It's that time of the year again...

As well as signalling then end of summer, and apparently legitimises Christmas cards appearing in the shops, October sees tens of thousands of people eagerly awaiting their postman.

Not just for the birthday cards from months before that got lost during industrial action, but for the much anticipated copy of the London Marathon Magazine that breaks the news of success or failure in the entry ballot.

For most, it will be the latter, but solace can be found by applying for one of the thousands of charity places that are available each year.

For the 'lucky few' it means you're in. You will be running 26.2 miles through London on a Sunday morning in late April next year.

That might seem a long time (29 weeks this Sunday!) but rest assured, come February and March, you'll wish you'd had longer.

My advice - stop procrastinating (pot, kettle?) and get out and run.

If you're a regular runner, you probably have a good idea what it takes. If not, you need to get out there and see what you can do already so you can realistically assess what you need to do.

You'll also need to invest in some good trainers. Seriously.

As someone who'se buggered up each knee for the last two years, I can's stress this enough.

Go to a proper running shop where they look at how you run so can recommend models that give you the right support (or not) in the right places. It's worth it.

As well as starting now, you need to make sure you build up slowly.

Three physios who helped me with my knee said that training schedules you find online and in the mags assume a higher level of fitness than most first-time London marathoners have.

Constantly increasing the mileage meant when I started to taper shortly before the race this year, my knee had had it.

Believe me when I say you don't want to end up pulling out days before a race you've ran hundreds of miles in training for.

Finally, enjoy it. There are loads of places online to find people in the same boat as you. Search Twitter, Facebook and blogs for friendly support along the way - it will make the long road ahead much easier and enjoyable!

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