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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 April 2005, 18:55 GMT 19:55 UK
Why am I doing this again?


By Sir Steve Redgrave
Five-time Olympic rowing gold medallist

Since I started training for the London Marathon just after Christmas, I've gone from really looking forward to it to thinking, 'why am I putting myself through this again?'

The daunting thought of the race day itself is getting to me now. I've not run the full 26 miles in training - most people don't either.

Sir Steve Redgrave on action in his treadmill
Steve gets back on the treadmill at home for the remaining gentle runs

It is a satisfying feeling to have all the long training runs out the way but at the back of my mind I know the hardest is still to come.

Because of my sporting background I know the training is just something you have to do - I did it for 25 years.

Last weekend I did my final, long training run. It was OK but not without a few hiccups.

I was very comfortable running for the first two hours and then I started to struggle after about 155 minutes.

You do hit the stage when you think, 'I'd rather just stop now, get in the car and drive home.'

I just kept telling myself this was my final long run and that all the hard work and distance is behind me now.

But I then started getting a pain in my left calf and I had to stop eventually because I was hobbling more than running.

I am a bit concerned about this calf. I think I can run on it but what concerns me is for how long? I will have some treatment on it but I have no idea if it will come back during the marathon.

Apart from that I was pleased with the run. I managed to keep going for 160 minutes and covered just over 17 miles so it was a reasonable speed.

There are still plenty of distractions to stop me worrying too much about the race itself

Mentally, I'm more positive than I was a few weeks ago but I wish I hadn't been ill. The first part of the training had gone so well and I would have loved to have broken four hours, but I don't think that is a realistic aim now.

When setbacks happen you just have to get on with the rest of your life but at the back of my mind I know the marathon is coming up.

I'm making sure I'm not having too many late nights and that I'm eating properly and resting.

There is a special dinner to mark the 25th anniversary of the marathon next Thursday and I have been invited, but apart from that I've cleared my diary.

But there are still plenty of distractions to stop me worrying too much about the race itself.

I have been a Chelsea fan since the late 1960s and I'll be glued to the TV watching how they go on in the Champions League.

I don't know if we can go through - our struggle is we haven't really got a consistent goalscorer.

So between me and the marathon and Chelsea and the Champions League, it could be a nervous few days all round.

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

    Steve will be writing a regular column on the ups and downs of his marathon training for the BBC Sport website.

    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.

  • SEE ALSO
    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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