MK Marathon – Week 17 Training – Tomorrow we run!

Week 17 of 17 – That’s it!

Based on the typical 1/3 reduction in mileage for the final week I should have been aiming for around 16-17 miles this week. 


 Monday – Rest day – Zero miles.  Doing good.

 Tuesday – 6:40 session so 4 miles at (by luck) exactly 6:40min/mile average.  Fastest yet and definitely seeing a benefit from the weekly lung buster.  Try not to dwell on the fact other clubmates run this pace for a whole marathon and the elites are over 2 minute a mile quicker FOR THE WHOLE EVENT!

Then a pop over the road for a 10x1min interval session with 1 minute recovery.  Purpose is to run flat out for all intervals to get ready for the marathon.  High intensity but low duration.  Total 5.4 miles at 8:

 Wednesday – 5am Bow Brickhill session.  Contrary to previous weeks where double speed work didn’t seem to affect the legs too much, this week they felt trashed on the hills.  Coupled with a decision to hold back a little as tapering and I managed 9 miles at 8:07 average pace nearly 30 seconds slower pace than the previous week.  

Total so far this week – 18.4 miles so probably done too much by this stage already. 

Thursday – Gentle 45 minute run with club.  5.8miles at 8:16 pace.  Sometimes with all the concentration on pace and distance goals it’s nice to have a relaxed run and ignore both of these.

 Friday – Rest day

 Saturday – Rest day – Not sure I’ve had three rest days in one week all year.  It’s unsettling but awesome.  I probably should have done something useful like mow the lawn.

 Sunday – Rocket 5k in 19:43.  A great race put on by the MK Marathon team.  Sadly despite pushing hard on speed training I managed to be 2secs slower than last year.  I think I gave it everything up to 3.5k then sort of ran out of motivation.  If you run this and one of the main events on the Monday you get an extra medal in recognition bringing your total to 3 for two days.  I’m a medal junkie so it had to be done.  Let’s see what the big day brings for marathon.

 Weekly total mileage – 27.4 miles, nice and rested!

 Monthly total mileage – Due to knocking out the 50miler at the start of the month, managed second highest month at 233 (best is 250).  Now brings the 200mile+ per month streak to 16 months.  May will be off to a good start with 26.2 done on day 1 and June should be even easier with a 100 mile race at the South Downs Way event (SDW100).  I then have one marathon a month in July and August with my 100th marathon in September.  After September…. nothing booked!  Feels odd as typically have 12 months of events booked in advance.

Tomorrow – Marathon day.  Best of luck to everyone running!!

Found another MK Marathon Legend in the start pen!

 

MK Marathon – Day by day final prep!

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There’s been some shocking revelations in the past few weeks.  People are reading the random words I spew forth and following them.  They’re even coming back to me to offer thanks for helpful advice.  With this in mind, after going through ‘final week dread’ many times here’s something to get you through the maranoia and see you arriving refreshed and ready to go on Monday when you take a short jog around my favourite marathon.

MK marathon have put out the final race instructions.  Read them!

Miles – Most studies and advice agrees on dropping mileage the week before to 1/3 of the usual mileage.  Normally run 30 miles?  Then run 10 over a few short runs.  Normally run 100 miles?  Then you have too much free time go away.

Final week before the marathon – daily check list

All week – try and drink sensibly and eat well.  If you hydrate moderately throughout the week you avoid the 9pm “ah no I’ve got a marathon tomorrow, best drink my bodyweight in fluid and spend all night peeing” issue on Sunday night.  As you won’t be getting up for early morning runs you’ll likely get more sleep than usual as well.  Enjoy it!

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Tuesday – Check your kit items and make sure they’re washed and ready to use.  If you have a spare bed and confidence that kids or pets won’t wander off with bits (I have issues with both) then lay it all out.  Pin on number (which includes your chip).  If you don’t have your number yet then check the race instructions.  If you entered after 31st March, then you need to collect your Marathon or Half Marathon bib from the Information Desk on Race Day.  If you entered before that day but have yet to receive it then it’s probably lost in post so need to collect a replacement on race day.

If running the Rocket 5k on Sunday then collect your number from Up & Running, Elder Gate, Milton Keynes, MK9 1EN until Saturday 29th April or from the race info desk at Wetherspoons on race day.

Wednesday – Often recommended to do a short run at pace.  Either a few single miles at marathon pace with a good 6-7 minute gap or sometimes short 1 minute intervals.  If you feel fresh and the pace easy then stop and go home.  Don’t decide to do a ‘cheeky’ half marathon to see if you can hold the pace.

Cut your toenails.  Not too short but you don’t want claws poking out your socks.  Do it now so if you do cut too much they have a few days to grow back.

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Thursday – Plan your race.  You should have at least an idea what pace or goal time you’re going for.  If nothing else you should know the course cut off time and make sure you stay ahead (6:30 for the MK Marathon).  Websites (Pace band generator) allow you to generate a pace band to wear around wrist personalised to goal time.  Print off, cover in tape and use it to check progress on the day.

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It’s also useful to give a copy to friends or family that are coming to support and work out where is best to support and what time to expect you.  Make sure you include race number and what you’ll be wearing as one sweaty mess in lycra looks a lot like another.  Similarly, it can help if they have something to catch your eye like a balloon or sign as spectators can tend to blur together when you’re triumphantly gliding past them/can’t see through sweat and snot encrusted eyes.  Emphasise to spectators that you may be faster or slower than expected time on race day as adrenaline propels you forward earlier and you fade in later stages.

Tracking on the day will be live from this link MK Marathon tracking link

Friday – Double check your gels/food.  Do you have enough for the full distance?  Pack you drop bag and ensure you have everything for the big day (there’s a handy checklist on the race instructions).  Do you have the family sized tub of Vaseline to lube up like a cross-channel swimmer?  If you feel the nervous energy is too much then go for a swim or bike ride to relax, keep active and avoid impact injury.

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Saturday – Reflect on your training.  It will steady your nerves to think of those runs where you went further or faster than you ever believed possible.   You’ve done the work so the race is in the bag.

If there’s any light chores you’ve been neglecting in training then doing them might take your mind off.  Do: fold and put away 6 months of washing.  Don’t: lay a new patio and drop a slab on your foot.

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Sunday – As tempting as it might be to lay in bed all day most runners report better results from some light exercise the day before to avoid feeling stale.  A couple of mile at a relaxed pace will limber you up and keep focus.

If you’re doing the MK Rocket then make a decision between a fun 5k race or an all-out lung buster for a PB.  Make this decision before you start, not when that bloke who always beats you at the parkrun goes past and the competitive mist descends as you’re definitely having him today….

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Do a final check of your gear.  Make sure breakfast is planned.  SET YOUR ALARM CLOCK.  Don’t stress about how much sleep you’re getting.  You’re well rested and one night of disturbed sleep is not going to ruin your chances.

Monday – Get up, put on kit, go run and enjoy the day.  This is what the hard work and the missed pints were all for.

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Tuesday – Wake up and wonder why your legs have been filled with concrete.  Crawl to the toilet and stagger into work wearing your medal and finishers top.  Try and bring all conversation back to your marathon.  “That’s a fascinating talk on the challenges of vertical integration of the supply chain Sandra.  I’ve overcome some challenges myself recently.  Have I mentioned I ran a marathon yesterday?”.

 

VMLM 2017 – Inspired for next year?

For everyone like me sat on their sofa watching the coverage this year, or stalking friends on the London Marathon app (which for the first year ever seemed to be pretty useful), you may well feel like joining them next year.  With sportsmanship as displayed by Matthew Rees of Swansea Harriers (who stopped running just a few yards from the end of the race to help David Wyeth of Chorlton Runners finish his race) how could you not want to join the greatest race on Earth?

Full official application details available here.

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In the unlikely event I was within sight of the finish line at 2:40hrs I think I’d fall over as well.

Ballot Entry No need to set a stupid early alarm to rush to your PC and register as per the days of old. VMLM are keeping with the previous qualification standards system used for 2016 and 2017 that is limited by time, not by applicants.

The public ballot entry system for the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon opens on Monday 1 May and closes at 17:00 on Friday 5 May 2017. The ballot will be open for five days to “give everyone who wants to enter the event a fair chance to do so”.

The downside of this is it will likely see another 250,000 applicants for between 17,000-20,000 ballot spots (VMLM have never officially published the total that I could find).  Get your application in and you’ve got a 7-8% chance of getting the famous urine on your doormat in October or November this year.

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Good For Age UPDATE

As of 26th April, VMLM Have announced the qualification standards for next year and despite rumours it would tighten the standard they are the same.

Entries open in June 2017 for the 2018 race and any valid time since 1st January 2016 counts so if you’ve not scored the time you need already, best get out there!

Good For Age 2018 Both Confirmed
Age Range Men Women
Age 18-40 3hrs 05min 3hrs 45min
Age 41-49 3hrs 15min 3hrs 50min
Age 50-59 3hrs 20min 4hrs 00min
Age 60-64 3hrs 45min 4hrs 30min
Age 65-69 4hrs 00min 5hrs 00min
Age 70-75 5hrs 00min 6hrs 00min
76+ 5hrs 30min 6hrs 30min

2017 – A record year

News reports have announced that with 39,487 finishers the 2017 race is the biggest yet.  A great success story for the organisers but must have been squeaky bum moments at the head offices when a record 40,382 bibs were collected from the expo last week as they only produce 40,000 medals and goody bags (according to the press pack) – they are very good at predicting the drop out rate.

No figures yet on starters but 2.2% of those that collected bibs never crossed the finish line so either never started or dropped out on route.  Once again 24% of accepted runners never made it to the expo to collect their bibs for one reason or another.  Annoying to hear for those unlucky in the ballot.

Year Total Applicants Accepted Starters % Drop Out Finishers % Drop Out
1981                      20,000            7,747            7,055 9%             6,255 11.3%
1982                      90,000          18,059          16,350 9%           15,116 7.5%
1983                      60,000          19,735          16,500 16%           15,776 4.4%
1984                      70,000          21,142          16,992 20%           15,649 7.9%
1985                      83,000          22,274          17,500 21%           15,841 9.5%
1986                      80,000          25,566          19,261 25%           18,030 6.4%
1987                      80,000          28,364          21,485 24%           19,545 9.0%
1988                      73,000          29,979          22,469 25%           20,889 7.0%
1989                      72,000          31,772          24,452 23%           22,652 7.4%
1990                      73,000          34,882          26,500 24%           24,953 5.8%
1991                      79,000          33,485          24,500 27%           23,393 4.5%
1992                      83,000          34,250          24,500 28%           23,783 2.9%
1993                      68,000          35,820          25,000 30%           24,448 2.2%
1994                      72,000          37,379          26,000 30%           25,194 3.1%
1995                      79,000          39,097          27,000 31%           25,326 6.2%
1996                      68,000          39,173          27,134 31%           26,761 1.4%
1997                      78,000          39,813          29,500 26%           29,135 1.2%
1998                      69,000          42,228          30,663 27%           29,924 2.4%
1999                      87,000          43,774          31,582 28%           30,809 2.4%
2000                      93,000          42,596          32,620 23%           31,658 2.9%
2001                      92,000          43,517          31,156 28%           30,286 2.8%
2002                      99,000          46,083          33,297 28%           32,906 1.2%
2003                   111,000          45,629          32,746 28%           32,281 1.4%
2004                   108,000          45,219          32,746 28%           31,983 2.3%
2005                   132,000          47,969          35,600 26%           35,260 1.0%
2006                   119,000          47,020          33,578 29%           33,224 1.1%
2007                   128,000          50,039          36,396 27%           35,698 1.9%
2008                   120,000          48,630          35,037 28%           34,602 1.2%
2009                   155,000          49,995          35,884 28%           35,366 1.4%
2010                   163,000          51,378          39,956 22%           36,632 8.3%
2011                   163,926          50,532          35,303 30%           34,836 1.3%
2012                   170,150          50,200          37,227 26%           36,774 1.2%
2013                   167,449          48,323          34,631 28%           34,311 0.9%
2014                   169,682          49,872          36,337 27%           35,911 1.2%
2015                   172,888          51,696          38,020 26%           37,641 1.0%
2016                   247,069          53,152          39,523 26%           39,091 1.1%
2017                   253,930          53,229          40,382 (bibs collected) 24%           39,487 2.2%

MK Marathon – Week 16 Training – Final Countdown!

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Week 16 of 17 – It’s getting close now!

Have seemingly shrugged off the 50 miler and managed some decent distance and pace last week, goal for this week was to push the pace and loosen up for the MK marathon.  That will allow the final week for some tapering ready to get an awesome time/go off too hard and blow up on 1st May.

Easter Monday – 3.85 miles at 8:23 pace and 3.75 miles at 8:18 pace – Day off work so did a run to parents and back to collect dog.  Was faster on way back with doggie as company.  Initial plan was to do the out section as a progressive run (every mile faster than the last) but too much Easter chocolate meant it was more of a waddle than a speedwork run.

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Tuesday – 6:40 session with Redway Runner – 4 miles at 6:41 average.  Quickest yet and managed to hold 6:37 exactly for the final three miles.  Normally I tail off on these but seem to have built some endurance for faster paced efforts and basically learnt to put up with the pain/discomfort.  Felt pants on the way to the run and had an awful taste in mouth no amount of rinsing or spitting could remove so had low expectations of performance, especially given I left home at stupid o’clock to drive to Devon and back with work.  Funny how sometimes you pull out your best runs when feeling a bit off.


Also Tuesday – 10x1min with 1min recovery with Lakeside Runners, 5.4miles at 8:10 pace – Popped over road for second speed session.  This one is tailored for the runners doing the London Marathon as a last bit of speed work to get legs turning over.  Sadly not me (I’m too slow for my age or too young for my slowness).  Legs still had pace in them despite previous effort.  Was worried that the distance training for the 50 mile event may have killed any speed off but seems to have helped instead.

Wednesday – 9 mile run up Bow Brickhill at 7:44 average – One of my faster attempts this year despite double speed work night before.  Definitely felt the pace get harder on last few miles after such a short rest between runs. 

Thursday – 10 miles at 7:45 average – Was late for club session but managed to catch them on route.  Many dropped out early as tapering for London (jealous much?!) so I joined the hardcore rounding up to 10 for their final 4-5 miles at a speedy but conversational pace.  This left me the 5 miles on my own at the end so another attempt at a progressive section.  Managed to start at 7:31 and finish 7:11 pace and all but one mile was quicker.  Definitely recommend this session.  Hard work but focuses the mind and prevents the run turning into an amble.

Friday – 3.2 miles with Bella, 8:39 average – a gentle loop with dog after work.  She spent most of it paddling and chasing stuff.

Duck dog getting some lengths in

Saturday – Final longish run before MK Marathon.  Met up with some mates at 8am for a steady out and back (5.8miles at 8:11 average) to hit MK parkrun at 9am for some final speed work at the end (6:42 average and sneaked under 21 minutes).  Probably this should have been at marathon pace but got a bit carried away . 

Sunday – Sat on sofa and watched everyone run London Marathon on TV.  Then ran the dog up to parents, 4.15 miles at 8:07 average.

Worked out I turn 41 in March 2020 so could apply for VLM 2020 based on a sub 3:15 marathon from January 2018 onwards (unless they change the entry times).  Once I get my 100th marathon and 100 miler out the way this year I might concentrate on training properly for less marathons to try to get my time.  I may even eat properly, trim down, taper and not go off like a loon for the first 5 miles and regret it.  I may also learn a new language and master origami.  Many of these are unlikely.

 Weekly Total – 52.2 miles.  Now to taper for MK Marathon in a week!!

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A taper will leave you fresh for the marathon.  This is a taiper.  It’s cute but of little use at mile 18.

Final marathon advice for first timers!

With 95 marathons so far I’ve made every mistake possible (and some that probably aren’t) so distilled below is my ‘wisdom’ so you don’t have to make the mistakes.

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Stick to the plan

  • You’ve tested your breakfast , your snacks.
  • You’ve tested your pre-race poop strategy.
  • You’ve tested what you’re going to run in.
  • You’ve tested what fuel and hydration you’ll take on during your run.
  • You’ve tested sunglasses, hat or headband.
  • (If you have long hair like me (cough cough)) You’ve tested what combination of plaits/bunches/dreadlocks/Mohawk works best for you.
  • You’ve planned what to leave in your drop bag for after the race (warm hoodie, wet wipes, dry clothes).
  • You’ve planned what to wear whilst waiting in your start pen (bin bags are a good look).
  • You’ve decided what pace you’re going to run and tested it in training.

Go in your kit

Wear extra layers on top but ideally the first items you put on that morning are your complete running kit.  From trainers to hat you should have everything you need to run – especially your bib and timing chip! 

Travelling several hours from home to realise you’re still wearing the beat up flip flops you use to put the bins out is not ideal.  If you end up running late you don’t want to be getting changed on the train and showing the world your unmentionables as you try to squeeze out of your skinny jeans and slide on your running gear.

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Arrive early

This is not a parkrun.  You can’t wander up 2 minutes before, lob your hoodie in a bush for later and set off.

Allow time for several things to go wrong.  Hopefully they won’t and you can sit down under a tree, relax and soak up the atmosphere.  If they do go wrong you’ve got time to spare.

You need to allow to get to the venue through busy traffic and park/walk from bus/lock up bike.  Everything will take longer than you expect.

Join a toilet queue.  Then double check you have everything you need and queue to drop off bag.  Then toilet queue again.  Then warm up muscles.  Then join the crowd to the start pens.  Then realise you need a wee again, join the queue again and rejoin pen.  Then set off.

Things can go wrong

Trains run late, cars breakdown.  Parking and traffic management can take time.  If you’ve trained months for this spending countless hours pounding away you don’t want to blow it because you spent an extra 30mins in bed getting beauty sleep.  No amount of beauty sleep will improve the finishing photos.

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Avoid goal creep

You’ve planned and practised a pace.  Your taper has worked and you feel great so likely this will feel easy.  Don’t be tempted to increase the pace.  If you get to mile 20 and feel good then push, NOT at mile 3.  Every minute too fast on the first half will cost you two on the second.  Get tricked into aiming for a 4h45 rather than your planned 5h and you’ll likely blow up and miss the 5h.

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Stick to the plan – but also adapt!

If something goes wrong on the race don’t panic.

  • You reach down for your final gel to realise it’s fallen out.  All hope is not lost – swig an energy drink and power on.
  • Your Garmin goes flat.  You have no idea what pace you’re doing  –  rely on mile markers and ask other runners, run on feel.  If it feels too fast slow down.
  • The gel makes you gag and you threaten to vomit it up – stop taking them.  Stomach cramps and hair matted with sick will slow you more than a marginal loss in fuel.
  • You didn’t see a loved one at mile 12.  Now you’re miserable – they’re probably stuck in crowds or maybe they saw you but you missed them.  Keep going.
  • It’s way hotter than your practice runs – tip water over your head, bin some clothes, roll up sleeves, run in shade when able.

Most importantly – Enjoy!

This is your first marathon.  <1% of the population have run a marathon so you’re joining an exclusive club.  Whether you glide across the line in a world record time or drag yourself like a drunken student just before the cut off everyone has covered the same distance and has earned the medal.

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MK Marathon – Week 15 Training – Recovery from a 50 mile long run

Week 15 of 17

Once again sticking to my “Do as I say not as I do” approach my final long run before MK wasn’t 20 miles with sections at marathon pace like most would have done, but 50 miles on the South Downs Way 50.  Due to the hilly nature of the course this had sections ranging from “My god this downhill is fast I’m pretty sure I’m about to trip and eat dirt” to “I’ve been climbing this hill for what seems like hours and don’t appear to have moved forward discernibly”.  Despite a warm day I stuck broadly to plan (using peaked cap to fend off the sun and not quite enough sun cream it seems) and came in under the target 9hrs.  This clocked off marathon (or longer) 95 and left me three weeks to do final prep for the MK Marathon.  Endurance should be well and truly covered with that run and 8 other marathons so far in 2017. 

Plan was to recover for week 1, with some harder efforts towards the back end to gauge where I am.  Week 2 will be focussed on some speedwork to remind my legs what marathon pace will feel like on the day.  Finally week 3 will be my usual haphazard approach between tapering and getting irritable and ratty, and doing too much and regretting it come race day. 

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 Monday – Recovery run with Bella – 3 miles at 9:30 pace

With the race on Saturday it meant I had Sunday as a rest day with some walking and chasing kids on bikes as active recovery.  So come Monday I could do a little lap to turn legs over.  I felt fairly good but mindful of my one rule to make recovery runs short and slow I stopped at 3 miles and never pushed the pace.  Bella kept stopping or having to do run backs for me.  For a dog she has a very expressive way of showing her disappointment at slow running speed.

Tuesday – 3x10min with 3 min recovery – 6.85 miles at 7:30 average

Wasn’t sure how well speed work would go so close to the 50 but rest and recovery seemed to have worked and the relatively low turnout at the club helped as we all stuck together to push along in a little group.  Ran on effort not pace and expected to get a slow few miles was surprised to record some decent overall pace. 

Wednesday – 9 miles Bow Brickhill 7:44 average

Legs achy but no worse than expected and chipped along as well as able.  Faded a little towards the end but still kept a decent pace overall.  Surprise Strava segment PRs including the big hill.  I guess after the fun of the South Downs that Church Road seems like nothing.

Thursday – 12.6 miles at 7:42 average

Ran to and from club session to get some steady miles in.  5x3min intervals with 2min recovery.  

Good Friday – 6.4 miles at 8:51 average

Run with Bella to Caldecotte to cheer on runners in the Enigma Easter marathon.  Dog insisted on stopping in pub on way back for a pint.

 

Saturday – Lots!

13 mile long-ish run at 8:28, then MK parkrun as marathon pace effort at the end.  Went a bit quick and averaged 7:14 (I wish that was my marathon pace).  Then a 2 mile cooldown with doggie at 9:44 pace. Total mileage 18.11 for the day.

Sunday – Rest and eat chocolate

Overall weekly mileage – 56 miles.

 

 

It’s nearly London Marathon expo time!

If you’re lucky enough to be running London Marathon this year (I’m too slow for my age so will be watching from the sofa) it’s time to start planning how to get your race number.  Most marathons post these to you, taking advantage of the relatively new service called the Royal Mail which has only been around since 1516.  London Marathon don’t trust this new fangled delivery system so instead would prefer all 40,000 runners trek down to the Expo where they can collect them in person.

Your first Expo will feel like something special. You’ve made it to the big events.  Anyone can run parkrun or pop along to a local race, but only proper runners in proper events get to attend a massive exhibition of running to collect their race number.  You’ve probably booked time off work to attend and made special travel arrangements or plan to attend on the Saturday with seemingly every lycra clad person in a 200 mile radius for some quality queue action.

When to go

The 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon Expo opening hours are as follows:

  • Wednesday 18 April 11:00-20:00
  • Thursday 19 April 10:00-20:00
  • Friday 20 April 10:00-20:00
  • Saturday 21 April 09:00-17:00

It’s held at the ExCel in London which depending on where you’re coming from is either really easy or surprisingly hard to reach.  More info here from organisers.

What to bring

If collecting your number don’t forget your VMLM registration form that should have received by email in April, along with photo ID.  You can collect someone else’s number but need a copy of their ID, their registration form from VMLM and a signed letter authorising and naming you to collect.  Why someone might pass up the opportunity to attend in person may become clear.

If it’s your first expo

Once you’ve collected your number you’re going to visit every stall since you never know which one might be selling that secret ingredient for race day.  The 18 weeks of solid training are as nothing compared to this Aladdin’s cave of performance enhancing running paraphernalia.  A new belt for your gels?  An innovative sports supplement endorsed by someone you vaguely know was good at running and you might have seen on the telly?  They’re all there and all you have to do is whip out the credit card.

If you’re lucky there will be motivational talks and last minute advice from running celebrities. There won’t be enough seating so you’ll lean nonchalantly against a pillar listening to advice on pacing and recommendations for what to wear.  At some point you’ll panic that you don’t have a peaked cap.  You’ve never needed one before but the fella on stage said it would be sunny tomorrow and he’d be wearing one.  He’s a pro so of course he’s right and you’re an idiot to even contemplate running without one.  Off you shoot to the nearest hat stall to part with some more cash. Phew, crisis averted!

This carries on for many more hours. The bag of freebies when you registered is now groaning with not-so-free stuff.

You pose for selfies with backdrops of tower bridge, fill in cute cards on why you’re running and pin them to washing lines on a motivation wall.  You try on so many different trainers that are guaranteed to be faster than your current ones.  In fact some of these shoes are so ‘unique’ you can only purchase them here, as they’re not available in shops you’d be mad to miss out.

After a long day you return back to your home or hotel room, laden down with purchases and several pairs of new trainers (after all you might as well do this properly).  It’s probably around this point you realise you haven’t eaten much today except that manky hot dog from the exhibition stand that cost the price of a meal for two.  You feel a bit dry as well as you only had two cups of stale coffee and a free taster of rancid smoothie that promised to take 20 minutes off your marathon time.

Well done.  You’ve successfully spent 8 hours on your feet, barely sat except for a train ride, and finished the day tired, hungry and dehydrated.  Ideal marathon preparation.   In addition, you are now contemplating running the most important event of your running career in new gear from new manufacturers you’ve barely tried on. What could possibly go wrong?

For a cheap hobby you’ve spent a lot and likely most of it isn’t available in shops as it’s garbage.

On a more serious note your first expo is great but you really need to limit the damage (both financially and physically) of the trip.  Enjoy it but don’t let it ruin what you’ve trained for months for.  Your marathon experience and performance is based on miles in the legs and your condition and attitude on race day.  No amount of go-faster socks or gels will improve on that.

Pre-race Exhibitions – All others

You’ll find someone else who is going and ask them to collect your number.   They will venture out to a run down expo hall (that typically smell a bit damp) in the arse end of town to collect your number.  You spend the day at work or home hydrating and sitting as much as possible knowing your tried and tested race gear is already laid out on the spare bed ready to pin your number on.

If you can’t find a sacrificial lamb you attend yourself in SAS style, navigating the crowds like a ninja and are out quicker than a cash strapped investor on Dragons Den.