Cobbles & Red Wine - Sarah’s Paris Marathon Plan: Sub 3:35

Asics Target 26.2 - Previously lardy girl goes for a Boston Qualifier

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01/01/2013 at 23:16

Evening Steve Marathon Coach - Thank you - I'm glad I'm getting it right! No more speed sessions on the treadmill - promise!

Yes ... definitely no more wine the night before a run! Unless it's emergency wine for medicinal purposes of course...!

02/01/2013 at 10:12

Happy New Year, Sarah!

Loved the pics and desription of the trail run.  Felt like I was right there with you 


02/01/2013 at 10:43

You cant fail to want to run when you have that to look at

02/01/2013 at 11:15
RunnyRunRun wrote (see)

Evening Newbie32! What a fab message! Thank you! (Blushes!)

Sorry to hear you’ve had a tough year health-wise but glad you’ve got some exciting new goals in 2013!! What are your plans? Have you booked any good races in yet?

I need to get some 10ks booked in … I’m jinxed at the distance for some reason so I’m going to see whether I can get a bit better at those too. Any tips for a good 10k? 


Happy new year to you!

I've got a couple of halfs booked in Feb and then BUPA 10k in May.

Hoping to break my last 10k PB of 53 mins... I think this would be much slower than yours so not sure I've got any tips for you there! The big 1 is the Frankfurt marathon in October. My PT just told me I should try and lose between 5 - 10kg to gain some speed in my running. I'm  currently 5' 4 and weigh just over 10 stone. Trying to find some way of shifting the weight without compromising training!

Do you have any 10ks coming up?


02/01/2013 at 17:51

Afternoon Tenjiso!

Happy New Year!!! Woo! 2013 is going to be a good one!!

Glad you liked the trail run report – was loads of fun … so much MUD and so many HILLS!! The Warwick Wasps have invited me out for another one in February on the Malvern Hills this time so definitely going to give that one a go too. Just hope there are massive bacon sarnies after that one too…!!  Otherwise may have to run another couple of miles in search of a decent café!!

Edited: 02/01/2013 at 17:51
02/01/2013 at 17:52

Afternoon Sarah Blunt2!

Happy New Year!! Yes – definitely helps when there’s something to look at while you’re running! I’m off into the lanes this evening … in the dark!

Have persuaded my Dad to come along on his pushbike while I run … but had to bribe him with the promise of a pint of cider at the local pub on the way home! Just had to find the right incentive … Thatchers cider seemed to do the trick! It’s a bit wet out there at the moment so hopefully the thought of a pint will keep him pedalling!

02/01/2013 at 17:52

Happy New Year Newbie32!!

Ooh which half marathons have you got booked in? I’m booked in for Silverstone and hopefully Dorney Lakes too – I think that one’s laps which will be a test of my pacing! No speedy 10ks booked in yet for this year … I know I should book one in but haven’t made up my mind which one yet … Hopefully a nice flat EASY one … if such a thing exists!!

Ooh Frankfurt?! How exciting!! That will be AMAZING!! Have you run that one before?

I keep looking at the Stillman formula for racing weight and shuddering … it looks very low … According to that I’m about a stone and a half over what I should be!!

02/01/2013 at 17:59

Hooray!! Just had an email from The Wolf Run confirming they’ll defer my race entry!!

I entered the run in November after I applied for the Asics Target 26.2 thinking … “I’ll never get through to bootcamp …I should be fine to enter an obstacle run on the 6th April …!” Never thinking I’d get to Paris Marathon on the 7th April!!!

So … if anyone fancies entering as a big team … there are 3 of us so far ...

02/01/2013 at 23:22

Week 3, Day 3

Goal: 7 miles

Actual: 7.47 miles in 8:34 min/mile

It was dark, wet and muddy and I’d missed the last of the daylight … so with the help of the offer of a pint of Thatcher’s Cider at the local pub, I’d managed to persuade my Dad to accompany me on his push bike.

It gets a bit dark in the lanes around here at night and if I went on my own I’d probably have got spooked by one of those scary bunny rabbits and started running quicker and quicker until I was running madly and gibbering like someone out of one of those horror movies. Except they don’t usually wear a headtorch and trainers.


I’m afraid the photos aren’t up to much tonight as it was REALLY dark. I tried to take a photo of the lanes but all that came out was a black square with a road sign in the distance glowing in the light of my headtorch:

My Dad had on his hi-viz and headtorch for the bike and I had on my hi-viz and headtorch but even the glow from all of that didn’t really make much impact on the dark. The moon and stars were hidden by clouds and I kept tripping over potholes and piles of … lets call it ‘rural mud’ in the lanes.

The goal tonight was a 7 mile recovery run from the speed session yesterday and the aim was to keep the pace in the 9 minute miles, but I didn’t quite manage that.

In hindsight I should have set the Garmin up to record the average pace and keep it to a 9 minute/mile that way but as it was I was checking the Garmin every couple of minutes in the light of the headtorch and adjusting the speed from the pace currently showing … so the pace was out by almost 25 seconds a mile. Not good. But at least I know what to do next time …

Garmin Info Here

03/01/2013 at 00:26

yes a bit too quick but not too bad in the circumstances and another good run. I always have my Garmin at average overall pace as that is far easier to adjust to and also find Garmin isn't always accurate and fluctuates  if you have it on pace.

03/01/2013 at 08:19

Can you recommend a good headlamp?

I live by the Canal in Cheshire so this is an ideal place to run but a tad dark still!

Just run 5 miles this morning - nearly killed me on an empty stomach and no water!

03/01/2013 at 14:43


Congratulations on the forum so far. I have enjoyed reading through all the posts especially the Asics store write up, the hill run photos and most of all you going for a run in a santa suit! 

My name is Ruth and I am the Asics Pro Team Dietitian. I have worked with athletes now for 12 years from young developing athletes to Olympic level athletes and enjoy the challenges that sports nutrition brings; research continues to move at a  pace, but often getting the basics right will have the greatest results throughout training and on on race day. Good nutrition will benefit immunity, motivation and recovery. A sucessful race day is dependant on a well practiced nutrition plan.

Please feel free to post typical daily food and drink consumption, including meal & snack times as well as sleeping and training times. Also include any recent dietary changes.

 I look forward to see how your journey will progress over the coming few months. I tend to come onto the forums a couple of times  a week (likely to be Monday & Thursday) and try to answer all nutrition questions.

 Great as always to have the support of everyone posting on forums.


03/01/2013 at 17:42

Afternoon Sarah!

Canal paths are lovely! I live fairly close to the Oxford Canal and it’s amazing in the summer but it gets a bit lonely this time of year. Argh! 5 miles on an empty stomach sounds hard! But … better than an impromptu stop!!

My headtorch is an Energizer one and cost abot £18. A lot of people have been raving about the Alpkit headtorches, but they’re about £50 but I haven’t tried one out and I’m unwilling to pay out £50 for something I haven’t seen in action …

I’ve tried loads and have found wind up ones a waste of money as they’ve been too bulky for running and the bulb ones have been a waste of time too. LEDs the way to go and they’ve got a good long battery life too usually.

03/01/2013 at 17:52

Alpkit Gamma is only £15, not £50.  Highly recommended as a first purchase, and a bargain at the price.

I've only used mine once so far, but it was comfortable and adequate on a pitch-black trail. It felt a bit surreal seeing the trail move beneath my feet with no perception of scenery moving past me (except in wooded areas where I could see trees moving past).  At times it felt as if I was running on a treadmill. 

03/01/2013 at 17:54

Hi Ruth McKean!

Great to hear from you and glad that you’re enjoying the pics and my waffle! I’m looking forward to working with you and hoping you won’t slap my wrist too much for the amount of Christmas cake I seem to be eating at the moment!

Do you need weight and height info? I’ve tracked my food and exercise for the last 5 years using an app on my phone … after I lost 5 stone I was paranoid about putting it back on again and then tracking it became a habit!

03/01/2013 at 18:00

Week 3, Day 4

Goal: 5 miles with middle 3 miles at half marathon pace (7:30 min/mile)

Actual: 5 miles with middle 3 miles at 7:15 min/mile

Decided to use Yeovil Country Park as my route today – known locally as Nine Springs. It used to be a mud bath when I went there as a kid in my wellies and clutching a bag of bread for the ducks. But apparently they’ve tarmaced all the paths since then and wellies are no longer compulsory … or even required.

I parked at the train station and walked up to the start of the Country Park path alongside a gaggle of kids on pushbikes and waited to cross the road. Across from me was Wyndham hill with the distinctive 4 trees on the top. The trail is where a railway used to run so it’s fairly flat and fairly straight. The route is mainly tree covered and feels quite remote and it’s difficult to tell you’re close to a big town.

A few dogs came to greet me – apparently lycra attracts them - and I had 2 large wet pawprints on my running tights before I even set off. A smiling corgi and a happy Jack Russell who was apparently 16 years old but was rolling around in the muddy grass, happy as a puppy.

The first mile was a warm up mile so I just ran at a comfortable pace for a mile. I had a tributary of the River Yeo on my left and high banks on the right for most of the way and then all of a sudden I came out next to the Cineworld Cinema and got a glimpse of civilisation briefly before the path wound behind some buildings and I was back to being surrounded by wintery trees and a wet gravel path.

The path opened out briefly and there were high hills on my left with old, tall trees and a playground with plenty of toddlers shouting and enjoying the equipment despite the damp weather and then I was passing a brown lake with ducks I could hear but not see. There were a few people about, bundled up in coats and hats and children weaving around on pushbikes, but it was a good path to run.

Over an arched wooden bridge and it was time to start the 3 miles at Half Marathon Pace. I had to restart the Garmin to get to the average pace for this (yes … will get out the Garmin manual tomorrow…) and set off at about a 7:15 minute/mile aiming to keep it between this and 7:30 min/mile which had been my pace for Bristol Half Marathon. 

I passed several families walking 3 or 4 abreast with toddlers running all directions, but the verges were low and not too muddy so I could avoid everyone fairly easily and stick to pace. Passed the leisure centre and empty swimming pool on my right and some runners doing some hill sprints on my left. Watching them run up a very steep hill made my run seem a lot easier …

Under an old railway bridge built of enormous blocks of stone and between high brick walls to the end of the Country Park … and it was only about half of a mile into the 3 mile half-marathon pace section … so onto the pavements and along the A3088 and instead of wintery trees and ducks and rivers, I was accompanied by 4 lanes of traffic and Morrissons and B&Q and abandoned Christmas trees leaning against railings in children’s playgrounds …

03/01/2013 at 18:04

I had 1.7 miles of running on the (thankfully wide) pavements, only having to stop once for cars and wave at another runner but I was glad to be back on the gravel paths and under the shade of the trees for the final 8th of a mile at HM pace.

I completed the final mile at an enjoyable pace and was back at the gate near the bottom of Wyndham Hill. I had a slight twinge at the back of my right knee which was new but I thought maybe a walk to ease my legs? I looked up at the hill … well it would be a shame not too …


… 10 minutes later I was running down the hill at top speed knowing that the steep walk up was DEFINITELY worth the full-pelt, mad dash back down to the bottom on the tufty grass of the field!!

I’ve imported the run into Garmin Connect and the pace looks a bit choppy but I think that was because the path was mainly covered by trees and the signal was maybe dropping in and out. I used Steve Smythe’s advice and kept it on average pace for the timed 3 miles in the middle to get more of an idea of the overall pace. I wasn’t sure how to program this session into it with the slower outside miles so maybe a sit down with the manual and some patience will provide the answer tomorrow and I can do that for the next session.


Lap 1   Dist 1m   Pace 8:23 min/mile     Garmin Info Here

Lap 2   Dist 3mi   Pace 7:15 min/mile (7:19, 7:14, 7:11) Garmin Info Here

Lap 3   Dist 1mi   Pace 8:08 min/mile     Garmin Info Here


This run is in 3 different sections in Garmin Connect as I didn’t want to get a false average pace that took into account the slower miles 1 and 5.

03/01/2013 at 21:28

Hooray!! Just had an email from The Wolf Run confirming they’ll defer my race entry!!

I entered the run in November after I applied for the Asics Target 26.2 thinking … “I’ll never get through to bootcamp …I should be fine to enter an obstacle run on the 6th April …!” Never thinking I’d get to Paris Marathon on the 7th April!!!

So … if anyone fancies entering as a big team … there are 3 of us so far ...

Haha.....did you not fancy trying to do both???

Cant believe that your on week 3 already. Your run today seemed similar to mine on tue with the paces

03/01/2013 at 22:25

Evening Sarah!

Ha ha!! I was dead for about 3 days after the Wolf Run September 2011 ... and it's only 6 miles!! Don't think I'd be much good for Paris after that!

The weeks have FLOWN past, haven't they? Yes I thought that too about your run - that was the same day as my Weymouth run so I was interested to have a look at your paces! Fab that we're doing similar (faster in your case! ) training for marathons this year!!

03/01/2013 at 22:27

Food Diary … as requested by Ruth!

Eek! Why do I have to be asked to do a food diary this week?! I’m having a brief holiday at my parents and hoovering up (with my mouth) all the Christmas food and attempting (unsuccessfully I might add) my Mother’s attempts to fatten me up …

OK… (deep breath)

I’m 5’4 and as of this morning 8 stone 11.


Breakfast: Cornflakes with semi-skimmed milk and 3 teaspoons of sugar

Lunch: Tin of tuna & tablespoon of mayo, plus 60g of assorted cheese including stilton, wensleydale with apricots and brie.

Tea: Homemade Chile con Carne with rice.

Snacks: 1 and a half slices of Christmas cake with icing and marzipan, 1 piece of shortbread and a small wrinkly apple.


In my defence I genuinely eat between 5-10 portions of fruit and veg at home but like I said … Christmas food …!


Exercise: 5 mile run. Walk up to Wyndham Hill and mad dash back down (approx a mile) and walk back to car about half a mile.

1 hour walking dog and chasing my 3 year old daughter around Ham Hill.

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