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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07/02/2013 at 14:17

Week 8 day 3

Goal: 7 miles in 8 min/mile

Actual: 7 in 7:48 min/mile 54:34


Note: Steve Marathon Coach had changed this session from the original of 7 miles in 8:30 min/mile.

It was a very cold night, but all of my jackets seemed to be in the wash so I ended up with layers. 5 layers in fact.  3 of which were hi-viz ... or as a Twitter buddy said “tri-viz”. If the streetlights were to go out tonight then I was going to be prepared. Probably overheated ... but prepared.

I had on my big thermal gloves - which as I still haven’t got round to putting them on a string – ended up stuffed down the front of my top within the first mile. I looked as though I was either halfway through a rather dramatic boob job and had only had a chance to get one side done or I was about to display a chest burster like in the Alien films. Either way I reckoned it should put off any potential muggers, molesters or chavs who were hanging around.

The run was uneventful, the combination of layers and the gloves stuffed down my front kept me warm and I’m relieved to say the streetlights stayed on this time.

Session Summary:

Goal 7 miles in 8 min/mile

Actual 7 in 7:48 min/mile 54:34

0.22 mile warm down

Total 7.22miles in 56:27

07/02/2013 at 14:27

Was it windy as well as cold yesterday?  I was nearly blown off the millennium bridge when I did my run yesterday evening!

I have to rant!!  The cheek.... just had an email from the New Forest 10, you know that race I entered last year, that didn't happen, didn't get my money back, didn't get the medal anyway, and had zero response when I wrote to the organiser about it... Just wrote to me asking if I'll enter this year!!  NO WAY!!!...

ok, Rant over  

07/02/2013 at 15:08

Hi RRR. Great to hear that you'll be swapping things around. I found, like you, that I had more time on Thursdays than Tuesdays, so I started to prioritise the intervals by moving them to a Thursday - but I wish I'd done it sooner, as it definitely affected my speed and endurance.

After I finished my marathon last year I decided to join my local club and now do my intervals again on a Tuesday. My kids are a year older and can just about juggle everything a bit better. I now do my tempo sessions on a Thursday lunchtime (just done it) and my week is a bit more balanced again.

Hopefully you'll find the interval sessions a bit easier if you go to a track - especially as they'll have lights and flat surfaces...

Well done again on all your hard work so far. You're in a great hands, so enjoy every moment of it.

07/02/2013 at 20:42

Another good run for you RRR - Good pace and you are definitely well ahead of schedule if you can stay healthy - a bit too quick maybe and not a problem going slightly too slowly than the suggested pace on the longer runs! 

Yes would be better if you could get the 'Tuesday' session done during a lunchtime

07/02/2013 at 21:09

Good question !! I try and stick to the plan ( vlm training plan ) however  when i,m on my own i run as i feel, for instance today I should have done 7 mile at half marathon pace ( 7.41 ) but i did 8 mile ( 7.25 ) and felt good , then on other days I run to what it should be and feel good and sometimes tired.

If I was running with my mate we would have stuck to the plan.


07/02/2013 at 23:39
Hi sarah

When you do that pub crawl-run can I provide you with some company?

Ive decided your mad.....or just a fabulous and dedicated runner. At the end of my 20 miles I was ready to stop and did a walk around the block to cool down. Ive no idea how you managed another 2 miles!

I have a quiet week planned next week as I can only run mon and tue and then its my half marathon on Sunday. The week afterwards again I will only be running tue and wed before my 15 mile race on saturday so I have two quieter milage weeks due to races, work, holidays, netball and nexplanon training. I just wasnt sure whether I should be reducing my milage this week after doing two 18 and a 20 miler in a row, but then I guess I dont want three reduced milage weeks in a row. Its so hard. Ive just had a two day rest so I am itching to run again now, so maybe another 20 will be fine. What do you think?

Steve Marathon Coach, what would you recommend?
07/02/2013 at 23:55

Sarah O

In view of the lower  weeks ahead, I think a 20 would be ok, but it would be best to run it slower than normal, or at least the first half slow and the second half slightly faster but still controlled. That way you should get the distance in and build endurance but the pace shouldn't leave you too tired.for the week ahead, or build up tiredness from your previous two weeks long runs.

08/02/2013 at 10:10
thankyou ever so much steve for your advice and reassurance about trying to do another 20 miler today. Im feeling alot more happier and confident about doing it now (once this local anaesthetic wears off - I hate going to the dentist)
08/02/2013 at 10:29


You are sooooooooooo dedicated!

Just something to consider for your "dress rehearsal" next weekend is timing of breakfast. I spoke with runner’s world to get an idea of when you are likely to be leaving hotel on 7th April (morning of Paris marathon just in case you forgot!). This is probably going to be around 7am for your 8.45am start so perhaps you will need to be at breakfast for 6am so that this can be relaxed meal. So for your  half next weekend which starts at 10am perhaps you want to consider also sitting down to having breakfast at 2hr 45 mins but this allows a much more civilised time of  7.15pm! All snacks after this should be same as for Paris.

Remember the carb load is only a run through next weekend so if feel it is not for you/run not as your expect then we can discuss this after but really try and follow plan and see how you go next weekend as this is not your main aim.

One other point, I think it is probably best for you to have no more than 4 cans of tuna per week. It is really just a caution and it is the advice for most women of child bearing age. Canned tune (sometimes called light tuna) has got a low level of mercury in it so is not thought to be a major concern (unlike fish like swordfish, marlin, shark – those fish’s where to be avoided in pregnancy you may remember as they are high in mercury) but 4 cans or less is the advise and I know you do not have tuna everyday but it is in your diet a lot so felt I should mention it. Mercury can stay in body and build up and cause problems for a foetus however this is only if planning another pregnancy but felt I should mention it.   

Have a good weekend

08/02/2013 at 13:48

Afternoon RRR

Apologies for delay in responding - work has gone a bit manic this week!  Best of luck with Poole parkrun PB attempt - from my vague knowledge of the Poole area I'd assume that will be flat and therefore potentially fast?

Still undecided about tactics for parkrun tomorrow.  Mike Sheridan's idea (thanks Mike) of starting at the back is a good one but I fear competitive instinct will take over!

Great idea for all of us to meet up post race at Silverstone for a coffee!  First one to finish gets them in? That way you buy the coffees and my challenge will be to finish in close enough proximity to your time to make sure my coffee hasn't gone cold  

08/02/2013 at 23:33

Good luck in the parkrun RRR - I don't suggest starting at the very back but also not going off too fast. I suggest  first 1km in around 4:10-4:15 to see how you feel and then push on a liitle faster if you feel comfortable, hold the pace if you feel you are near your limits, or ease back slightly if you feel awful!

09/02/2013 at 00:34
Thanks Steve Marathon Coach,

I'll nip on properly to say hi to everyone tomorrow. But I'm still ok to go for a PB tomorrow though?
09/02/2013 at 19:52

Well done on the PB! Excellent improvement.

09/02/2013 at 21:46
How did you do???
09/02/2013 at 22:47

Week 8, Day 4


Goal: 5 x 1 mile repeats at 7 – 7.30 min/mile (8 mile total)

Actual: 3 x 1 mile repeats at 6:45 min/mile (7 mile total)


I was looking forward to this session. I’d had a busy day but this was a session I was confident about. I’d hit well within this pace running 5 miles in a Santa outfit on Christmas day … 3 hours after Christmas dinner so I was pretty sure that I could fly around the track and enjoy this one.

The plan was a 2 mile warm up around the town and then back to the track to start the session. The warm up was fine and although the night was chilly, it wasn’t any colder than it had been for the last few days.

I started the session and struggled to keep my pace steady. I’d taken my jacket off for the first set as I tend to get very warm when I’m running – I prefer to run in a vest and capris if possible … even in February! – but I was getting very cold and feeling unusually fatigued. The first 4 laps were completed in just under a 7 min/mile but this wasn’t particularly comfortable.

I spent the 2 minute break between repeats putting my jacket back on as I was struggling to keep warm and my fingers felt swollen. I completed the second set and again struggled to keep the pace and I couldn’t clench my fists as I was getting too cold.

There was something wrong here. I decided that I would try to complete the third mile repeat and call it a day. I’m all for pushing through, but it felt like there was nothing in the tank and the only thing that I would manage if I did the full 5 sets would be an injury and increasingly inconsistent laps. I don’t tend to give up but I felt there would be nothing to be gained here. There’s a difference between normal running pain and what I was feeling here. My body was saying “this is enough”.


Possible reasons for the struggle:

  • I’d been in a sauna at lunchtime trialling a new gym and it could have been dehydration … although I’d had 2 glasses of apple juice and 2 enormous mugs of tea.
  • We’d been training at work and I hadn’t had time to eat before the session and it had been over 6 hours since lunchtime … although it had been an enormous lunch.
  • I wasn’t dressed properly for the cold weather … although I wasn’t dressed differently than usual.
  • I was coming down with a cold – my 3 year old has a hacking cough and a high temperature at the moment … although no symptoms have since materialised. 
  • I’m putting it down to a combination of the factors above. Also I have to have a difficult session every now and then … if every session went completely to plan what would be the point of hard work and practise?



2 mile warm up

3 x 1 miles on the track at 6:45 min/miles

2 mile cool down


09/02/2013 at 22:48

Evening Angela!

Eek!! Don’t get blown over the bridge … it’s not a triathlon – you get any points for swimming the Thames!

09/02/2013 at 22:50

Evening Rob Cope!

Yes … definitely going to swap those sessions then. I want to make the most of this training while I have it – don’t want to waste a single session!

How are you finding fitting the intervals into a lunctime? I’m struggling with the full distance … I could probably manage the interval parts but wouldn’t have enough time for a proper warm up / cool down.

09/02/2013 at 22:52

Evening Steve Marathon Coach,

Just a quick question – I’ll struggling to fit the full distance into my lunchtime as I’ve only got an hour for lunch. Would I be able to shorten the warm up / cool down times and just do the intervals and maybe have a trot around after work to complete the mileage?

09/02/2013 at 22:53

Evening Derrick!

Sounds as though you’re doing really well – especially if you’re comfortably going a bit quicker. Are you changing your target time to reflect these times?

09/02/2013 at 22:55

Evening Sarah!

You are most definitely welcome to the 20 mile pub run / crawl! We’ll leave the lads in a pub of their choosing and we’ll go for our pub run! Sounds a good plan!

Hee hee ... sounds like you've already spotted my new parkrun time ...!

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