Losing toenails, getting intimate with foam rollers and spotting Batman – 9 reflections from my 2015 marathon training

  1. There is nothing quite like the satisfaction of losing both your big toenails as a result of the increased miles. Though, strangely, my wife will not entertain any discussion of this ever happening, particularly over dinner.
  1. It’s a very bad idea to go for a 20 mile run the morning after your wife’s 40th birthday party, with only a few hours sleep in the bank. But, as a running sadist, I made sure it was a very hilly run, and felt smug for having done it.
  1. Despite repeatedly running along a number of routes in recent months, everyday I see something new. Yesterday, I saw a man dressed as Batman (yes, I am assuming it’s not the real Batman as the man was wearing Nike running shoes and everyone knows Batman actually wears a pair of New Balance).
  1. Run commuting works brilliantly when trains run on time. It works less well when your train is cancelled after a marathon paced ten miler, in freezing temperatures, and you are stood on a platform at Clapham Junction with your body temperature falling faster than Madonna at the Brits.
  1. It is possible to train all winter in shorts. It’s not always nice, but you get to cling onto the thought that you are just like Steve Jones, even though he is actually tough, can run a marathon nearly one hour quicker than you and doesn’t have a hot Ribena after every long run.
  1. One run really can make or break your running confidence. One day you are cock of the walk after completing a long tempo run under target time. The next, you are a feather duster, struggling to keep up with a rather large bloke as he ‘speeds’ past you on the Embankment wearing an England football shirt with “Fat Dave” on the back.
  1. Marathon niggles do come all at once, providing conclusive proof to your wife that you really are a hypercondriac. After all, as the song goes: the foot bone’s connected to the leg bone, the leg bone’s connected to the knee bone, the knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone, and the hip bone’s connected to the backbone… and I clearly lack one of those, as everything friggin hurts!
  1. From the laughter that stems from my family, one should never ever get intimate with a foam roller in public. Forget Gogglebox, the first television channel to commission footage of runners attempting to foam roll their legs while watching TV could be screening pure comedy gold.
  1. Even on the most horrible, cold, dark, damp mornings in February, getting up at 5.30am to go for a run is a pleasure, and not a chore. It may not feel like it at the start of a run, but it always feels like it at the end. Every day that we run, is a good day.


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