Light bulb moments

12th December 2019

After two months of training for the London Marathon I’ve had a revelation, let me explain.

Tuesday would have been a club night but with a Christmas party planned for the evening I decided to take in a run at lunchtime. I work near the river at Tower Bridge and often see runners heading towards the quiet streets of Wapping so on this occasion I decided to join them. It was incredibly pleasant running by the river with empty roads and nice views and despite the chill and brisk winds I decided to extend my run and continued all the way around the Isle of Dogs before heading back to the office. It was while heading round the docklands that I realised I was actually running the marathon route and that gave me a real buzz. And that was the revelation; not only could I train for the marathon, I could quite easily train by running the marathon (or sections of it anyway). From my office at Tower Bridge I could comfortably do the final section towards The Mall, the loop around the docklands or out towards Greenwich on the south side, imagine how confidence building that would be. I just wish I’d thought of it two months ago. As a freelance worker I can’t be sure where I’ll be working out of in the future and I can only rue the missed opportunity.

The run itself went very well, the route was reassuringly flat and I was encouraged by the sights as I passed them; Cutty Sark, the O2 and Canary Wharf. I didn’t follow the exact marathon route; that will use closed main roads and underpasses, but I did stick close to it with long sections following the Thames Path. In fact, these sections were quite tough as the wind off the river was fierce. It was quite the scientific paradox as although I ran the full 360 degrees around the Isle of Dogs the wind managed to be in my face the whole time. Another positive was that on the occasions I slipped off the Thames Path and back onto the main roads the wind dropped virtually to nothing. I was pretty tired after the run and could feel it in my legs through the following day but I had managed a really good pace throughout, significantly up on my target pace. If I could hold that pace for the whole run I would be looking at 4:20 which is light years ahead of what I expected to achieve.

Distance covered 16.4km

Wednesday is a rest day and after that 10 miler my legs needed the break. I spent the evening watching Spurs play out a dead rubber against Bayern Munich, which we inevitably lost, and then enjoyed the spectacle of the Apprentice candidates being humiliated at the interview stage by Lord Sugar’s roll call of stooges. This is panto telly and really offers a misguided view of what business is like but you can’t deny the formula works.

Planning for the rest of the week is tricky. This close to Christmas means training time at the weekend is at a premium and I may end up drawing a blank. I could head out on Thursday evening but I have something special planned for Friday and I think I need to save my legs for that. I might be able to squeeze in 30 minutes on the gym floor but I doubt I’ll manage much more.

On Friday I plan to run home from the office, something I’ve often thought about but never done. According to Google maps it should be around 13-14 miles so right on the money for distance at this stage of my training. I just really need to give some thought to the logistics involved. I’ll need to leave my work clothes in the office over the weekend so I can’t take anything I’ll need before Monday. I’ll also need to carry keys, wallet, oyster card etcetera back home so I’ll have to use a running bag or something. I’ll figure it out. The other problem is I don’t know the way and there’s no chance I’ll learn the route by tomorrow so I guess I’ll find out how good the voice directions on Google maps are. It should give me plenty to talk about next time.

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