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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19/01/2013 at 00:17

Food Diary 18th January

Breakfast: ½ cup porridge oats made with water with dash of milk, 3 teaspoons sugar.

Lunch: Bowl of spinach and 30g stilton.

Tea: 25g of white rice boiled and a portion of chilli shredded beef (Woo hoo - it’s takeaway night!!)

Snacks: 25g dried fruit, teaspoon of nutella, teaspoon of penut butter (nabbed while making my 3 year old a sandwich!), half a punnet of grapes, a babybel, a small packet of buttons, 2 x cookies.

Drinks: 4 x coffee with small amount of semi-skimmed milk, 4 pints of orange squash.

Exercise: 20 minute walk in the snow. 1.5 hours house cleaning. 7 mile run in the snow.


19/01/2013 at 00:25

Week 5, Day 5

Goal: 7 miles with middle 3 at half marathon pace

Actual: 7 miles at an average of 10.07 min/mile … unable to speed up to HM pace on the middle 3 miles due to deep snow.

I knew that this session was going to be slightly different than the one scheduled due to the amount of snow that came down today. It was a beautiful day, but not one designed for moving at speed.

I decided that I’d aim to go out and get the miles in. Even if the paths were too treacherous to change paces at least the whole run would be at a higher intensity than usual due to the ankle deep snow.

The light of the snow meant that tonight I could reclaim one of my favourite routes which is usually lost to me in winter due to its darkness and loneliness. It's beautiful and crosses muddy trails, gravel paths, several bridges, fields, lanes pavements and canal paths all in 3 miles. I would add on a 4 mile route through a housing estate but the first 3 miles would be a treat.

It was a GOOD run. Not good in terms of pace, nor in terms of fitting into my training schedule but just a run on one of those days that it is good to be a runner and to be able to run on.


It was a sensory run. No audiobook tonight. I was listening to the crunch and creak of snow under my shoes – who knew that snow creaks when you run on it? Smelling the grey, dusty smell of wood smoke and seeing the yellow light from the barges on the canal. Feeling the cold brush of the snow on my skin.


I ran on and into the housing estate and there was a fox in the road. He stopped and looked at me as though considering whether I was worth running from. A bark from a dog up the road made up his mind and he flowed smoothly across the road and into the hedge.

The snow was loose and powdery and there was almost no ice at all. My calves were burning from the extra work as it was like running on dry sand. With every step, the ground shifted and moved and I left a trail of deep footprints behind me.

Car drivers crawling their vehicles up the road craned their necks as I passed as if they couldn't believe someone was running today. I ran on.

Garmin Info Here



19/01/2013 at 00:28

Evening Steve Marathon Coach

I'm a bit concerned about managing 16 miles in the snow at 8:30 - 9 minute/mile pace on Sunday. Can I change this to a 2 hour run, please? I think that the 16 miles would probably take me that time at goal pace on a normal surface but it might take me 3 hours in snow! What would you recommend?

19/01/2013 at 00:29

well done on doing the run and good photos. I enjoyed running on the snow today so it was a bit slow

19/01/2013 at 00:29

Hi yes just do 2 hours

19/01/2013 at 00:37

Hi RRR, I love running in the snow. In some ways it's ironic as you can still go out for a run in XC shoes on the pavement or across the fields. Although the pace might not be what you want, the ability to get out and across snowy fields, more than makes up for it. Like the photos you have posted!

19/01/2013 at 00:44

Evening Steve Marathon Coach,

Thanks! Knee stiffness seems to have completely disappeared too which is good. Glad you managed to get a snow run in too - is definitely a different sort of running, isn't it?

19/01/2013 at 00:47

Evening Knight Rider!

It was SO nice! Thought it might be a pain to have to run in the snow but it was really, really good. Much harder work than I expected though - had to work a lot harder than with the ice on Wednesday! It feels very similar to running on sand, doesn't it. Imagine how fit we'd all be if we could fit in a 5 mile beach run every week!

19/01/2013 at 01:07

I think tomorrow morning (I say tomorrow as it is tomorrow already!) will be an ideal time to get those XC shoes on and get out on the soft snow on the pavements. Pace on these kind of runs is irrelevant, more a time on feet (and enjpyment). Last night' when I went out, although it had snowed a bit there was still quite a bit from the days before. Luckily, some of the pavements had been gritted, so I used that as a partial fartleck session - gritted run fast - snow, slow!

19/01/2013 at 12:27
Surely running in snow is worth twice as much as running on the road (similar to off road running) due to the increased effort required????

In all my years of working as a doctor I've seen some odd things but not "sharpie poisoning"....always a first time for everything though. The words never and always don't apply to medicine!

I didnt manage to get my eggs yesterday for my banana pancakes but I don't have much planned for today now that my in laws aren't coming it's a trip to tescos this pm and an experimental tea!

Africa should be on's fabulous....don't think you will have an option to not share your ice cream if that hippo on it came towards you!
19/01/2013 at 17:06

Hi there Sarah/ Runny

Very busy this week! Yes, I am training for the Manchester Mathathon in April and hoping for sub 3.45 - 40. I have been working on my endurance for months because I feel it will help me to maintain my speed, and also I really love long runs. I have a 10k race tomorrow - pity me. I will just have to try not to start too fast as I think that is my big mistake in shorter races.

I love quinoa by the way - you have reminded me to go and buy some.

Best wishes


19/01/2013 at 19:11
where do you live/where is your race BTRR? my race has been cancelled tomorrow due to the snow....gutted!
seren nos    pirate
19/01/2013 at 19:22

Really enjoyed reading your account of the snow run...........I love running in this my trail shoes.........only managed 9 miles in 2 hours yesterday but loved every moment of it....looks like our snow is here to stay for a few days ( i live in the red snow zone) looking forward to another run in the morning.......

sometimes its great to be out there just enjoying it rather than looking at the watch

20/01/2013 at 00:10

Running in snow of course varies to the surface. A light covering of fallen snow, is really good for running and the legs. Thicker snow is good resistance training - a bit like running on sand dunes but where snow has frozen and lumpy, it's quite bad for feet and knees. I really enjoy running in snow but the enjoyment wears thin quickly if it cancels races and lasts too long. I can't believe an indoor meeting in London was cancelled this weekend , even though travel is fine and the snow won't affect the indoor track. Also a cross-country was planning to do, was called off. 30 years it would have definitely gone ahead after a fairly small snowfall in the areas around here.

20/01/2013 at 01:23

Evening Knight Rider!

I chickened out tonight and did the fartlek on the treadmill. The pavements haven’t been gritted here and they’re kind of an ice / slush mix today so my fartlek would have been slip, trip, windmill arms and repeat x 15. Amusing for onlookers but probably not quite the intervals Steve Marathon Coach intended ...!

However, I’ve got a nice 2 hour run tomorrow to enjoy off road so I’ll be on the trails and paths! Trail shoes are at the ready and I’m hoping for a bit more snow tonight to make it a bit more interesting and less slushy!   

Did you manage to head out today? How did you find it?

20/01/2013 at 01:24

Evening Sarah!

You could be right … so maybe a 10 minute run and then into the pub for a hot whiskey toddy to warm up? Doctor Sarah’s orders?

I hope you got your banana pancakes today! I had some for lunch – had Nutella on one and peanut butter on the other … I thought peanut butter went with EVERYTHING … but apparently not banana pancakes …

I think you underestimate the lengths I will go to protect my ice cream …!

20/01/2013 at 01:24

Evening Buffy!

Fab to hear from you! Ooh Manchester marathon! I’d planned to enter that one as I’ve got some good Twitter friends in it … but obviously I’m now in Paris!! Woo! It’s apparently one of the fastest ones in the UK which is good news!

I enjoy long runs too … it’s nice knowing that you’ve got a couple of hours to just run and enjoy it! Have you got some good routes your way?

Eek!! A 10k race??! Our nemesis!! Good luck!! I hope you have a great race and a brand new shiny PB!! J Let me know how you get on!!

20/01/2013 at 01:25

Evening Seren Nos!

Glad you liked the report! It was such a nice change to be out in the snow and it just made everything so different. Definitely a welcome change from the same old black pavements, orange sodium lights and grey hedges I normally get on a night run!

Glad you got a snow run in too! The forecasters are predicting snow until Monday so it might be that your next couple of runs are in the snow too … especially if you’re in the red snow zone!

It will be nice to run to how I’m feeling tomorrow and just get a chance to run for the sheer joy of it … and in the snow too – wonderful! 

20/01/2013 at 01:25

Evening Steve Marathon Coach!

It was nice running on the snow last night as it was powdery and shifting like on sand dunes but think it might be a bit more treacherous tomorrow as the slush will freeze. Give me a chance to practise on yet another surface, I guess.

A cross country was cancelled … surely dreadful weather is all in the spirit of cross-country … ?! Are you planning to get another snow run in tomorrow as your race is cancelled?

20/01/2013 at 01:25

Food Diary 19th January

Breakfast: ½ cup porridge oats made with water with dash of milk, 2 teaspoons sugar.

Lunch: Banana pancakes (2 eggs and a banana whisked together – mixture makes 3 pancakes) one with peanut butter on, the other with Nutella on. (Nutella was yummy, peanut butter was icky), tbsp olive oil.

Tea: 2 x kippers, 1 x Pollock fillet, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, spinach, 6 mushrooms, 1 fresh beetroot – all steamed. Cottage cheese.

Snacks: tbsp dried fruit, 2 x cookie, cup of grapes (green & red), 1 portion of natural yoghurt with cinnamon and tbsp dried fruit,.

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

Exercise: 6.4 miles fartlek on treadmill.

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