The road to London: Fail to prepare, prepare to get back on Booking.com

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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.

It is sheer coincidence that I should start this countdown to my first London Marathon exactly 100 days from April 26.

And while it marks the beginning of me writing about my experience of training for London, the actual preparation has been going on for some months now.

He fell over.

He fell over.

I much prefer the planning to the actual running part anyway, the booking of warm-up races, hotels and post-race recovery days off. Anything I can do without having to go out and brave the elements basically.

The warm-up races are all in the diary - Not The Roman, Bramley 20, Warwick Half, Milton Keynes 20, East Hull 20, Massey Ferguson Tractor 10k - and I’ve just gone for the one day off after London.

I was also feeling pretty smug having sorted the hotel accommodation out last summer.

However, panic set in this week when I couldn’t remember where I had booked.

There is nothing in my emails, only the confirmation that I had cancelled some accommodation, presumably having found somewhere better.

Quite where that is I have no idea. I have logged on to Booking.com and every single hotel chain I can think of in the capital without success.

So I was back online this week, going door to door to find there was no room at the inn or it was only fit for animals or affordable for kings.

I eventually plumped for one at a price which I believe means I now part-own the property.

It does offer me the opportunity to walk back to it at the finish of the race, though, a show of huge over-confidence on my part suggesting that after running 26.2 miles, the lure of a hot shower will encourage me to tag a further two miles on the end.

Oh, and a flight of stairs.

But at least it’s booked so I can now concentrate on my training.

Today: rest day.

***

I shall chart my weekly training (and imodium use) in these columns, partly for myself as I am not sure I will be uploading it to Strava and partly just in case anyone is interested.

So far, I have not used a watch as I am still enjoying running to feel (it hurts, I must be going fast, it doesn’t hurt, I must be going slow). However, I think from next week I will be strapping on the Garmin.

Les Barnett will be giving me my training plan which I believe kicks in properly a week on Sunday.

We are targeting something ridiculous like 2hr 56min to 2hr 59min in much the same way an Apprentice candidate says: ‘If I shoot for the stars and miss at least I’ll reach the moon.”

But what do they know? They’ve never hit the wall at 15 miles and had to shuffle to the finish as I did in Rotterdam.

Or just jacked it in like I did at Liverpool.

This week:

Saturday: 10k cross-country in 42:46 (201st, lapped).

Monday: Around 14 miles at 7.45 pace.

Thursday: 6 easy, including a fall at Newbold Comyn in which trying to lessen the impact on my knee I rolled into a deep puddle (see pic).

Imodium usage (running total): 1.