"Welcome back," said Tom, as I hung on his shoulder on yet another 500m repeat on the track, referring, I inferred, despite the racing pulse, to the fact that I hadn't been away long enough. Eight days after London I was at the Cambridge University sports track doing speedwork. This is not sensible behaviour. The body needs to recover after a marathon. Common wisdom says - in fact the training manuals say it too - that for every mile you race you should recover for one day. This does not mean not exercising at all: it means swimming, perhaps cycling and then some gentle running. It does not mean haring after Tom in a headwind, doing 500m hard, 100m jog recovery, 600m hard, 100m jog recovery, 700m hard, 4 mins rest, then repeating the whole routine twice.
At the end of the session I felt worse than I had done on Marathon Sunday. My lungs were empty. My muscle fibres were like spaghetti that's been cooked, drained then left to dry on highland gorse. But I was righteous. Running hard is so much more fun than those long, slow runs. "Welcome back," I thought to myself. The London Marathon is over and done - glory is very transient - and Edinburgh beckons at the end of the month, and perhaps all manner of things will be well.