It’s happening again. Oh lordy, it’s happening again. It’s so far! I will be on my feet for such a long time! I’ll be so tired and that I might be sick!

It is hard to answer those things, but I really do why I’m doing this gloomy thing again: the siren of this marathon won’t leave many runners, and I’ve been caught in the loop for 2 decades now.

There’s no point recalling the low moments, the challenging training, the sacrifices I am making again. I’m hell-bent about solving the marathon puzzle, getting the time that I think I should be hitting.

Reading my race report from last year, the memory of the end comes screaming back. A terribly muted finish in front of grandstands of individuals not really making a great deal of noise. The finish is quite unedifying in the London Marathon.

Then I remember being unable to breathe properly, wondering when I should enter the medical tent, but realising I have only run a really long way and I’m probably a little exhausted.

It took some time (and involved sitting quietly on a few hotel measures), but eventually I began to recover. In that time that I began to think back into the race, the way I had not attained time I’d wanted, but also how I had really begun to struggle in the final six miles and promised myself to respect the reality that I didn’t stop and walk at any stage, holding on this little bit longer period, and time, and time.

I didn’t want it left as a blot on my record, even if I did do much better in another race (I haven’t, by the way).

So here I am, readying another journal to march me towards the next beginning line. I thought I understood what I did wrong last year: I attempted to do a lot at once, going into the gym while eating and running really well and not touching alcohol.

It turned out to be a good idea, but through my training I saw as my 10K and half marathon times improved, attempting to do too much training and nothing was advancing.

The marathon was, predictably, some thing of a failure in contrast to my target — and I knew I needed to try again to determine the puzzle.

Here’s where the story got strange though: in the following weeks and weeks, with my training intensity dipping hard due to a lack of inspiration and personal events… I began to get faster.

My 5K, 10K and (almost) half marathon times all began to shoot back down I was flying my club ranks and this was on ‘poor’ training and definitelypoor eating. I could just emphasise two things I functioned nicely when I allowed myself to rest, and the strength / cardio had started some momentum that took a while to come through, like a flywheel taking the time to get up to pace.

That continued right throughout the entire year, and I resolved to do something with it : spend some time getting powerful in the gym, with minimal running, then switch both over at Christmas and start marathon levels of jogging per week.

It looked like a genius program, and it seemed to work. I was feeling really strong come the yuletide period, my race occasions hadn’t depleted too badly despite conducting less and I was ready to begin. Also, I was eating all of the cake that I could because I wasn’t going to go through that again.

This past year I introduced the question: ‘Is the trick to conducting a fast marathon actually biscuits?’ And I am very much going to find from that is the situation. This past year I ate sweet potato and cous cous, getting down to some decent racing weight, but had been so sparse one YouTube commenter kindly asked the question: ‘Why are you letting crack addicts review your mobiles?’ .

I would have been offended but I was quite slender, but my Mum (and, for some reason, some of her friends) were hugely vocal in telling me I did not look healthy. ‘But I’m training for a marathon!’ I pleaded, even though knowing I seemed just like a human lollipop.

This year I celebrated a 22-mile streak with two full-fat roast dinners plus a Twix.