Piling on the miles on the road to the Virgin London Marathon

Having spent the first four months of this campaign taking it very steadily, all of a sudden I'm gorging on running. I've just done four runs in eight days - and my legs feel fine.

I can't tell you how much confidence this gives me - and how convinced I remain that if I'd started back in August on three runs a week, I'd be on the sidelines with an injury by now.

I did some intervals last Wednesday and they went great. I did eight lots of about 500 metres at a fast clip in the local park and it felt terrific, as long as you can put up with a cold wind, mud all over your running shoes and the curious stares of passers-by.

Friday's outing around the Isle of Dogs was also extremely positive. Having had a taste of running faster than Marathon pace two days earlier, I stretched my legs a bit and did the four miles some 45 seconds quicker than seven days before.

But psychologically, for me, the big run of the week will always be the long Monday outing. At the last minute I changed my route and decided to freshen things up with the simple expedient of going the other way round my usual lap.

Apart from the fact that it's good to inject a bit of variety now and then, it means I don't have to walk into the middle of Kingston to my usual start point. It's crushingly cold, with a liberal dusting of frost, and I want to get on with running straight away.

As soon as I break into a run I know it's going to be a good one. It's ridiculous, really, that the first few strides should be so important; but they are and I get a big lift as I settle into my rhythm.

I'm conscious of taking it much more steadily than Friday's pace as I head south out of Kingston but soon I'm in a comfortable, smooth tempo.

I let instinct take over and let my mind wander over work, home, the weekend, and occasionally drop in on myself. "Everything under control? Legs OK? Breathing fine? Arms nicely relaxed? Good lad. Carry on."

At about eight miles there are footsteps behind me and gradually another runner draws alongside. One of the big difference I notice between training for the marathon in 1982 and today is that back then runners all said hallo to each other; it was still a novelty to see people out pounding the streets. Now runners are ten a penny, and it's a novelty to get a greeting.

But as this guy pulls alongside he says good morning, we exchange a few sentences about what a lovely day it is to be running, then wish each other luck and he moves on ahead.

I should mention that he is about 20 years older than me, but I don't care that he's faster. I remind myself I'm not built for this, I'm not a natural runner like this guy, who is all legs and looks like he weighs seven stone wet through. Besides, he appears to be moving at a reasonable rate and yet he's probably doing only 10 seconds a mile fewer than me. I must be doing OK. 

It's a really enjoyable loop by the river and before I know it there's Kingston Bridge and I'm over it and through town and I happily tag on another half-mile to get home. That's 11 miles, just two short of the half-marathon. Next week I'm aiming to hit that 13-mile mark. Bring it on.