Marathon Series: The Final Hours

Wednesday 21 October 2015 by

Running, Marathon training, #HoBFitness, Shadow, London, Fitness

Welcome back to week thirty eight of my Marathon Series, as I blog my way to a marathon – from beginner to 26.2 miles. This week, we’re talking about the final hours.

There’s a lot of talk about what the final week will be like. All I can tell you – a mere handful of days from the big race – is that it’s all true, and also that it doesn’t come close. There will be several things you notice in those final hours before race, and here are just a few…

Everything hurts

Every tiny twinge, every run, every movement, is suddenly imbued with added risk. That twinge you would never have paid any mind to before suddenly becomes a race-stopping injury. Every movement could mean a fall or a twist that puts you out of action. Getting bumped as you walk to work feels risky, standing on the tube feels risky. You feel like you might break if someone looks at you the wrong way. And a part of you wishes that you are injured, that you can gracefully bow out, and another (larger) part of you hopes that you will make it to the start line unmolested.

Everyone asks how you’re doing

Even if they have been hearing you harp on about it for months on end. Even if they know the date, the time, and the exact route you will be taking, now they start asking questions. The most common is “how do you feel”, which makes you feel even worse, and others just express how proud they are, or how mad they think you are. You’re inclined to agree.

You feel constantly sick

You’ll catch yourself thinking about the race at odd moments, and when you do, you will have to fight down that sick-inducing wave of nerves that gives you heart palpitations and sweaty palms. There’s no escaping it now – there’s no more of the training plan to set your mind to, and it’s not some distant date you don’t have to think about. It’s now. And it makes you feel sick.

You over-analyse your food

Should I be carb-loading? Is this food going to give me food poisoning, or am I going to be too heavy come race-day to move off the start line? Every mouthful is important in the final days, and as long as it’s the right food, you’ll be fine. But that won’t stop you wondering if you’re getting it right. You might even Google Mo Farrah’s eating plan (don’t do it – it makes you feel worse).

Nothing can prepare you for the dread and the excitement that comes in the final days. I’m sure, come Saturday night, I will be unbearable. You become super-charged with emotion, and it’s frightening and thrilling all at once. This is the biggest challenge of your life, and you know things won’t be the same afterwards.

Are you in the final hours before a big race? How do you feel?

Don’t forget to let me know how you’re getting on, using the hashtag #HoBFitness. And check back in a soon when we’re talking about crossing the finish line!

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