My final preparations for this year’s London Marathon

by Camila Fernandez Marie Curie fundraiser Camila is running the Virgin Money London Marathon   for Marie Curie and will be writing a regular blog in the run-up to the event in April. If you already have a place for this year’s event, we’d love you to join our Daffodil team to raise money for Marie Curie. Camilla-Fernandez

The end is almost in sight. But before I could take my foot off the gas and enjoy my final two weeks taper (when you reduce your exercise in the lead-up to a race) I had my daunting 22-miler to complete. It was a distance that to me felt incomprehensible and I was filled with fear of hitting that dreaded "wall". I began frantically quizzing others who had run marathons: Do you cramp? Do you cry? How do you get through it?
I prepared as best I could. I scoured the internet for information on the best foods to load up on, which kinds to avoid and how much I should eat? I found that my diet should consist of 60-70% carbs but that I shouldn't use it as an excuse to go crazy and start eating huge portions. Apparently you should feel satisfied but not stuffed after eating. I planned my route and ate properly and stocked myself up with gels. I ran the 22 miles very slowly. At this stage I'm just concerned about finishing the race. I'm not going to put myself under any more pressure than I need to. The distance hurt and I did yelp and shuffle for the last four miles, but I feel so much more assured that I can now complete this marathon. After all the panicking and worrying I know now that I can't do any more than I've already done. It's time to put down my training books and know that I've got this.

What I’ve learned

I feel like during this training I've learned a lot. If I were to do it again I would definitely concentrate more energy on working on more core and cross training. I've been told that if the core isn't strong then your form will really suffer during the latter miles. I can hold “the plank” for precisely 30 seconds max at the moment so you'll probably find me at mile 23 hump backed, shoulders slumped, staring at my toes and shuffling along at a snail pace. I would perhaps focus more on speed work too. I started with good intentions but what with juggling work and life stuff I just concentrated on ensuring I got the miles in. The ultimate goal for me right now is raising money and achieving this for my dad. In these next couple of weeks it's also important to do a few runs in your race day kit to test how it fits. If anything chafes or doesn't sit right then it's a good idea to sort it out now rather than finding yourself running 26.2 miles in even more discomfort than you'll already be experiencing. So now for the most fun part of training, bring on the taper...