Target 26.2 - First Timer Steve's Journey to Paris

Long runs, speed sessions... and a pair of rather tight leggings.

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01/01/2013 at 11:47
So good to hear someone else who speeds up towards the end of a run!

I'm not sure whether it's the excitement of finishing or the desire to get it over and done with that is the stronger influence

Absolutely loving the detailed stats Steve, I really struggle to keep the pace down on the LSR's but your feedback might be just the encouragement I need!

Keep up the good work.
01/01/2013 at 11:56
Santa loves bacon wrote

So what are your plans for new year?

After much thought I have reset my plans for 2013, i'm not doing a spring marathon, I am going to work on speed/strength n power for the first half year, and i've entered Snowdonia marathon in October!!

and I will still be following your thread to pick up tips and give support of course.

01/01/2013 at 16:13

Happ New Year Steve......I hope week 3 goes well for you. How is the hamstring? I do exactly the same as you and find myself speeding up in the last mile. Like Kandinsky said, I think it's the knowing you're almost finished and a warm shower (and stretching!) awaits!

01/01/2013 at 22:12

Paul - well done on the run - that's a great pace. Can't believe you got to crack out the sunnies! I've got a horrible feeling that I've lost my Ray Bans... They are (were!!) my pride and joy... carbon fibre arms... £190!! And I can't find them anywhere. You may well see a grown man cry.

I may have to find me a massage therapist to marry! Sounds pretty ideal


SC - great run! I'm going to have to sit down and figure out how to upload the runs from my Garmin - don't seem to have had a spare second recently! Is it fairly straight forward to do? Hopefully January will quieten down a bit after my son's birthday at the weekend and I can take a look.

Fair enough on the music front - I used to listen to music on absolutely every single run but have been listening to it a lot, lot less now I'm doing more varied sessions.


oscarr - thanks, hope you had a great one too and all the best for the new year! Yes, it's been a good start and looking forward to progressing now... best foot forward and all that. How's your training going?


Clive - haha glad it's not just me then Hamstring has been ok so far - can definitely still feel it but it doesn't appear to be affecting my running so fingers crossed it's just a niggle and I can carry on through it... 


RRR - result! What are you going to spend it on??


Jen - Happy new year to you too - did you have good fun? Hope you behaved yourself!

That sounds like a great plan - you should be in fantastic shape for an Autumn marathon - good luck with it! Make sure you keep us all up to date with your training progress.


Kandinsky - that's what a love about this forum - every time I make a confession, it turns out loads of other people do the same thing Haha I'm going to go with the excitement of finishing - I think in my head I'm just rounding the last bend in the Olympic Stadium and 60,000 people are cheering my name!

Yes, it really is tough to keep the pace down, isn't it? But I think already I'm noticing the benefits - I come out of the slower runs feeling so fresh and energised. Definitely worthwhile!

Thanks for your kind comments.


Ady - cheers mate, you too and all the best for 2013. Hamstring is ok, better than I thought although there is definitely something up... hopefully minor!

I do love the post-run warm shower! I'm always in there for an absolute age!

01/01/2013 at 22:51

Training - Week 3

Monday - REST DAY

Tuesday - 4 MILE JOG (10.15 - 11.00 MINS PER MILE)

This run was supposed to be on Monday but, due to the dicky hamstring, I took the rest day and did the run today instead (post NYE party - that's dedication for you).

The run was pretty straightforward as it was just a slow recovery run. I was more concerned about the hammy to be honest so I went out really slow and just took it easy. Whilst I can feel a definite twinge there, it didn't seem to affect my run and I didn't have to alter my style or anything so fingers crossed I can carry on and it will sort itself out...

I did the four miles in 42mins 50secs, which meant an overall pace of 10mins 42.5secs per mile so nicely in the middle of the pace range I was aiming for.

The four miles broke down as follows:

Mile 1: 10:54

Mile 2: 10:26

Mile 3: 10:42

Mile 4: 10:17

Finished the run feeling fresh of a daisy and with bags of energy. I did rock the lycra look again tonight and went out wearing my sexy leggings - I figured everyone deserved a New Year treat. The My Asics app logged me as breaking 10.42 hearts per mile so I was pretty impressed with my performance there.

I guess the overall feeling was one of relief that the hamstring held up, although I suspect the real test will be tomorrow's faster session at the track...

This week's sessions are looking quite interesting and I'm looking forward to them - even the long run on Sunday has the second half element of increasing the pace so that will keep me on my toes.

Hope everyone had a fantastic New Year - I look forward to hearing all your hangover horror stories


After the over-indulgences and spending almost every evening out and about of the Christmas/New Year period, it's on to the hard work and time for the serious training to really begin...

Game face on.

01/01/2013 at 23:01

Hi Mel, you asked about how to get the paces up for each mile on the Garmin... so here we go!

(we're using 210 forerunners so apologies to anyone else using a different model if it doesn't work on your model!)

Hold down the "page/menu" button (bottom left of the four buttons as you look at the watch) - it'll come up with a countdown to get you to the menu screen, so just keep it held down until the menu comes up.

Once you're there, the first option on the menu is "History". Next to the same menu button on the screen, you'll now notice a little 'ok' - press the menu button to select History. It sometimes takes a few seconds to load but, once it does, you'll see your most recent run.

The two buttons on the right hand side can then be used to scroll up and down through all the runs you've logged using the watch.

When you get the one you want, press the menu button once more (you'll see the little 'ok' next to it on the screen again) to select that particular run. That will then take you to lap one for that run - mine seems to have one mile as a default distance for each lap, it's not something I've set up and so I assume yours is the same (let me know if it's not!). Again, the buttons on the right hand side of the watch can be used to scroll up and down through all the laps and you can get the times for each one...

Hope that helps!

01/01/2013 at 23:11

Happy New Year Steve! - Fab pic and fab run!! Hope the hamstring sorts itself out soon!

Week 3 of training!!! Eeek! Where has the time gone?? Looks as though you're rocking the training though!! Well done!!

02/01/2013 at 12:51

Thanks, was a great party

I know! It is going so fast... looks like you are too - just keep away from that horse

02/01/2013 at 13:56
Great pics of the festivities Steve/Santa! Happy new year, all the best for 2013.

How's your hamstring holding up? Go easy on it, I had a slight issue with my calf last week but seems to be ok after my speed session yesterday which was the real test for it, hope it clears up quickly for you.
02/01/2013 at 21:22

Cheers Alex, was a good night! You too, hope you had a good one

It felt really good today - as you say, the speed session is the real test and it seems, fingers crossed, to have passed with flying colours. Glad your calf is ok! Guess we better get used to lots of little niggles...

02/01/2013 at 22:12

Training - Week 3


I went to the track to do this session.  As I'd come straight from work, I did have to approach the reception desk wearing a rather natty shirt, trousers and a pair of loafers so I did get a bit of a funny look while paying my £2.50.

After getting changed, I made my way out to the track to find there was nobody else out there so I literally had the whole thing to myself.  This week, unlike my similar session in week 1, they were also even actually kind enough to turn the floodlights on so that I could see what I was doing... I've really gone up in the world, clearly!

The weather wasn't the best and it was still trying to drizzle after having rained fairly hard for most of the afternoon, but there is something about running on a floodlit running track that meant I didn't much care...


As usual, thousands of my loyal fans had turned out to cheer me on and offer their undying support...


On to the session itself.  After the squeaky hamstring troubles of the past few days, I deliberately made sure I did a very thorough and extended warm up prior to starting with lots and lots of active stretching and a long jog before I even thought about starting - I felt fine throughout so was pretty pleased.



I completed the mile in 9 mins 53secs.  Again, still a little nervous, I took this fairly easy but, again, the hamstring felt totally fine.

In fact, more than feeling fine, I was actually feeling really, really good.  I just seemed to have (and have had all evening) absolutely bags of energy and I felt really bouncy and light on my feet.  I finished the mile and then went on to do the three sets of acceleration strides without mishap.



This was seriously good fun! I felt fantastic throughout and seriously felt like I could have carried on with the reps all night...

The five 400m broke down as follows:

1 - 1min 43secs. Pace = 6:54 mins per mile

(2 min recovery at 9:50mpm pace)

2 - 1min 42secs. Pace = 6:43 mins per mile

(2 min recovery at 9:44mpm pace)

3 - 1min 40secs. Pace = 6:42 mins per mile

(2 min recovery at 9:31mpm pace)

4 - 1min 36secs. Pace = 6:32 mins per mile

(2min recovery at 9:38mpm pace)

5 - 1min 28secs. Pace = 5:46 mins per mile

I know that the pacing was a bit faster than I should have really been going pretty much throughout but I felt really strong, my form was good, my hamstring didn't twitch once and I felt that I could have carried on at the pace for a few more reps. Plus I was enjoying myself hugely and had a big grin on my face all the way round, so I'm happy to get a telling off from coach - it was totally worth it



As I crossed the line of the last 400m, I just went straight into the mile at comfortabl

02/01/2013 at 22:13

comfortable pace without stopping - I felt really good all the way round, really bouncy and full of energy. I did the mile in 9mins 29 secs, and that was with a real effort to slow down and keep within the pacing I needed.

I finished, needless to say, feeling really good and I'm still smiling now.

I have a rest day tomorrow, which I imagine I will spend itching to go out and run, then a fast 5 miler on Friday which I'm going to absolutely smash

I am feeling incredibly enthusiastic about my running and I'm trying to look at other areas I can improve in, such as diet and nutrition, to help myself improve further.

02/01/2013 at 22:35
reading that has just made me smile too Steve sometimes running is just the best feeling in the world!
02/01/2013 at 22:38

So what have I learned since beginning my first couple of weeks of training? Well I've learnt so many things already... But here are the top 5:


1. I have good speed and speed endurance

I think this is fairly apparent from the intervals I have been running. I haven't really felt like I have been over-extending myself on these and, far from finding them hard, have found them great fun.


2. I need to work on my distance endurance

Whilst it was not a massive struggle, the 10 mile run was the most "difficult" session I have had to date in terms of how I felt during and afterwards. Whilst I got round fine and could happily complete the distance again, it definitely didn't feel as "easy" as the speed/interval sessions. Of course, "difficult" and "easy" are relative terms and I have felt, almost exclusively, like I have been running within myself most of the time and have had more in the bag if I have needed it.


3. You don't always have to run with music

Before starting this competition, I went out on 99% of my runs with my earphones in. It was a real rarity for me to go out sans music blaring out.  But what with all the different sessions I have been doing, I haven't really thought about having music a lot of the time.  I still have had it for the longer slow runs but certainly not anything where I'm checking my pace.  It's been a really nice change of pace and I'm certainly not going to be so reliant on it going forward.


4. I eat a hell of a lot of crap

I've been looking at my diet recently and realised just how poor a lot of it is!  Generally this revolves around being too busy to make something proper to eat and, if I'm being totally honest, laziness.  I've decided that I need to look at this and just by making a few simple changes, I reckon it will help my running and general physical health a lot.  I do enjoy cooking so much so I think I should be doing a bit more of it! So I'm going to stop making excuses and eat fresher and healthier.  I'll maybe even post a recipe or two if I find anything super nice


5. Form is important

I've never really concentrated on exactly what I have been doing when I have been running before. I've just gone out and ran! But as soon as I started actively concentrating on what I was doing, I have noticed an improvement. I guess it is all about being efficient. Some people, maybe most people, may run fairly efficiently to begin with, but I don't seem to have been doing so in the past. Just by concentrating on my stride, on keeping my shoulders up and straight, on not slumping as I tire and on generally keeping my form, I have noticed that I can run similar paces with a lot less effort.  I'm hoping, as I progress, that this will become second nature... Then I can move on to the next thing to improve!

02/01/2013 at 22:44
jenf wrote (see)
reading that has just made me smile too Steve sometimes running is just the best feeling in the world!

Thanks Jen, it really is - I enjoyed the session tonight so much. It was a real pleasure. Sometimes, you just have to smile, don't you?

02/01/2013 at 23:28

Love reading the bit about Top 5 things - fab post!!

03/01/2013 at 14:14

Hi Steve

Congratulations on the forum so far. I have enjoyed reading through all the posts and  glad to hear less chat about bacon as the weeks have moved on! 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.

You are in safe hands with Sam. 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. 

Hi also to Sleepy Bear, Tenjiso, msc, Oscarr  and others from the last couple of years! Great as always to have the support of everyone posting on forums.



03/01/2013 at 14:34

LOL - I see your point #4 brought an immediate response from Ruth  (Hi Ruth)

I've also semi-almost-nearly made a resolution to do something about my nutrition this year.  I still have a spare tyre to lose despite being "healthy" weight according to my BMI.  I hadn't realised how much sugar there was in so-called healthy foods (e.g. breakfast cereals)  

I'm looking forward to seeing your daily food and drink consumption Steve.  No telling porkie-pies now about eating, erm... pork pies, for example.  I'd be too embarrassed to post mine 

Ruth - I heard on Talk Ultra (episode 16) a suggestion that eating a protein breakfast (e.g. bacon and egg) before a long run encourages the body to more quickly burn fat for fuel rather than carbohydrates.   Do you have an opinion on this relating to training for a marathon?


03/01/2013 at 18:52

Hey Steve - et al - happy new year everyone!

I am just back from the wilds of Scotland where I've been  working hard on both the 'energy in' and 'energy out' sides of the calorie equation! Lots of running on hills and trails - and a fair amount of Christmas cake, chocolates and red wine. oops

Good to see some self knowledge coming out so early in the training, Steve! I think the real key to building your endurance over distance will be allowing yourself to slow down enough to go for longer without tiring. I think you're already starting to realise the benefits of this strategy.

How has the mileage felt overall? Achievable? Too little? Just right?

Blimey, though, you torched through those 400m reps! We sometimes do a session called Winders, where you have to perform each rep a few seconds faster than the last - which is exactly what you just did.  I'll be expecting to see those 600m reps in about 2.36 each now  Love the pics of the track.

Re. the hamstring. Do you have a foam roller? I highly recommend one if you don't. I like the GRID, with knobbly bits on. Sit on it with straight legs and roll back and forth across the hammy. Cross other leg over at ankle to add more pressure.

Keep a close eye on it, too. If it starts to tighten up or hurt during a run, please let us know.

03/01/2013 at 18:59

Tigs - hi! Thanks for your question. It's difficult to say specifically how much is possible to knock off your PB - I'd say that goal setting for a race has to be based on evidence of what you've achieved recently (and since you set your previous PB over that distance.) For eg. If you had run a 1.56 half marathon prior to your first marathon and you achieved 4 hours 5 mins, then a sub 4 would be definitely on the cards for the next one. And if you'd improved your half time to closer to 1.50, then a sub 3.50 would be possible. But if you were still running 1.56, then a sub 3.50 is a tough ask. I recommend using all your recent race times, plugging them into a predictor chart and you'll then have a range of 'potential' times - say, from 3.45 to 3.58. Your goal time should definitely be within this bracket, not outside of it. Hope that helps.


DS2, you asked about compression. My feeling is that there is solid evidence on the benefits of compression garments for aiding recovery, mainly through assisting venous return (blood flow back to heart). But I have not seen any studies that convince me they have a performance benefit. I use recovery tights after races and long runs and feel they do help - even if it's psychological! I think the Asics Top Impact line also has some kind of posture-boosting insert around the pelvis. I don't think this is firm/strong enough to actually change your posture (think how tight a sacro-iliac joint support belt is, for eg) HOWEVER, I do think the tightness does make you more aware of your posture, which can help you improve it. A lot about running form, as Steve has observed, is about awareness.

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