Four days left until The London Marathon

Posted on April 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

With four days to go until The London Marathon, we asked SYP Commissioning Editor Rosy Locke how her training was going. Here is what she had to say…


When I announced to friends and family that I was running the London Marathon a popular reaction was, before the disbelief gave way to horror, laughter. I have never been an athletic type, rather inclining more towards Camel Blue, Domino’s and all the channels Sky has to offer. However last November, at a party to celebrate the good works of the Book Trade Charity, I volunteered myself as a runner. Buoyed by the conviction that this was a charity worth supporting (and by the naivety of what 26 miles and 385 yards is) I set to training with enthusiasm.


First things first though, I needed to give up smoking. With lingering intent dating back months, giving up was to be the easiest part of the training. Whilst I still have fleeting moments of desire for a cigarette I am restrained by the knowledge that it wouldn’t be the tasteless satisfaction I was after but an acrid mouthful of smoke and a nauseated feeling that would be hard to shake. It takes packs of cigarettes to build immunity to this unpleasantness, packs I didn’t have time to smoke. The Beginner’s Training Guide on the Marathon website featured a 24 week training plan and after some quick calculations I came to the grim realisation that I was already weeks behind schedule.


My first ever run was brief and horrifying, though I can look back now and appreciate that it was a necessary evil to spur me into action. I set off with in the direction of the park in my Adidas Classics only to return 10 minutes later in a bad way. Breathing was quite difficult and I was in quite a lot of pain. My legs hurt and my teeth felt like they were going to fall out. Recuperating on the sofa I had a rethink about the work that was needed and I decided to modify the Beginner’s Training Guide to cater for my Pre-Beginner state. Short but frequent runs dramatically increased my fitness level; within a fortnight I was able to run for 30 minutes and emerge in a fairly reasonable condition. Although other problems began to emerge, in particular my knees and shins weren’t coping well with this unaccustomed strain. I needed a pair of running shoes.


The running shop a short way up from my offices offers a free running analysis in order to fit the right shoe for you. This consists of putting you on a running machine and filming it, then playing this back to you in unflattering slow motion and assessing your running style. I had never considered that I might have a running style but was nevertheless disappointed to find out that it was ‘disastrous’. I take off on the wrong part of the foot and land on the wrong part of my foot. My knee twists in the air. My hips don’t move in line with my legs. Thankfully I was given solid running instruction to go alongside my new super running shoes.


Back out on the pavement things were looking up; my knees and shins weren’t as painful and the distance I was covering was creeping up. Now I only had to contend with the crushing boredom of running. The problem being my mind wanders; once the route has been mentally mapped and I’m on course I have little to occupy myself with beyond the dangerous territory of marathon math: I’ve been running for 47 minutes (which rounds to 50 minutes) and I’ve come 5.5 miles which is about 1/5th of the marathon course so my total time would be (50 x 5) 5 hours which is 30 minutes slower that the average time of 4.30. That can’t be right. 26 divided by 5.5 etc. … The only remedy to this is to plug myself in and listen to music loudly. To my chagrin I have found the best music for the purpose of distraction is terrible; one hit wonders, largely pulled from a Happy New Year! Album, make up most of my running music and are confined to marathon playlists.


With London Marathon now so close training has ceased and all that is left to do is eat as much pasta as I can stand and scour the world of pop music for fresh singles to surreptitiously add to my marathon playlist. Friends and family have been arranged and posted around the course. My running outfit has been purchased and shoes suitably worn in. And no, I won’t be dressing up.


If you would like to help me support the Book Trade Charity please donate via our Virgin Money Giving Website –