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Last Updated: Friday, 1 April, 2005, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
Digging deep for the final stretch

By Sir Steve Redgrave
Five-time Olympic rowing gold medallist

I have done more preparation for this year's London Marathon than I did the first time I ran it four years ago - but I don't feel as confident as I did then.

Maybe that was because I didn't know what I was letting myself in for then. Now I know just how daunting it is.

My running plans have once again taken a knock. Last weekend I was supposed to do a 20-mile run but my toes were still suffering from the long run the previous week.

Sir Steve Redgrave in training for the London Marathon
Running has become as bit of a struggle as the flu strikes again

One of the pieces of advice you hear when you are training for the marathon is "don't get too attached to your toenails". It looks like I will lose a few of mine.

I came up with the cunning plan of swapping my schedule around and just running for a couple of hours last Sunday.

But I got an hour and 15 minutes into the run and had to stop. I just had no energy and got slower and slower.

I blame it on a reoccurrence of the flu that hit me a few weeks ago.

When I stopped I was miles away from home but knew there was no one in to come and pick me up.

I ended up walking for five minutes and then slowly jogging for 10, so I suppose I made the best of a bad job.

Now I think I need one more very long run under my belt, somewhere in the region of 16-20m.

If I manage that I will feel confident I can get round the course in a good time, although I don't think I can break the four-hour mark.

I pretty much ran and walked over the last third of the race in 2001 but I'd really like to do it without stopping this time.

I finished in four hours and 52 minutes then and I'd be extremely disappointed if I was slower this time.

I'll be up against my old rowing team-mates James Cracknell and Greg Searle but none of us are in the best shape

I suppose one of the issues four years ago was that I ran it with my wife Ann.

We said we would complete it together but when you run with someone else you have to go through their ups and downs as well as your own and that can be difficult.

This year we both plan to run our own races in the marathon, although I'm not convinced Ann will be able to complete the race.

She has been suffering with flu, too, and is now talking about just doing half the race.

With all three of our children taking part in the mini-marathon, Ann thinks that , if she is going to be there, she may as well run what she can.

Former coxless fours team-mate James Cracknell and British rowing team-mate Greg Searle are also running.

I haven't heard too much about how James is getting on but I know he has a hip and a knee problem.

He thinks he can run under three hours on the day but I think he'll find that pretty tough.

I would say Greg is a three-and-a-half hour man, but he's had a back injury. I saw him last week and he thinks he's got enough training in the bank to complete the race.

We may be former Olympic gold medallists, but none of us are in the best of shape.

I just keep looking on the bright side. In a few more days the London Marathon will all be over.

  • 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 provides inner-city schools with rowing equipment.

    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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