The final long run is done
It’s not the end of my Virgin Money London Marathon training. I’ve still got two strength session, a fast 10km and a steady 6km to go before the big day. But it is the last long run and that’s a milestone in itself.
Twelve weeks of dedication to a singular goal is coming to an end.
All the 6am gym sessions and double training days. The long Sunday afternoons putting in miles by the river and lung-busting intervals around London’s busy streets. All those lovely desserts I’ve waved on past. The foregone lattes and sacrificed baked goods. It’s nearly time to find out if it will all pay off.
Today I put in 23km around central London, treading familiar routes. Hyde Park, Westminster Bridge and Kensington. But I also decided I wanted to get my head around the London Marathon finish.
So I took in the last two miles. Along the Embankment, past the Houses of Parliament, into Parliament Square, eventually heading into Birdcage Walk.
For those who don’t know, Birdcage Walk runs parallel to the Mall where the London Marathon finishes. It’s also the moment you know you’re nearly home.
I measured the distance from the start of this stretch of road to the end. It’s deceptive. You think you’re within sprinting distance of the finish line. In fact it’s half a mile.
I know I will need to hit the start of this red asphalt at 2:55 is to make it home comfortably under three hours.
I also had the chance to run the Embankment stretch which runs from around mile twenty four. If it’s like this morning, it’ll be windy. That means extra effort to maintain pace. So I also now know I need to have enough in the tank to deal with that.
Seeing is believing
Some Sundays the Mall is closed to traffic. Today was one of those days. Running that last home stretch made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. I stopped and took a moment to visualise hitting this point in under three hours.
I’m a big proponent of the power of imagination to make things come true. If you can see yourself doing it, there’s more chance it can be done.
I said I wanted my last big runs to be confidence building. Standing on the Mall, almost alone in the centre of this vast London causeway, in the shadow of Buckingham Palace, that box got ticked.
I’ve done everything I can and I know that barring some misfortune I have it in my power to run a record-breaking London.*
* Not as in 2:03 World Record obviously. But Personal Best doesn’t sound quite as inspiring.