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  • Writer's pictureDarren Last

London Marathon 22 - The Long Hot Summer

Updated: Feb 1

Paul Weller and the Style Council were right in 1983 with his hit 'Long Hot Summer'. It definitely relates when training for the London Marathon 2022 during this hot, humid, heatwave of a summer.

The London Marathon is normally held in April, which means winter training straight after Christmas. During Christmas you eat, you drink loads and welcome the beginning of a training plan as you move in to January, hitting the wagon and eating healthily. It is cold, social events are fewer and far between. It's a good time for focus and to have a target through the cold dark nights of January, February and March.

However, due to COVID-19 the London Marathon is taking place in October (2nd), this means the summer training where the weather is sweltering and social events are coming from all angles, quite the opposite to what I, and others, are used to.

I was originally due to run London two and half years ago, however on 13th March 2020, the news broke that London Marathon was cancelled due to the world going in to unknown territory of lockdowns with COVID-19. I was gutted, and, like most runners, had hit the final stages of the peak training phase. Everything was going swimmingly well until suddenly I was entering a two and half year taper.

But now, two years older, (and possibly the longest taper ever) I head in to the race week for the 2022 London Marathon.

The 2022 London Marathon medal awaits 🥰

In April 2020 I was running for Phabkids (as I always do), a fantastic charity that does so much for children and young people that have needs and disabilities. My place was deferred to this year (Oct 22) as I was unable to run in 2021 due to other events planned.. And now here we are, the week I have been longing for what seems like an eternity. I love London Marathon, its the best event, the crowds, the city, the runners. It's just the most incredible experience. This will my the 5th time running London 😀

This year has been generous so far, a PB by 8 seconds at Brighton Marathon in April, a great race at the Middle Distance Ironbourne Triathlon in Eastbourne in July, and a solid sprint triathlon down the Kent coast at the picturesque Whitstable.

The summer training has been a bit up and down, due to niggles, heat, rolling ankles, wisdom teeth etc, bit my training has been solid for the last 6 weeks. I managed to pick up some consistent training with long runs each week of between 30-36km (18-22 miles) as I moved in to the taper phase (finally).

A solid block of training post holiday - fortunately 😅

As mentioned, training has not been exactly how I had planned and needed to adapt as the summer over the summer.

Brighton seemed to take an age to recover from and left me with shin splints that didn't necessarily stop me training but did restrict the quality I would have liked.

As the heatwave began to hit in late June/early July I had a gum abscess which meant a dose of antibiotics, feeling too fatigued to train and tested positive for COVID-19 in this period (nothing more than a sniffle and tiredness). Luckily a week after this, I managed to complete the 'Ironbourne' event only to gain another infection involving a wisdom tooth which again put me back on the antibiotics and fatigued and unable to train. Wisdom tooth finally extracted in August.

August arrived. I managed to get the miles up again but a slip on a kerb meant that I had a very swollen ankle meaning I was unable to run again for another week or so. By the time it was improving I was heading for a weeks holiday in Portugal with the family. I always take the runners and planned to keep the training going but a combination of the 'still very' swollen ankle, flip flops, the shin splint and a new niggle of a cracked heal, meant that running was uncomfortable. I decided it was a sign so I resigned myself to the Super Bocks and Sangria to take full advantage of the rest.

I did manage the odd run whilst away in beautiful Portugal 🇵🇹

This is not gloom and doom, in fact it is quite the opposite, this is life and life happens, be it injuries, niggles, holidays, social events, it all adds up to having to deal with the hand you are dealt. Balance is required and nothing is ever plain sailing. I am under no illusion that what I had been dealt here is not bad at all.

I was due to take part in the Half Ironman in Weymouth on 18h September (2 weeks before London) but logistically and training wise it was all becoming just a bit too much to take on. Fitness-wise I would be fine but squeezing in the bike on top of the marathon training was a challenge and mentally was distracting my focus. You cannot beat London so Weymouth had to defer for next year.

So here we are with a solid 6 weeks training behind me going in to race week. I am feeling confident. I am ready. I am excited. I am experiencing the standard 'Maranoia'.

I am even actually thinking (or hoping) the way training block may work for me as I have more extended periods of rest that usual.

We will see. We will find out Sunday, but that's the joy of all this. We don't know the outcome. I am confident, but we know it will fecking hard and throw up some challenges, and great memories.

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