London Marathon countdown: eight weeks to go…

Yup, that’s eight weeks until the London Marathon. Or two months. Or 55 days. Not that I’m counting.

Not that I’m counting? Of course I’m counting.

Still, while the date of the marathon is beginning to feel really quite close, I’m reasonably happy with my preparation level so far. I’ve done a string of long runs, proven I can run 16 miles in one go, and even knocked out a half-marathon in under 90 minutes.

In short, I think I’m in a pretty good place. But who knows? It’s not like I’ve done this before, and I’m pretty certain nothing I do is going to really prepare me for the experience of running through the streets of London in eight weeks time. Training is just about making sure I have the best possible chance of coping.

After last week’s Wokingham Half Marathon, this weekend’s training efforts brought fewer miles – but still plenty of competition. I spent Saturday up in Hertfordshire visiting friends, so myself and fellow South West Children’s Heart Circle charity runner Matt Burt took the opportunity to take in a different Parkrun on Saturday morning.

The Panshanger Parkrun in Hertford is a very different 5k course from the Kingston one I usually do on the flat towpath of the River Thames. The Panshanger course wiggles through an old country estate, complete with hills, gravel tracks, fields, muddy paths and a painfully steep final uphill kick. Not necessarily a quick course, then, but a really good challenge.

On Sunday, the challenge was the Bushy Park 10k. For the uninitiated, Bushy Park is a Royal deer park in south west London. It’s very similar to Richmond Park – a regular running venue for me – with one big different: while Richmond Park is dominated by hills, Bushy Park is flat. Like, really flat. Pancake flat. Flat Stanley flat. Ikea flatpack flat. It’s basically as flat as the flattest thing you can picture. In short, it’s flat.

When you’re running, flat is good.

Having a flat course is good not only because it avoids running up hills, but because it’s easier to balance out your running effort. When you know the course is flat, there’s little excuse not to be able to run ten consistent kilometre splits. So, it’s very good practice for the discipline of knocking out a consistent pace: something that will come in very useful come marathon time.

Yes, flat is good.

A chill wind isn’t quite as good. And parts of the Bushy Park 10k course meant running into a really chilly headwind. Thankfully, the course snaked through various paths in the park, and out of the wind, it was easy to get warmed up – just in time for the next blast of wind.

Still, the wind didn’t slow me down too much, and I was very pleased with a time of 42m 07s and 14th overall – especially because this was an ‘extra’ run to mix up the training that I didn’t really focus on. That’s not to say I didn’t want to do well – just that my focus is currently on a slightly bigger even in eight weeks time.

That’s eight weeks. Or two months. Or 55 days. Or around 1320 hours.

You know, not that I’m counting…

In eight weeks, I’m running the 2016 London Marathon for the South West Children’s Heart Circle. Please sponsor me by clicking the big Just Giving button below

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