Manchester Marathon Training – April

Well the day of reckoning is nearly here… only two days to go until the Manchester Marathon! I’ve done all the training and had the sports massage. All I can do now is rest and eat carbs. Sounds great, doesn’t it? But actually this last week of tapering has been quite a frustrating time during which I’ve felt fat, lazy and even ill. The good news is that this is apparently normal, so I just have to trust in the tried and tested training process and make the leap of faith that everything will come together on race day. I’ve been obsessively reading anything to do with marathon preparation I can get my eyes on, hoping some of it will stick! I’ve also loved reading people’s accounts of the Paris and London marathons and found them very inspiring. The only thing that’s really bothered me has been a sore throat I’ve had for a couple of days now, but I’m throwing echinacea and antioxidants down my neck and trying to ignore it. Hopefully it will be gone by Sunday.

My last long run was 20 miles and I won’t lie, I found it hard and was glad to finish it. I’m hoping that this was because it came at the end of ‘monster month’ and that getting to 20 miles will be easier on Sunday; then, as we are all told, the real marathon begins! I’m still uninjured so far (touches wood) but my knees did hurt a bit on the Monday after that last run. Fortunately they seemed fine by Tuesday. I’m not sure how they’ll be on Sunday – time will tell! I had hoped to wear in a new pair of my favourite Brookes Adrenaline shoes for race day, but ended up leaving it too late so will just have to go with the current ones – not that they’re ancient, but that’s a lesson learned for next time.

This week I’ve been accumulating a pile of stuff to take to Manchester, OCD-style; clothes for all weather possibilities, drinks, gels, flip flops, snacks, safety pins… I’m bound to forget something! I wanted my first marathon experience to be as hassle-free as possible, so Steve and I are booked into the Premier Inn at Salford Quays the night before, which is only a ten minute walk from the start. A bit of a luxury, but what the heck – I’ll get an extra hour in bed and won’t have to stress about traffic and parking. Unfortunately they don’t do porridge for breakfast, so I’ll be taking some instant stuff to make with the kettle. I have tested it in training, so it should be OK. Steve’s plan is to see me off at the start then go back to the hotel for a full English!

 I don’t really feel I can sign off without mentioning the terrible events at Boston, which were a huge shock to us all. The London Marathon going ahead was definitely the best way to show that we runners won’t be defeated by terrorist threats and I’m sure that inspired all of us running this weekend. Hopefully the officials at Manchester will do something to show our support for the people of Boston, as happened at London. I know we’ll be thinking of them whatever.

So all that’s left to do is eat carbs, paint my nails Old Trafford red (well I was born in Salford!) and slap some Garnier Summerbody onto my pasty white legs (vain, moi?!). I’m slightly bothered by the fact that headphones aren’t allowed on Sunday as I’m used to running with music. The crowds and the atmosphere are supposed to carry you round, but can they give me the same boost as the Chemical Brothers? We’ll see!

Good luck to anyone doing either Manchester or the Marathon of the North this weekend – the weather forecast looks pretty promising at the moment. See you on the other side!