an exciting race up front as they both aim for a sub two hour finishing time; I would be delighted to cross the line in something close to four hours!

On the fundraising front, it was really encouraging to pass the £1,000 threshold just before the end of January. I'd like to say another big 'Thank You!' to everyone who has contributed already, as well as to those who have sent kind words of support. Some say "No pain, no gain"; well, raising funds for Feba does make this worthwhile for me personally, and the calf pain and other discomfort is bearable, but it really does make a tremendous difference to know that I'm not doing this alone. If you could possibly make a donation of whatever value then I would be so very grateful. Thank you.

Finally, please send any comments, questions, encouragements, or suggestions using the Contact Form or calling the office. I'd be particularly keen to hear from you if you're planning to be in London to watch the marathon on 26th April - we'd love to see you there! If you're in the Worthing area, you might want to keep an eye out at the Worthing Running Festival Half Marathon on 9th February, and if you live near Bath, then you might like to know that I'll also be taking part in the Bath Half Marathon on 15th March.

Pressing on...

If you would like to sponsor me, please see my fundraising page.

To read more about my marathon efforts, please click here.

Thank you!

Credits: Wave Sky 2 © Bob Chambers.