Adam Chapman is taking on the incredible challenge of the Marathon Des Sables – an ultra marathon through the desert. Check out his training update and support his fundraising for Walking With The Wounded through his Virgin Money Giving Page!
For half of each month I work in London, which means the majority of my running training takes place on the streets of our Great Nation’s Capital. Not the best preparation for the desert but needs must.
By now we’re all aware that getting fitter requires training, and training requires time. I won’t bore you on training techniques and plans as there are far better qualified people out there blogging and indeed training others. People like Rory Coleman, a fellow English expat in Cardiff, know a thing or two and has been successfully preparing runners for the MDS and other events.
Training in any urban centre can be tedious and dangerous but miles count and my simple training maxim is to train hard: run further when you have the time or run harder when you don’t have the time – whilst always listening to your body, e.g. taking a rest, x-training and having physio/sports massages.
London however has its own peculiarities and below are my positive and negatives points:
1. London is big: yes, very big which means you have on offer a massive variety of running routes available to you and variety is the spice of life and keeps the runner motivated. There are fantastic parks, the Thames Path and you don’t need to run the same route twice (unless you are trying to run it faster).
2. It beats public transport: not only does running keep you fit, it saves you money, time (I get to work quicker than on the train) and you do not have to endure the sheer torture of being crammed into a train carriage at rush hour without even the space to read a book. Or endure listening to at least 4 different people’s earphones and/or ridiculously loud phone conversations. Alternatively there is the depressed silence of the commute. On a bad day you may not even get on the train. And why don’t people give up seats or carry bags for people anymore? Must be a northern thing.
3. It’s interesting (the opposite of boring): a route taking in Sloane Square (spotted Ian Hislop), a stretch of the Thames Path (lots of runners and cyclists), followed by a couple of bridges (mistake) and the varied areas of Brixton, Clapham et al is full of sights and an insight into how varied our Capital is.
4. You can compete. There are usually plenty of other runners out in London (especially for the first couple of weeks following New Year), which means you can have your secret little race to overtake the person in front of you (come on, we’ve all done it).
6. It is an assault course. Zig zagging between people, traffic, bikes or avoiding all these things whilst skipping over curbs and up and down undulating and varied terrain is a good thing. Your leg muscles and joints are experiencing a greater range of movement and demands which is good for conditioning. You also vary your speed and make different demands on your body that way.
7. Your knowledge of London improves. It’s easy to get sucked into the underground rather than learning how close many places are to each other. It’s also useful for when you have no idea where you are after a night out and there are no taxis (or if your taxi driver is trying to pull a fast one). You can also become a taxi driver on completion of the “knowledge”.
1. Breathing in diesel fumes sucks.
2. It will never beat a rural run.
3. Boris Johnson.
I expected to have lots of negatives when writing this list, but was surprised with the number of positives which just goes to show, when in doubt Go Run. I believe that any training has to be better than none as long as you are not harming yourself in the process. Enjoying your running is vital however, otherwise it becomes a chore, and nobody likes chores. Preparing for the Marathon Des Sables has so far involved a lot of training, and a lot of miles. I have however tried to keep it as varied as possible in both the types of training I do and also the runs. As such, I have never felt like I’m going through the motions just to get miles under the belt and hopefully this will pay off come the race. Raising money for the Walking with the Wounded charity is always in the mind as well which adds further motivation.
– Adam Chapman, Walking With The Wounded Marathon Des Sables Team Member