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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06/01/2013 at 13:24

Running for Chocolate – There was about 1/3 of the Christmas cake there when I left but I suspect Littlest Sis and Dad may have been at it since then …

06/01/2013 at 13:24

Tenjiso – I’ve never managed to get many runs in in the early morning – do you eat before you leave or when you get back?

I can definitely recommend night time races!! Have done a few now and am hooked!

06/01/2013 at 13:25

Sarah O – I left about a third of a cake at my parents … but have an entire uncut cake at my house … shhhh! Don’t tell anyone!

Parkrun was good thanks … should be able to maintain pace better next time – once I’ve done a time it’s SO much easier to do it next time! I'm on your trail, lady!!

06/01/2013 at 13:26

MCS – Morning! How’s the training going?

Morning Steve Marathon Coach – Hope long run goes well today and sounds like good result for the cross-country yesterday!

06/01/2013 at 13:30

Week 3, Day 6

Goal: Parkrun or 5 miles of hills

Actual: Parkrun + 1 mile warm up & 1 mile cool down


Swindon Parkrun is a lovely course in Lydiard Park and the route is like a balloon on a string. You start on a nice straight path and do 2 loops of the park at the top of the path and then at the end of the final lap you come back down the ‘string’ and a sharp left to the finish funnel! It’s nice because the paths are all hard surfaced - although you get a bit of cross-country with the puddles - and you can see the runners spread out in front and behind you all the way around. So you have a visual reference as to whether you’re going too fast … or slow!

Map Of Course Here

I have been reading on Sarah Osborne’s thread (RW Forum 6 sub-3.30) about the importance of proper warm-ups so I made sure that I actually included one which is something I don’t usually do. (Slapped wrist!)

I did a gentle mile around the park and then did the drills shown by Steve Smythe at the bootcamp; some strides, high knees, high kicks behind, grapevine and backwards running. I didn’t knock anyone over, fall over my own feet OR run into a tree. Which quite frankly, I count as a win. I’m not the most coordinated person …

Swindon parkrun always has a nice friendly atmosphere and today was no different. There were a lot of gold and blue shirts as Wootton Bassett Hounds had their first run of the season and the friendly competitiveness set the tone for the parkrun. 

It was announced before the start that today the route was going to be run in reverse … so instead of a short, sharp uphill and a long lovely slow downhill we had a sharp downhill and a long slog up the hill at the back.

As is tradition at Parkruns, everyone – including me - started off too fast.  Although when Swindon parkrun does the route in reverse, it’s sensible planning to avoid the bottleneck at the gate at the bottom of the first hill!  It felt great though to run with so many other people (337 in total today!) as I do a lot of running on my own. It’s so much more fun with other people although there was a fair amount of dodging around people involved and a dog hurdling incident …!

I felt comfortable the first mile and held the pace fairly well. The 2nd mile was quicker as it involved a bit more downhill and I knew I just had to hold the pace for a new PB. However, that was the difficult part …

There were fairly big puddles as you came up the path on the back hill and if you were running too close to the runners in front you ended up wearing a fetching pattern of mud splatters. The puddles were quite deep so a fair amount of strategy was involved. Do you run on through hoping that the path you picked was in the shallow end or do you hope from path island to path island?

The first lap was comfortable but I struggled to hold the pace coming up the long uphill for the second time. I was overtaken by a chap in a blue shirt, but after checking my Garmin and panicking seeing a pace in the 7 nminute/miles rather than the 6s I quickened up and caught him again. I decided he could be my pacer for the uphill …

06/01/2013 at 13:36

Just to the next corner, then it’s flat, just to the next corner … trying to persuade my legs to move a bit quicker … a short downhill and then a sharp short uphill I overtook Mr Blue Shirt … even though he let me go through the deep puddle first. There’s fair play and then there’s going for a new PB …

One last straight path and –in theory – a downhill although I couldn’t persuade my legs that. Pushing down the last straight and a sharp left around the corner and the finish funnel in the distance. Grab the token … and finish. 

I was gutted. Didn’t even check Garmin. Saw the average pace when I stopped was 7:44 min / mile which would have put me miles away from a PB or even consistent splits…. I didn’t think to consider the last lap would only have been 0.1 of a mile ... And that I’d forgotten to stop the Garmin until after I’d been standing in the queue for a while …

I waited for Bertie and Simon to finish and went for a cool down run around the lake ... But on the way we found a zip wire with a tyre ... Well have to test these things. Make sure they’re safe for the kids …

Finished the cool down and headed back to the cafe for a coffee and a chat. The café is filled with runners and above the noise of the chat you can hear the discussions of the course, ‘paces’, ‘puddles’ and ‘damp to the knees’.

Met up with Heather and Reuben in the cafe and had a coffee and a catch up as is our Swindon parkrun tradition now. They had Ryan and his parents with them today. Ryan had been around the course with Heather and Reuben today in the running buggy which gave him as a chance to experience the parkrun as a disabled athlete.

Tested out the coffee … and the ice creams and discussed the best puddle-avoiding strategies. Although apparently this week we had it easy as the last couple of weeks they’ve been ankle deep. Eek!


I had to wait until 6pm for the results to be loaded onto the Parkrun website but it was good news … new PB, 2nd woman and 1st in age category.

Course PB by 45 secs and 5k PB by 25 secs.


Mile 1 6:47

Mile 2 6:44

Mile 3 7:01

So splits weren't terribly good, but I've knocked over 20 seconds each time off of my last 2 parkruns (within last 6 weeks) so with practise I should be able to maintain the pace throughout rather than setting out too fast and hoping to hang on!


Garmin Info Here

06/01/2013 at 15:13

RRR - wherever possible I try to eat a light breakfast (cereal+milk) 60-90 minutes before a medium/long run.  If that's not possible I'll take a gel before setting off.  For short runs, I'll eat when I've finished.

06/01/2013 at 16:03

Congratulations on your parkrun RRR - with the hills, presume third mile is harder than second so the slow down in the last mile isn't too drastic and another great description of run.

I think it would be quicker the other way as you probably can't relax as much on a steeper downhill and the gain is less.

Personally, if the run isn't going to be too fast but quite long, I seem to get away with a bowl of cereals and some marmalade and toast 30 minutes to a hour before my long run.

06/01/2013 at 18:43
congrats on your park run Sarah....looks like your hot on my tail....think I had better pull my fingers out and do another one soon!

Glad you had a good race.

With regards to the christmas cake...your secret is safe with me. I bought some fruit and nut bread at tescos yesterday...its a good substitute for xmas cake!
06/01/2013 at 20:12

oo have you tried the Malt loaf loaf? Lightly toasted so it's squidgy in the middle OMG it is heaven especially with lurpak on!!

as for a kebab... go girl I'm with you!!  but You can make your own its some much nicer! Mince, onions, fresh and a touch of chilli powder, curry powder, fresh ginger, garlic, natural yogurt, then add the rest of the yogurt to some mint sauce, lettuce and pitta!!  can freeze it before adding the yogurt!

Can't run but can cook!!

06/01/2013 at 21:00

RRR - already said it on Twitter (and facebook as well I think!!) but well done on that PB! Was a great time - you two Sarah's are leaving me behind...!

Hopefully Mr Blue Shirt is on the forums and realises what an important role he played as pacer


06/01/2013 at 23:48

Evening Tenjiso!

I hadn’t even thought about a gel *beforehand* …! They don't upset your tummy doing that?

06/01/2013 at 23:48

Evening Steve Marathon Coach! – Thanks for the congrats! If I can only knock off 25 seconds next time too … I’ll be getting closer to that elusive sub-20!

Thanks for the breakfast advice. What would you advise for a quicker run? Would a heavier breakfast a longer time before be best? Such as porridge 2 hours before?

06/01/2013 at 23:49

Evening Sarah O!

No … I think you should take it easier on parkruns for a while. Relax … take it easy. Let me get some more speed training in first!!

Argh no – can’t eat bread! Does terrible things to my tummy … makes the username more apt …

06/01/2013 at 23:49

Evening Tigger!

Oh you are most definitely my new best friend!! I’m sure Ruth would approve of freshly home cooked food … even if it’s a kebab!! Sounds delicious! It’s nearly midnight but you’ve managed to make my tummy rumble!!

06/01/2013 at 23:49

Evening Bacon Steve! – Thanks! You are only 10 seconds behind the PB I broke about 6 weeks ago … I’m sure you’ll smash that time on your parkrun this weekend. No pressure, mind …!

Agree! Thank you Mr Blue Shirt!!

06/01/2013 at 23:49

Food Diary 6th January

Breakfast: Cornflakes, skimmed milk, 3 x teaspoon of sugar

Lunch: Cheddar cheese 40g (Left long run too late to have a proper lunch beforehand!)

Tea: 3 spring onions, 4 x new potatoes, lots of sliced beetroot, 2 x hard boiled eggs, large portion of baked ham, 15g brie, 15g stilton, 15g edam, 15g wensleydale with cranberries in, 5 carrot sticks, large portion of lettuce, ¼ bell pepper, 4 slices of cucumber, chopped celery, 2.5 tablespoons mayonnaise. 

Snacks: 1 x navel orange, 8 x cherry tomatoes, 1 x Lindor truffle ball,

Drinks: 5 x coffee with small amount of semi-skimmed milk, 3 pints of lemon squash.

Exercise: 12 miles run.

07/01/2013 at 00:01

Week 3, Day 7

Goal: 12 miles in 8:30 min/mile

Actual: 12 miles in 8:08 min/mile


I thought I'd give you todays run in pictures instead ...

Lily (my 3 year old) waving goodbye from her Grandparents' house. She didn't want to come outside ... too cold apparently.

 Lots of flooding in the fields around Kempsford ...

View across the flooded field to Castle Eaton church

 The river in Castle Eaton has completely burst its banks making this quite possibly the best treehouse EVER!! Now only accessible by boat!!

 View from the top of the big hill between Castle Eaton and Hannington.


Mile Splits:

1 8:11

2 8:15

3 8:02

4 8:14

5 8:09

6 8:23

7 7:53

8 7:53

9 8:00

10 8:10

11 8:16

12 8:11

Garmin Info Here


07/01/2013 at 00:04

Week 4 Training Schedule:


Mon Jan 7th:                 Rest

Tues Jan 8th:                10 x 400 in approx 95 secs, starting every 2 mins 30

                                    (7M total)

Weds Jan 9th:               8M slow in 8:30-9 min miles

Thurs Jan 10th:             5M build up run - starting at slower than 8s and ending up

                                    at 7:20s.

Fri Jan 11th:                  Rest

Sat Jan 12th:                 Fartlek - 5M in total

Sun Jan 13th:                14M steady in 8:30s

Week total:                   39 miles

07/01/2013 at 10:23

Congrats on a pb well done. Did a nice little hilly 7 miles yesterday with some immense hills in which is what I am working on for my race. Have a good week training. Looks fairly steady all the best.

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