Richard Irvine-Brown is a BBC Sport Journalist keeping an interactive diary of his training for the London Marathon.Remember, time allowing, the London Marathon Expo is 9-12 April for all runners!
Time: that precious commodity, when marathon training, that some of us will claim not to have and some of us will work and sacrifice to find. Some of us are so dedicated to finding time to run that jobs, sleep and everything else take second place.
The recurring sap on training time, according to 606 users over the past few months, is family. I don’t have children so this is a genuine question: Marathon-training parents, just how do you manage?
I do however have a job that’s been known to take up 80 hours of my week and was wondering if there are others out there with such demands on their time who are locked in the circular fight to find the lunch hours, spare evenings, and early mornings to get the miles in before 13 April?
Many 606 users have the recommended a salient and guerrilla attitude to running: Have the trainers close at hand, and just pull them on whenever you know you have the spare time (the work is done, the children are cared for, the pasta is fully digested).
But how often does this work, realistically, for you? I probably average less than 10 hours a week running, but add on to that changing, warming up/down, showering, extra sleep, and accommodating everything else, can take a full day out of every seven.
A colleague of mine from News trains for marathons by running to work and back, a round trip of twenty miles, four shifts a week.
To fulfil my ideal of doing a 65-mile week (the most I’ve done is 45, several times) I had to take five days’ leave. Then I crocked my ankle on day two and spent a week on exercise bikes, cursing.
If time wasn’t worry enough, training for a marathon decides when you sleep, when you eat, what you eat, your laundry... but is this any different from other serious or sporting hobbies? I guarantee that anybody smelling of porridge with a five litre rucksack full of kit, spare kit, gels, drinks, work documents, compact wallet and spare safety pins is in the middle of a serious running bender, and employers should understand that such a person’s lunchtime and quitting time are now precise co-ordinates in a grand strategy of sweaty ardour.
When I asked friends to do a mile lap of the local common with me, or cheer me on and watch my rucksack (full of the above) one weekday evening, as part of my final 20-mile run, many hoped they could make it. Inevitably, fiancés, nephews, cinemas, pubs, and working late all took their toll and the number of jogging buddies dwindled. Although one friend managed a lap with me my bag could only be watched for 40 minutes. I reduced the run to 10km and went home moody.
As mentioned, there are always the tribulations and realities of a run itself – when to take on fluids, how much fluid to take along, will you need to wrap up beforehand, what will you do with your spare clothes, do you expect to have to make a stop, if so are there accommodating pubs on the route?
Annoyingly, this came to a head on the Kingston Breakfast Run last Sunday where, as with the Milton Keynes Half-Marathon, I had to stop for a necessity early on, fully attributable to having not ‘stopped’ between my last pre-race drink and the starting line.
Also, for the first time in this six-month training period, I got that uncomfortable feeling that I hadn’t got the timing right between my breakfast and the run and had to stop again, losing three minutes and a lot of dignity.
So just how do you manage your time to get a run in? Are children really the biggest impediment to doing so? What’s the most you’ve ever had to give up to get a jog in? And what’s the worst excuse you’ve ever heard for not going for a run?
And have a great run!