On the way home from work the other day, I noticed the green man flashing on a pedestrian crossing. Eager to cross the road, I put a bit of a dash on. As I made it across the road and eased up to my normal pace, I felt a twinge in my calf.
Oh no. What have I done? Have I injured myself? I think I’ve injured myself. Is this going to put me out of the marathon? For crossing a road? Oh no!
I hadn’t, of course.
The next morning, I woke up. And coughed. My throat felt a bit dry.
Oh no. Is this the start of a cold? Am I getting ill again? I think I’m getting ill again. Is this going to put me out of the marathon? For a cold? I’ve been so careful. Oh no!
I didn’t have a cold, of course.
This are two examples of what I’ve termed pre-run paranoia: when you’re close to a big race and you convince yourself that every ache, pain, cough, sneeze or splutter is a sign of an injury or illness that is going to slow you down or – worse! – sideline you for the big race.
I’ve noted my propensity for pre-run paranoia before lots of races, but when the London Marathon now nine – nine! NINE!!! – days away, it is kicking into overdrive. Seriously, every time I stand up I seem to feel some sort of twinge in my legs that briefly sets off ‘injury alert’ alarm bells in my brain.
It probably doesn’t help that my marathon prep was recently hampered by an illness, making me increasingly terrified of what could happen if I was struck down again.
Pre-run paranoia is also affecting me in other ways. That dash for a road crossing was quite unusual: while out walking or running I’ve found myself increasingly dodging cracks and gaps in the pavement, and swerving far from any surface that looks like it be in any way slippery.
Mustn’t… get… hurt.
It’s probably understandable. After all, like any marathon entrant, I’ve put in months of prep for this race, and the fear of having that wiped out by a silly injury or illness is pretty terrifying. Even so, I also recognise that I can’t exactly wrap myself in cotton wool or lock myself inside my house for the next nine days.
Although, the more I think of it, that’s not a bad idea…
But wait, what if you trip over your sofa? And hurt yourself? Yes, I’ve tripped over my sofa. Oh no. Have I hurt myself? Oh no!
And on it goes…
Barring illness or injury (please, no!) I’m running the 2016 London Marathon to raise money for the South West Children’s Heart Circle. Please sponsor me by clicking the big ‘Just Giving’ button below. Thanks!