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A Marathon Journey Part II

by Michael Piper |  Published: Jun 02, '11


Read part I of Michael Piper’s blog here.

I ran on a treadmill for a few reasons – I wasn’t very good at pacing myself, and I don’t much like London weather, or dodging traffic, people and dog crap. On top of that, as a diabetic, I needed to carry plenty of sugar with me to consume while training – the equivalent of a 500ml bottle of lucozade for every 3km/2miles. When the weather got nicer, though, around early march, and I switched to running outdoors, which actually became pleasant.

Eating right is a very important factor in training. As a diabetic, it was extra tough for me. The underlying message is to ensure I get enough carbohydrates into my system, but some of the energy has to come from protein and fat for my muscles to build correctly. Fortunately, none of this was a problem for me and my incredible appetite.

It’s also important to tone down the training for the last week – I received conflicting advice, and was very nervous about whether I had enough stamina to make it, but I held off on running for a full four days before the marathon itself. Unless you’re an experienced runner, taking some time off helps you prepare mentally as well.

Obviously, running a lot helped me keep healthy, but it’s important to give the body a helping hand, make things easier. As well as eating good (unprocessed) food, I drank lots and lots of water at all times. During the race itself the advice is to drink little and often – i.e. don’t down a bottle at a time. It actually goes straight through your system if you do that. That advice is good in general, regardless of exercise – drink slowly, and the water stays in your system and is put to better use.

The last important stage in helping my body out was to regulate my sleeping patterns. As a sometimes online, sometimes live poker player over the last 5 years, I had no real sense of routine. I was lucky if I knew what day of the week it was, sometimes. However, that all had to change. The gym closes at 9 p.m., and I don’t really relish the idea of running in the dark next to a canal – the park closes at 8. I made it a point to wake up before midday every day between January the 1st and the day of the marathon – April 17th. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep to that! But I tried, and I got quite close. In the end, my body and my sanity thanked me.

One piece of advice I received was not to wear clothes on the day of the marathon that I hadn’t already worn during training. You know why? Well the solution involves vaseline. By god. I only started using vaseline on the day of the marathon. I could have done with it during training. Let’s just say blood does come out in the wash.

I found a GPS watch useful for training as well, obviously mostly when I was training outdoors, but it was also helpful in helping me keep track of my heart rate. The fitter I got, the lower my heart rate for the same speed. My resting heart rate dropped as low as 50 – I think I can get that down for next year to about 45. My maximum heart rate – supposed to be about 190, depending on who you ask – appears to be in the region of 210. These heart rate monitors are fairly accurate, and mine regularly got over 200 (but not by much) towards the end of my 10k training runs. What does this all mean? Not sure, hopefully that I have a large capacity for fitness and that I should have been training for marathons before I became a teenager.

On the actual day of the marathon, I had my girlfriend and parents come to support me. Well, they only made it for the end – I wouldn’t actually want anyone to experience hours of boredom for the sake of a fleeting glimpse – but perhaps I underestimated the spirit of the crowd. They all seemed to be thoroughly happy to be there, cheering on all the runners. Over 100,000 people turn up.

I’ve been thinking through how I’m going to train for next year. I have a fun summer planned, including Glastonbury, seeing Derren Brown, a couple more music festivals (Global Gathering, Monegro, and hopefully Vegas for the WSOP. On September 1 I will give up cigarettes (again!), and on January 1 2012 I will give up booze also until the marathon. I make the same offer to you that I will do on both Twitter and Facebook – anyone who catches me breaking either of these will receive the princely sum of £100 and have another £100 donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in their name.

In poker news, I played and ran good in May – 45 buyins up. I’ll be writing a long post (yawn!) at some point in the next couple of months about the poker equivalent of training for the marathon: I intend to go for Supernova Elite on stars in 2012. Here’s hoping.

Michael Piper has been playing PLO for a living both online and live for five years. He posts online under the screenname “wazz".
Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of


Virginia Bob
almost 12 years ago

well im so glad you are going to go for supernova elite. yes you can still play on line
pardon me if I am a little bit bitter that we in the USA are so screwed about our ability to play online poker
I just really do not give a shit about your going for supernova elite
good luck with that


almost 12 years ago


i think.


almost 12 years ago

WAZZ..... come on bro, piper-on-plo??? Now that your marathon is over get back to work!!! Start writing about Omaha, there is not enough writen about it, plo is often treated like the ginger step child of the poker workd... not enough people write or talk about it, give the people what they want.

I want, no DEMAND a weekly blog from you with insight and hand analysis... lets make it rain bro

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