The Road to London: Every second counts

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  • A weekly catch-up with Courier & Weekly News sports editor PAUL OKEY as he builds up to his long-awaited London Marathon debut.

I had my first road race of the year on Sunday and I was robbed.

Not of first or second, or even 22nd (I was 23rd) but of seven seconds.

It’s hard to explain to non-runners and I’m sure there are plenty of runners who won’t feel my pain, after all I was some way outside a personal best (it was windy, I’d run ten miles the day before, and oh, have I mentioned my hernia?).

But seven seconds is seven seconds.

It may even have been eight until I crossed the start line at the Not The Roman IX but I’ll never know because my chip didn’t pick up on the start mat.

Thankfully it did at the finish but that’s not the point.

I even considered contacting the chip company to try and get my seven seconds back which I then realised was the act of a madman.

But it’s not just the seven seconds, it is the appearance that my chip time and gun time being the same gives off.

It looks like I felt I had such a good chance of winning the race that rather than taking my place among the also-rans, I lined up on the front row like I was Mo bloody Farah.

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Talking about seconds lost takes me neatly on to this week’s running-related online obsession, the Nike Vaporflys.

Should I or shouldn’t I?

I’m not paid enough to justify shelling out £240 for a pair or running shoes, even if they do offer a four per cent improvement (which could equate to several minutes for a three-hour marathon runner, which I’m now convincing myself I am).

But if I can get a pair of the old variants for around £140 I might be tempted.

On top of the cost, though (I have never paid more than £80 for a pair of running shoes), there is the moral dilemma.

Is it technological doping?

A lot has been made of this across the media but it isn’t just Nike who are using carbon plates in their shoes. It is just Nike have been more obvious in quantifying the benefits with the four per cent claim.

It’s not as if other running shoe manufacturers don’t try and gain you an extra per cent or two with the constant updates to their models.

The aim of every shoes is surely to help the wearer run faster than before.

Provided I get on with them, as they are reportedly quite hard to get use to, it might be a case of weighing up the cost per second improvement.

How much am I willing to pay to get my time down?

I’d have paid quite a lot for those seven seconds last Sunday.

This week:

Saturday: 10 miles easy.

Sunday: Not the Roman IX. 12k in 49:15 (Gun time!).

Tuesday: 1.5-mile warm-up, 5 x 1 mile reps at 6:20 pace, 1.5-mile warm-down.

Wednesday: 14 miles including middle 7 at 7:30 pace.

Friday 10 miles easy.

Imodium usage (running total): 3