I've not really posted too much here about the progress of marathon training so it may come as a bit of a surprise to find that I'm running in the London marathon on Sunday (I know I'm surprised at how soon it is every time I look here).
I've thought out plenty of posts about running (e.g. about the similarities I find between running and knitting) during training--there's not much else to do on those long training runs apart from planning my future yarn shop in my head (I can spend half a mile figuring out how to arrange the sock yarn)--but I generally find that when I get back from my run I'm more concerned with issues like baths (hot or cold) and a cup of tea and a biscuit than sitting down at the pc and typing out my beautifully composed post.
However, as race day is nearly upon us, I thought I'd note down a few handy hints for those of you out and about in the capital on what is and is not acceptable to call out to marathon runners.
Things you can say:
"Well done!" This is always a safe bet.
"You're looking really strong!" All runners like to be told this. Even if they're feeling like wet lettuce at the time.
"You're running really well!" Ditto
"You can do it! Remember the training!" This is a helpful thing to shout to your runner - it reminds them that they have run the miles in training to enable them to complete the course (unless of course they didn't do the training, which is really their problem rather than yours).
Things we'd really rather you didn't:
"Run Forrest!" Nothing really ojectionable about this, at least not the first 10 times you hear it.
"Come on 118!" Ditto
"Not much further!" We've seen the course map, we know that this is a black lie.
"Just one more hill!" Ditto. In addition, what may not look like a hill to the naked eye, definitely feels like one with 17 miles in your legs.
"You're nearly there!" Again, don't shout this unless the runner is nearly there, i.e. less than a mile to go.
And the killer:
"Keep running!" Possibly the least helpful thing you can shout out to a runner. We entered the race, we did the training, we get the idea, really.
I'm really looking forward to the race. Whilst during training I try to let my mind wander as much as possible (with the occasional result that I end up running along the canal with no memory of getting there) in races I like to concentrate on the course and on running and of course London is extra special in that sense. There'll be no second chance to take it all in whilst running over Tower Bridge (not without a detour and serious detriment to my race time). However, if it gets really tough, I'll have a secret weapon. Tomorrow I'm heading to Stash to pick up sock yarn (very possibly Trekking XXL but we'll see). The plan is to save it until Monday and then spend my race recuperation day on the sofa (or balcony if fine) knitting socks and generally putting my feet up. So during the race, if it all gets too much, I can spend at least 6 miles debating lace versus textured knitting, toe-up against top-down, heel-flap against short-row.