The Virgin Money London Marathon is a remarkable event, whether you run it or not. Regular readers of this blog will know that I planned to run it and I trained for it…and then injury hit.
For one month, I attended physio appointments, rested and did everything I could to get better – I even drank tart cherry juice and made sure I had at least 8 hours sleep a night. But if the wrong injury takes hold, the best plans in the world cannot fix your body. You need to be patient.
So this year, I attended the Virgin Money London Marathon at Mile 23 and I’m glad I did as it taught me several life lessons. Here are 6 positive things we can all learn from this year’s 26 mile race.
(1) The power of positive thinking.
At the 23 mile mark, people were in pain. You could see their running style flop. The knees started to sag and heads started to bow. But whenever someone heard the crowd chanting their name or they saw a friend or family member in the crowd they found some extra energy. When they felt positive and supported, they ran better.
(2) You’re never too old to make new friends
London is an intimidating city. People are in their cliques and the weekend and during the week, everyone is so focused on the commute that it’s almost a crime to look someone in the eye. But on marathon day, runners were encouraged to cross the finish line hand in hand. On the support crews, we chatted to other onlookers about who they were watching out for and helped each other identify our friends. The world is a better place when we’re nicer to each other.
(3) Take things step by step
If you asked any first-time runner what their goal was, many would have said ‘completing the course’, Running 26.2 miles is a really scary thought. I find that the only way to cope is to avoid thinking about the big distance and set a target for each mile. That principle can be applied to most things in life whether it’s losing weight or doing a big work project.
(4) Put things into perspective
I was devastated when I found out I couldn’t run this marathon. Some runners would have been upset that there were injured mid-course. But life isn’t over just because you don’t get the time you want or you’re not able to run. There is always next year.
(5) Have a plan
I was a spectator this year, but I still planned in advance by checking the weather forecast (so I knew what to wear), working out where the nearest loos were and tracking my friends on the Adidas map which sent me alerts each time my friends crossed a certain checkpoint, This meant my day ran smoothly,
From previous experience, I know the runners would have laid out their clothes the night before, planned their breakfasts in advance and put together a supply of gels and painkillers for post-race. Failure to do that would mean nerves and impact their performance. Life is easier when you have a vague plan!
(6) Celebrate your achievements!
Running a marathon is a huge achievement and the ideal cause for a celebration with friends and family. All too often, we look to the future and fail to remember the good things we’ve done in life.
Just as runners look back on their split times at the end of a race, I think everyone should take some time on a Friday to look back over their working week and feel proud, even if its just of something small.
Who’s running in 2016? Visit the Virgin Money London Marathon website for details of how to apply in the ballot on 4 May.