Neil Featherby: marathon season is here at last, so start in a positive mood

Action from last year's Bungay Black Dog Marathon.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Action from last year's Bungay Black Dog Marathon.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

So, at last, marathon month has now arrived after weeks and months of hard training and many miles out on the road in all weathers.

10K runners making their way past Holy Trinity Church in Bungay at last year's Bungay Black Dog Mara

10K runners making their way past Holy Trinity Church in Bungay at last year's Bungay Black Dog Marathon. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

However, now that so many people's big day is just about upon them, this is the time when thoughts really do start to become even more heightened.

'Have I done enough training?', 'should I have done just one more long run?', 'that niggle at the back of my leg suddenly feels worse than it did before' and, of course, 'is that tickle in my throat the start of a cold coming on?'

We were absolutely inundated with marathon and half marathon runners coming into Sportlink over the Easter weekend, all asking for advice, whilst also looking for reassurance. My emails and private social media messages have been rammed too.

The truth is, particularly for the inexperienced, these thoughts are perfectly natural.

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In some cases I have to say that I have advised one or two people to think about deferring their places as they are potentially sitting on what could turn out to be a nasty injury or have just not done enough training.

But with the majority, my advice is to just take a deep breath and look back at all the hard work which has gone in to getting them in peak form for what will most certainly be a marathon performance.

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Think positive from now right up to standing on the start line.

If anything, the big day itself may just well prove to be much easier than some of the hard training sessions. That is why we do train!

Training for a marathon is much more than just about making our bodies strong, it is about making the mind strong too. This is where all those many miles out on the road helps to develop all-round physical and mental strength whereby if and when there are any bad points during those 26.2 miles, or indeed 13.1 miles, for any half marathon runners, then you will no doubt have been there a few times before in training and know if you stay strong then your inner self will bring you through it.

The first of the big city marathons start this weekend, with Manchester followed by Brighton and then, of course, London.

However, and closer to home, we also have the Bungay Marathon this coming weekend.

This is a race which has most certainly stood the test of time, what with the first running of this marathon dating back to 1982. I won it myself many years ago (1989) and recently posted an article on our Sportlink website about my own personal experience of taking part in this really well-organised event.

Good luck to everyone who is taking part in one of the races mentioned in this column and indeed to anyone who is racing elsewhere during the month of April.

Lastly, it's Commonwealth Games time again.

My first memory of these Games goes right back to 1970 when they were staged in Edinburgh. Whilst that seems so long ago, I do still remember pretty vividly some of the great athletes of that era who very much stirred my 12-year-old mind back then.

Forty eight years on, all the very best to local athletes Iona Lake, Sophie McKinna and Chris Baker who will be competing Down Under for England whilst of course also proudly flying the Norfolk flag too.

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