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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 March 2005, 19:33 GMT
Back on track for the last lap

By Sir Steve Redgrave
Five-time Olympic rowing gold medallist

Less than a month to go to the London Marathon and after feeling a bit down for the last two weeks, I think I'm now heading in the right direction.

Sir Steve Redgrave prepares for his training run at home
Steve suffers from sore toes after completing a 16-mile run

Last weekend was make or break time for me in many respects. I was scheduled to take part in a 16-mile race at Kingston but because I had missed training for two weeks with flu I didn't know how it would go.

I thought, 'well, this is going to be either a real boost or a big step backwards.'

On Sunday morning I woke up and decided I would definitely run one lap of the course, which would be eight miles. Anyway, the idea was to get a long run under my belt rather than trying to set a decent time.

After about six miles, I decided to go for the full 16m. After about 12 miles, I started to get fatigued.

It was not so much the fitness and breathing but more my muscles and joints tightening up. I felt like stopping and if it wasn't an organised run I would have done.

Did I feel any after-effects after running 16 miles? To be honest, I was already feeling them before the race

When you are trying to haul yourself back into training, it is much easier to do a formal run rather than go out by yourself. On your own, you can think of all sorts of excuses to get out of it and it's much more tempting to stop.

In Kingston, there was an atmosphere of being in it together with hundreds of other people. That's what kept me going in some respect and it'll be the same in the marathon.

Did I feel any after-effects after running 16 miles? To be honest, I was already feeling them before the race.

I felt very exhausted afterwards and my toes were sore more than anything but I recovered quite quickly, which was pleasing.

Then I had to go straight from the race to a film premiere with the family in Leicester Square. I hobbled in and everyone was asking what was wrong with me.

My legs have felt pretty stiff since then, especially the calves, but I'm almost back to normal now - at least I don't have to walk backwards down the stairs now.

What struck me after the 16m race was thinking that at that point in the marathon I'd still have 10m left to go. It will be much harder to muster the enthusiasm to keep going then.

Even more daunting than the marathon itself though is the long run I have to do this week as part of my training programme.

Sir Steve Redgrave with wife Ann and their three children
The Redgrave family will all be involved in training over Easter

So soon after the Kingston race, running for 170 minutes seems like a mammoth task. The last couple of days there was no way I could have even put a pair of training shoes on let alone pound the streets.

But if I can get this run out the way then I should be in reasonable shape for London.

On top of that it's a bit chaotic at home at the moment as the children are off school for the Easter holidays.

Our families will be coming over on Sunday for Easter lunch.

I plan to go out running before that then I'll have a good excuse in the afternoon to say I'm tired and I've got to sit down and watch TV.

You see there are some up sides to running the marathon after all.

Flu upsets four-hour ambition
17 Mar 05 |  Athletics
Suffering on the sidelines
09 Mar 05 |  Athletics
Running around the Olympics
22 Feb 05 |  Athletics
Taking a break from the routine
13 Feb 05 |  Athletics
Reasons to race again
04 Feb 05 |  Athletics

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