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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 April, 2005, 21:37 GMT 22:37 UK
Knowing when to stop is the key

By Sir Steve Redgrave
Five-time Olympic rowing gold medallist

My second London Marathon is almost in sight now and I feel pretty much the same as I did four years ago on my debut - that I'm embracing something new and exciting.

A few days ago the doubts started to creep in again but now I'm excited. I've collected my number from Canary Wharf and I'm starting to sense a bit of the atmosphere building in the capital.

Sir Steve Redgrave prepares at home
Steve makes last-minute preparations for the final run

My final preparations have gone pretty much as I hoped they would.

Last Sunday I did an hour's run down at Dorney Lake, where the rowing world championships are being held next year.

While my daughter went out rowing, I ran two-and-a-half laps round the lake.

It was really windy so I found it quite tough and I did feel quite tired by the end of it

But the rest of the week the training has been so light, I've started to think "yeah, it'll be all right on the day", although my wife Ann is now shaking her head at me.

Because I was a professional athlete myself, I am used to training right up until race day itself. It is important to keep loose so I will do my final 20-minute run on Saturday.

As far as the rest of my preparations have been concerned, I've just been doing what I normally do and getting on with family life.

We already eat lots of carbohydrates anyway, especially because the kids love pasta, so I've not been doing any carbo-loading.

Somebody told me off last Saturday when they caught me with a glass of wine, but I just said, "well, there are still eight days to go!"

I believe what you put into your body over the final few days is what really makes a difference.

Knowing when to give in to the pain and when to push on will be the key to the race for me

On the morning of the race I will be getting up early and catching a coach from our hotel at seven o'clock in the morning.

I have to go down to the start of the Flora Family Marathon, which Ann and our three children are all taking part in.

Then I have some interviews to do before heading off to official start the elite races with Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and my old rowing team-mate James Cracknell.

None of the stuff before the race is very taxing and in some ways it will take my mind off what is about to happen over the next 26.2 miles.

To keep me going during the race, I'll have a bowl of porridge because that's what I had last time.

The Redgrave family
The entire Redgrave family will be running on Sunday - but only Steve will do the full 26.2 miles

I am a diabetic too so I will have to give myself some insulin before the race because exercise burns off blood sugar levels.

I have been around some of the elite athletes and past winners at various media events and celebrations leading up to the 25th London Marathon.

I know they are getting nervous about getting around quicker than anybody else while the rest of us are anxious about just getting round.

My preparation has not been ideal so I know that at some stage during the race I will have to walk. The most important thing will be getting the balance between running and walking just right.

It is possible to run yourself to a standstill to the point where it becomes a major struggle to walk.

Knowing when to give in to the pain and when to push on will be the key to the race for me.

  • This year Steve will donate all the proceeds from his London Marathon efforts to victims of the tsunami.

    He will be raising money through the Steve Redgrave Trust which supports the Association of Children's Hospices, the Children With Leukaemia charity, and the Trust's own project which aims to provide inner-city schools with rowing equipment.

    Find out how Steve gets on in the London Marathon in his column next week.

    Take a virtual tour around the route of the London Marathon

    Why am I doing this again?
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    Digging deep for the final stretch
    01 Apr 05 |  Athletics
    Back on track for the last lap
    24 Mar 05 |  Athletics
    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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