A Brief Build-up to the Amsterdam Marathon
A Brief Build-up to the Amsterdam Marathon
It is one week until I run the Amsterdam Marathon. Two tough training weeks completed and the final week ahead. I have run the London Marathon twice before and run over several distances during my school and university careers. This race I am running with a friend called Chris- having never run with a mate before. I have never been to Amsterdam. A city renowned for many things: from its curvy canals filled with cozy coffee shops to its Red Light District filled with less cozy venues. Of greatest importance, it is in most parts a flat city! Training has gone well. The only hiccup being a slight left hamstring strain- which I hope will recover over the coming days. There have been a few obstacles which we have managed to navigate around so far.
Step 1- Getting a bib:
Twelve days ago we first contacted our respective “bib transferees”. As one might expect, deciding to do a marathon three weeks before it starts doesn’t make registration the easiest of tasks. I managed to contact, via email, a Romanian man called Marius who offered a bib at the face price of €70. With long distance exchange of “goods” it is important to gauge whether we could trust each other. At first, we exchanged emails but this does little to increase trust. Chris’ “bib transferee” had suggested PayPal which is a good way to transfer the money. It means you can track your money and also both parties have to enter all their details. Marius added me as a friend on Facebook which is another good idea to build trust. He now wants to run a mountain marathon with me next spring!
Step 2- Flights:
Booking flights is always an infuriating process. You look at first to check the possibility of flying. The “cookies” on some sites are stored and when you come back consequent times the prices start to go up and up. We used STA Travel which are helpful in particular for students when looking to travel. Often it is best to locate your local STA store and go talk to them to get best deals. Cheap flights are easiest to achieve if you are flexible on your dates. Prices correlate to availability. We are flying out on the Saturday…Running on the Sunday…Returning late on Tuesday.
Step 3- Hostel:
When looking for a hostel, we wanted to be central for the days after the marathon. We sacrificed peace and quiet for the night before the marathon for location which may come back to bite us! We are staying at the Uptown Flying Pig. We are staying in a twelve-person dormitory- which may bring its own challenges!
Step 4- Kit:
I am always a cynic of how big the effect of kit is. The only thing I have ever invested in is football boots! After a 20 mile run last Wednesday, my housemate commented on my trainers’ missing parts of the sole. I decided to go to Decathlon today and invest in some proper trainers. A knowledgeable runner assisted me in choosing the right trainer. I was able to try them on the treadmill which made a great difference. I go for shoes that have a tight fit around my foot when running. This is not a good idea (I now know) as your feet expand during a marathon due to heat. I went in looking for a size 9 and left with a size 10 trainer. I was also told one should replace their trainers every 800 km (20 marathons). I think these trainers will see me through to my Iron Man end goal!
Step 5- Diet/ Student Lifestyle
My natural diet at its basic level is healthy. I don’t deprive myself of anything as I know in general I am healthy. I think one offs don’t change much as long as in moderation. I am planning on recovering muscle etc. via a high protein diet over the next few days. I am then planning on a high carbohydrate diet on the days immediately before the run. One thing I might regret not cutting down on is the social parts of my student lifestyle. I blame my persistent mates and my inability to say no for the several missed morning runs!
Step 6- Training
Training has gone well- which is surprising. I have done a 5km, 10km, 16km, 32km run at, on average, four day intervals. I am planning on doing a 20km run tomorrow and then a 5km later in the week. I have been training on grass as my knees already click when I bend them. Grass is more forgiving than concrete. I have amassed more than 130 miles racing on concrete let alone training- not great for joints. I have been playing rugby and football on 9 of the past 12 days. Different types of exercise keep me enthusiastic!
This is what has happened so far. I am excited for the marathon in 7 days. It is the first step on the ladder to the Ironman. I will be back with the proof of the pudding next week. Showing whether the decisions I have made over the past three weeks have been right or wrong. Starting with deciding to do a marathon!