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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06/03/2013 at 10:35

Morning Sarah!

I was smiling beforehand at the thought of the crème egg and I was smiling after because I could stop …

No just kidding, it’s never that bad. I was running the race and thinking ‘Well, I might not be enjoying it as much as I should … but it’s still better than spin class!”

06/03/2013 at 11:17

Evening Tenjiso!

Thanks! I was really pleased to get the result I did … but I really, really wanted to get a new PB! Ady and I are so close in times now … I secretly wanted to get a bit closer to his cracking new PB of 1:34 … and run that pesky Sarah Osborne down too!

06/03/2013 at 11:30

Morning CailinAgRith!

Thank you – glad you liked the report and the pics … I def wouldn’t pay £45 for any of them though!!

I'm just getting over the chest infection ... and I'm home today as my 3 year old has brought home a vomiting bug!! Argh!! I'm feeling fine at the moment but I so badly don't want to get anything else!!!

06/03/2013 at 11:35



Morning Angela!!

Wrist well and truly slapped for missing your post!

Did you cook the chia seeds first or anything or did you put them in as is? So they just went soft in the energy drink?

A Burger King and Super Noodles the night before and you don’t get Runner’s Trots? Where’s the fairness in that??! And there’s me having to make sure I have pubs enroute ….!

06/03/2013 at 11:44

Hi RRR, thank you for giving me attention... I can stop behaving like a child now... 

Chia seeds, I followed the instructions in born to run, and just put them in as is, and then visualised running in the Mexican jungle.... well, not quite, but i decided not to have a gel unless I really needed it, and see how I did on fuelling.  For the whole run all I had was water from camelback, and that 250ml of chia infused SiS electrolyte.  Also munched about 3 jelly babies on my stop at home after 4 miles.

If u check Sarah Osborne's page, or u can see that I did stop off at home after 4 miles to go to the toilet... but yes, you're right, now I think of it, I had a surprisingly good constitution given the terrible food I'd eaten.  Perhaps I should stick to the fast food pre-race plan.  At least I'd be able to get the same thing whereever I was in the world!

06/03/2013 at 12:06

Morning Angela!

Is that a blog plug I see!

Well ... I'm glad that your stomach isn't completely immune to fast food either ... otherwise you'd be unstoppable!! Ultra Isherwood!! You'd be able to power yourself with Big Macs and KFC!! Ha ha! Like the idea of being able to be consistent worldwide though!


06/03/2013 at 12:10
Mmmm KFC

Usually my post race treat! Off to Dublin today for work so running and fuelling will be bad- dread mills and Guinness...
06/03/2013 at 13:19

Afternoon Angela!

Good luck with trip! I love Dublin ... not so sure I'd enjoy running next to you on a treadmill though if you're using Guinness to fuel ... Eeek!!

06/03/2013 at 13:26

Week 12, Day 2

Goal: 5 x 1600 in 7 min/miles starting every 9 mins (8 miles total)

Actual: 4 x 1600 in 7 min/miles starting every 9 mins …. Maths fail ...And 1 x 1392m in 6:36 min/mile (8.2 miles total)


Today’s session was in 2 parts owing to the fact I ran out of lunch hour. An hour seems like such a long time to get 5 miles of intervals in but when you add up the time taken to get these done it’s surprising:


Time to leave desk, sign out and get to car: 2 mins

Time to drive to gym: 4 mins (yes I know I should be walking as it’s that close … but short on time, remember?)

Time to wrestle gym bag out of car boot, find gym pass and get through the turnstile: 2 mins

Time to get changed, visit loo, find £1 for the locker, find a place to put the key: 8 mins


That’s almost 15 minutes of faffing … and I have to do that all in reverse again when I’ve finished at the gym. Plus have a shower and dry hair. In fact … how do I ever get a chance to fit a run in?

Managed to get in 3 of the 5 mile intervals at 7 min/miles starting every 9 mins. Had a 3 minute warm up too. Only meant to have a 2 min warmup but I’m blaming a chatty friend on the treadmill next to me …


Total: 3.44 miles

Time: 29:01

Made it back to work with 1 minute to spare ….


Plus sides of treadmill work: The treadmills are in front of a mirror which can be a bit disorienting, but which gave me the perfect opportunity to work on my form. Both Steve and Sam have mentioned that I hunch my shoulders and don’t move them as smoothly as I should.

I used the 30 mins on the treadmill to practise how I moved my arms. Sam gave me a tip at the bootcamp day which was to put all my shoulder weight into my elbows and pretend I was putting my elbows into egg cups. I also had a play with cadence and stride speed which is easier to do on the treadmill as you don’t have to look out for kerbs and dog leads.

Although I feel that doing intervals on the treadmill is cheating a bit, at least I managed to get some useful form work done at the same time.


Part 2:

Did the other half of the workout outside when I could fit it in after work, settling the 3 year old and teatimes ... so 10:40pm.

Distance: 4.76 mi

Time: 39:04



Mile 1  8:44 min/mile

Mile 2  8:53 min/mile

Mile 3  6:57 min/mile – sub 7 interval

Interval of 2 mins walking for 0.13 mile

Mile 4 … and this is where it all went wrong! I pressed the lap button and didn’t stop to consider it didn’t start the mile again … so I was 0.13m short for the last interval …

‘Mile’ 4 6:36 min/mile

0.76 mile cooldown at 8:48 min/mile


Garmin Info Here

06/03/2013 at 13:37
RUTH MCKEAN wrote (see)
sarah osborne wrote (see)
Hi Ruth, thankyou for answering my question for me.

I think I like the idea of mixing them up...3 shot blocks and 2 jelly babies per hour as least the babies just dissolve in my mouth, no effort involved.

So far I havent really been having much on my training runs this year. Ive either had nothing or ive had a jelly baby at mile 14, 16 and 18. Last week I decided to try the shot blocks but only had one at mile 13 and one at mile 16.

During my last half I had one jelly baby at mile 10 but then I didnt feel like I needed anything more.

At London last year I think I had about 5 shot blocks, I think I had my first one at about mile 12 and then one every 3 miles. I felt great up until mile 16 and then it was like someone had switched a switch and I suddenly felt tired and as though I had had enough and I wanted it to end. After about mile 23 I found it hard to concentrate and focus on things. I kept getting an urge to have jelly babies but when I saw people handing them out, the thought of having one made me feel quite nauseous so I didnt have one. My second half of the marathon was 7 mins slower than the first and the last 10 miles were not very enjoyable. I dont know if this matters or not, but the amount of water I drank also increased significantly in the last 6 miles.

Once the race had finished I couldnt stomach anything all day/evening.

As you can see I really messed up last year with fuel on race day (and probably the day before aswell), I really want to make sure that this doesnt happen again.

Im doing an 18 miler on friday and a 20 mile race a week on sunday when I want to practice what im going to take pre and during the race.

Thankyou again for all your help and advice

Hi Sarah

I do think London may have been  a fuelling issue for you. 16/17miles is well documented as hitting the wall miles when not got this right.Once you have got to this stage it is hard to come back from it, so preventing is key. You would have been so depleted by the end of the race and stomaching anything would have been hard in this state.  In a half, many will let away with no fuel so no surprise you felt fine during a half. I have  pushed the target 26.2 runners to use the half marathon as a gel practice for  Paris, not because they needed them over this distance. I would go with the drip feed this year but start early and I really think this may make the difference for you. Practice race morning eating and also increase carbs in the 2-3 days before, cut down on calories from protein and fat to a minimal. I can write up what a carb load would look like for a 50kg runner (400-500g carbs) as I did this for another 50kg runner on the webchat on Friday so if you do not mind I can cut and paste this so you can see what this would look like for a light runner.  

The food that  I have  posted will appear a lot for you as you only weigh 49kg . For you I would only recommend you have 400-500g when carb loading and as mentioned above cut out all the extras fat and even protein to keep the overall calories down,

So a plan for you could look like this:

Breakfast: 50g cereal & 150ml milk with one slice of toast with honey/jam and 200ml of fruit juice.

Snack: 500ml milkshake or medium banana and 500ml of fruit jui

06/03/2013 at 13:38


Snack: 500ml milkshake or medium banana and 500ml of fruit juice/squash/cordial

Lunch: 2 slice of thick bread with banana and honey filling , 150g pot of yogurt or medium baked potato and beans

Snack: bagel and honey/jam (split in tow and have over full afternoon) and 500ml of cordial/squash.

Evening meal: 90g dried weight pasta/rice and tomato based  sauce  and 300ml of fruit juice or a chopped fruit & pot of yoghurt (150-200g)

Before bed: ceral bar or 1 slice of toast and jam.

This is around 450g of carbs.

Hope this helps.

06/03/2013 at 14:12

Stolen! This is the Up-The-Nostril shot taken at the Bootcamp 3:

 Thanks to Katie RW for the pic!

Edited: 06/03/2013 at 14:14
06/03/2013 at 15:30

Food Diary


1st March

Breakfast: Porridge made with water, 3 x tsp sugars, dash of milk, 1 tsp linseeds.

Lunch: Chicken & Bacon salad (large), no dressing. Salad included lettuce & other mixed leaves, peppers, cucumber, tomatoes.

Dinner: Doner kebab and chips (It WAS takeaway night)

Snack: crème egg

Drinks: 4 x coffee, 4 pints of squash, protein drink

Exercise: 1 hours walk, 1 hours grocery shopping with 3 year old.



2nd March

Breakfast: Porridge made with water, 3 x tsp sugars, dash of milk, 1 tsp linseeds.

Lunch: 1 x gluten free bread roll with ham salad, grapes, melon and kiwi

Snacks: crème egg, 2 x rice cakes, 1 x protein bar

Dinner: Chicken buffet with chips. (Again a not very good evening meal … exhausted after bootcamp so went for an easy option)

Drinks: 1 x lucozade, 5 x coffee, 3 x pints of squash, 2 x pints of water, 1 x protein drink.

Exercise: Bootcamp (approx 7 miles incl exercises and w/up, c/down), 3 miles walked to station approx.



3rd March

Breakfast: Porridge made with water, 3 x tsp sugars, dash of milk, 1 tsp linseeds.

Lunch: Protein bar (as was running Silverstone from 12 midday to nearly 2pm and it took until 4:30 to get out of the car park)

Dinner: Burger with fried egg, mushroom and cheddar and some chips.

Snacks: almonds, crème egg, portion of strawberry ice cream, 3 x High 5 gels

Drinks: 4 x coffee, 3 bottles of water, 1 pint of water, 1 pink of cola, 3 pints of squash, 1 protein drink.  

Exercise: Silverstone half marathon so 13.1 miles run, approx 2 miles walked.



4th March

Breakfast: Porridge made with water, 3 x tsp sugars, dash of milk, 1 tsp linseeds.

Lunch: Natural yoghurt bar with almonds and sultanas with yoghurt. 15g cheddar, 1 x apple.

Snacks: 1 x bag pistachios, some almonds, 1 x mint aero chocolate, cup of green grapes.

Dinner: 2 x kipper fillets, ½ courgette, 3 x mushrooms, portion of spinach, carrots, cauliflower and broccoli – all steamed. Portion of cottage cheese, 1 x fresh beetroot, 1 x sweet potato.

Drinks: 1 x cup of tea, 3 x coffee, 3 pints squash, 1 x protein drink.

Exercise: 1 hour walk


5th March

Breakfast: Porridge made with water, 3 x tsp sugars, dash of milk, 1 tsp linseeds.

Lunch: tina of tuna and 1 tbsp mayonnaise.

Snacks: almonds, crème eggs, banana

Dinner: 1 x pollock fillet, ½ courgette, 2 x mushrooms, portion of spinach, carrots, cauliflower and broccoli – all steamed. Portion of cottage cheese, 1 x fresh beetroot, 1 x sweet potato.

Drinks: 5 x coffee, 3 pints squash, 1 x protein drink.

Exercise: 8 miles run.

06/03/2013 at 15:37

well done on the session - even though it was treadmill at lunchtime and spread over 10 hours! and another good report. That HM time when not 100% still shows you have masses in hand for a 3:30-3:35 marathon and around 1:45 in marathon is going to feel very comfortable.

06/03/2013 at 21:06

I went out today to try and see if I was ok , I did 6 mile in 42 mins and no signs of back niggles ( thumbs up ) I didnt reliase I ran so fast until the 5th mile , I need to slow down otherwise injury will certainley come back. 

I,m not racing the parkrun now while maybe after the VLM ,  I will be running the parkrun but steady away , just to prepare me for the long slow runs.

You look to be on your way back to form , keep up the good running !!!!!!!!!!!!

06/03/2013 at 22:17


Brilliant posts - you are a complete hero for your performance at Silverstone, and I thought of you as I set out for my 9 miler this evening, still feeling the after effects of the virus. But I got it done and felt fine after too.

I would have been very proud of your time - even if I hadn't had a cold and an infection to fight off.

Well done you!

06/03/2013 at 23:56
Hi Sarah, glad its not just me who doesnt like or get this spinning thing...whats all the fuss about??

Thanks Angela for the plug. Im jealous of both you and sarah being able to eat that the night before a main run and Sarah for being able to eat a meal and then run shortly afterwards!

Looks like Sarahs back...good running today
07/03/2013 at 00:00
Thankyou ever so much Ruth, your a complete star. I will certainly try this before I run east hull 20 a week on sunday to give it a trial run....its making me hungry just thinking about it!
07/03/2013 at 00:05
Ive just thought Ruth, this means I will have to give the Hiltons full cooked english a miss on the saturday morning....what a disaster!!!!!!!

Im sure I will live though and if it helps im happy to have cereal and toast instead,
07/03/2013 at 10:31

Morning Steve Marathon Coach,

Thank you! I did feel a bit of a cheat spreading it across the day, but it’s what I had to do to get it done ... before all the streetlights went out!

I’m glad that the latest HM makes my Paris target look like its good and achievable. Hopefully it’s a case of putting in the hard work now and being able to enjoy the marathon as the payoff!

Can I check the session tonight, please. I’ve got it down as:

9 miles with 42 mins of alternating paces of 10k, marathon and fast jog.

Why 42 minutes? Should I do a normal mile warmup and then start 42 mins from there? I’m sure it’s something simple I’m not seeing (such as it works out at a mile distance) but I can’t quite work it out. Sorry.

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