Taper capers

Thank you for reading my running blog.

The big day will soon be here. Just two weeks and one day to go until my first marathon! It’s been a fantastic journey. The weather may not have been kind, but my efforts have been going well and the whole experience has been unforgettable. One of the highlights has to be 20 miles in driving sleet a couple of weeks ago.The support I’ve received from friends, colleagues and readers of this blog has been incredible.

I am running for Mencap, to which I have a strong personal attachment, as my uncle Roy was born with severe learning difficulties. I spent a lot of time with him as a child and my life would have been very much the poorer without the contact I had with him. Last month a disturbing article about vulnerable people who suffer from learning difficulties reminded me once again why I chose this charity, and I feel incredibly proud to be running for them and for Roy. It’s not too late to sponsor me, and any support you feel able to offer, however small, will really spur me on the day, and will be going to a fantastic cause. My sponsorship page is at: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PaulDCollins.

I would like to mention the recent death of Mabel Cooper, a truly inspirational and kind woman who worked tirelessly in raising the issue of bullying and discrimination against people with learning difficulties.

During the last few days, I’ve been tapering. As a marathon first-timer, this period has caused me some anxiety – will I be able to run the distance when the big day arrives? Thankfully, I’m not the only one to have experienced this and there are many helpful articles out there to provide some comfort. The Guardian’s Running Blog offers some useful advice. Then, there’s the post-marathon recovery – rehydration, refuelling, ice baths. What should my next challenge be – a quicker marathon, perhaps do an ultra-marathon? What I’m rapidly becoming aware of is that, having put my heart and soul into training for the marathon, I need a plan for the days after it – another part of the overall marathon strategy.

So, training has been fairly gentle this week with more rest built in – 7 miles on Wednesday, 5 miles on Friday. Saturday I ran the Serpentine Running Club handicap and managed to achieve a personal best!

Have a great week!

Best wishes,


  1. Julia said:

    I remember feeling that I wouldn’t be ready too! With the training plan that I followed, the longest distance that I had ever ran was 20 miles. 6.2 MORE miles seemed like it would be almost impossible. I was determined to cross the finish line…even if I was one of those who crawled across 🙂 It went much better than I had imagined. I’m sure you’ll do great as well! Enjoy!

  2. Thank you, Julia. I’m really looking forward to the big day. Best wishes, Paul

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