Running man/author

There’s nothing like a challenge…and running 26 miles and 385 yards is quite a challenge!

At the top of the properly-steep hill at the Scottish Athletics National Cross Country Championships, Callendar Park, Falkirk in Feb 2019, 1 week after the Strathaven Half Marathon. We had to run/climb that hill 3 times!

My first proper run was a year ago this month – 10km in Helensburgh. That was tough but went okay, so I did a few more 10ks.

It’s good to have targets, so I entered Strathaven Half Marathon (Feb 2019 – Strathaven is near East Kilbride, which is south of Glasgow.) As road-based half marathons go, Strathaven is tough – essentially up a big hill and down again. (It feels more up than down, despite starting and finishing in the same place.)

The hilly Strathaven Half Marathon profile.

I chose Alloa – flatter – for my second half marathon and shaved 3 minutes off my time. coming home in 1:38.41.

Now the biggy. Edinburgh marathon on 26 May.

There are no guarantees in running. You have to do the training then hope it all comes together on the day. (Writing is like that too.) I have done the training, now I’m doing the hoping.

I’m hoping partly because I’ve probably done a little too much training. Following a schedule is good, but you also need to listen to your legs, and perhaps I’ve had my fingers in my ears. As a result, my IT band (which runs from your glutes down the side of your leg) has blown up on a few longer runs and and I’ve had to limp home.

Sprinting the last 150m of the Scottish Athletics National Short Course Cross Country Championships, Nov 2018. I like the surprise on the face of the chap I was overtaking, though it may have been more to do with my panting with exhaustion than with my burst of speed.

My IT band is the one thing (other than exhaustion) that could stop me reaching the finishing line. So, my taper (easing off before a race) looks like consisting of almost no running for the 2 weeks before the race. Whilst that’s not ideal, the IT-band issue means my aim is to get to the starting line fit enough to have a chance of making the finish. Needs must.

Do I have a target time? I wouldn’t be miserable with under 4 hours. I know that, if my IT band holds up, I’m capable of 3:45. However, 3:29.59 (or less) is what I really want to see on the clock as I cross the line. 4:58 per km will do it. I’ll be doing a lot of watch-checking!

Wish me luck! Shout encouragement (I’ll need it!) if you’re there. I’ll be in my yellow and black East Kilbride Athletics Club vest.