Archive for March, 2011

It’s a Hard Life:

It’s been a busy few months in the Sir Jog A Lot camp. London Marathon training has, once again, dominated my life to the point where my girlfriend is starting to forget that I’m supposed to come home in the evening. Life at Runner’s World is hard work and fast-paced, but it’s a small price to pay for advice on-tap and the lunch-time speed work sessions (not to mention the free trainers!).

I’ve now taken on two speed sessions a week, including drills up and down the Mall at Buckingham Palace and a 5K handicap race against the people at the Virgin London Marathon. As a result I’ve knocked a full 4-minutes off my 5K PB time and can run (for at least 3 hours) at an 8:30 min/mile pace. This is a massive improvement on last year. It’s ball-busting work, but well worth the effort and I’m very lucky to have access to this little running club!

You might ask why I’m training so hard, when I’ll only have to run at an 11-minute-mile pace at the London Marathon this year.

Partly, it’s for confidence. A lot of people rely on the Runner’s World pace team and I certainly don’t want to let people down by not being prepared come race day. But mainly, it’s because of the three half-marathons that I’ve paced at this year already! And I’ve been pacing at 9 and 10-minute-miles.

It’s been a hell of a lot of fun. I’ve run Watford, Dorney Lake and the Silverstone Half-Marathon this year and I’ve nailed the finish time at each event. It’s a funny old game and as close the world of celebrity that I’ll probably ever get. If you miss a mile time (which I did on my very first mile at Watford), there’s a lot of whispering and moaning. It’s also surprisingly difficult at times. Obviously, GPS watches are pretty accurate (RW are sponsored by Timex this year), but weaving around the road adds 10 seconds here or there and the pacers’ aim is to hit each mile-marker dead on. So we have to judge it and run slightly slower than the watch says to.

While it’s a very rewarding experience, helping people achieve a personal best, it’s also very lonely. Almost all the pacers finish the race alone, having been left at the last mile by runners eager to beat their times! Boo hoo, poor me.

There’s a little over a month to go until London now and the excitement and nerves are starting to kick in again. I can’t wait to help a few bods reach the finish line in under 5 hours and I’m already brushing up on my knowledge of local London landmarks for an SJAL-style tour of the city! I’m going to bore you all so hard that you’ll have to crack 5 hours just to get away from me!

Peace out,

SJAL x

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