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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07/01/2013 at 19:15

Training - Week 4

Monday - REST DAY

Scheduled for a resy day today and I did feel like i needed it! This is the first day since starting out on the training that I have felt any kind of negative effects from the training, energy-wise.

It's nothing major, I've just felt a little drained and I know that if I did have to go out for a run this evening, I would get round no problem but it certainly wouldn't be my finest performance and I think I would probably be sticking to the lower end of the pace guidelines!

That said, it was my son's birthday today and I have had the day off work to spend it with him - I gave him a huge long list of what he might like to do and one of the things he chose was swimming so we went to the local pool to do a bit of cheeky cross-training

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I am amazingly lucky to have some truly great facilities just a 5 minute drive down the road from me (I would say twenty minute jog, but that wouldn't have been fair on the birthday boy!). The rather tired old swimming pool that had been there was knocked down in 2011 and replaced with an Olympic-sized pool and sports centre, complete with the now familiar running track, many pitches for 5-a-side, netball, hockey and so on... and the best part is that is run by the Council so everything literally costs a couple of pounds to use. The facilities were used as a training camp for the Japanese swim team at the London 2012 Olympics (we're about half an hour outside the city) and there are loads of cool things on the walls near the pool, such as a signed tracksuit which one of the Olympians wore when walking out to the pool:


and some more of what their team wore (note the name of the designer):


They also have some of Jess Ennis' kit, which she has signed... But I'm pretty certain she didn't visit the sport centre. If she had, I would have been there with a winning smile and an engagement ring and I'd be on here now telling you all how great the honeymoon was:


Anyway, we hit the pool, which today had a boom separating it into 2 halves - both halves can have the depth adjusted in any combination so one half was shallow (113cms) and the other half was deep. My son loved this as the shallow end was entirely flat, not that usual slope until his head is under the water so he was free to mess about in a 25m pool as much as he wished and never once be out of his depth.

The pool itself is pretty awesome:


07/01/2013 at 19:20

We had a great time and, although I didn't swim length after length after length, we did do a fair few and they were all against the clock (he kept setting me "challenges", the little so-and-so).

We had a bit of a swimming lesson today and he really concentrated hard on his form with his backstroke - he really listened to me and put what I was telling him into practice so I was really proud of him.

By the end of the swim he had reduced the time it took him to swim 25m backstroke from nearly two minutes down to 65 seconds and then 63 seconds!! He is desperate to go sub-60 now, bless him - don't know where he gets his competitive nature from... Will keep you up to date with his progress!

07/01/2013 at 21:09

Loving your forum Steve! You are so positive and enthusiastic - great read (I just read from strart to finish and have NEVER read a forum on here before depite being a RW member 

07/01/2013 at 21:10

for years!

07/01/2013 at 22:02

Thank you so much Christine - I'm blushing! 

So pleased you're enjoying reading it - it's been such a great experience so far and I really am learning something new every day... Can't wait for tomorrow

Writing the thread has been surprisingly good fun and I have had so many nice comments and great advice...

Let's hope I'm still smiling at the finish line in April

07/01/2013 at 22:16

What a great rest day Steve  

07/01/2013 at 22:38


Oh how I have been dreading writing this post... Food is my big weakness - my achilles heel, if you will. After much soul-searching I have decided: sod it - I'm going to be 100% honest about it and face the stern comments and telling offs like a man. And by "like a man", I mean I am going to hide behind the sofa.

Generally, my diet borders on "ok" in the main. I even have meals/days/periods of a few days when I do actually eat really very healthily but then... there are the bad days 

I can be a bit of a binge eater at times and I do have some absolutely terrible food habits.

I have been known to eat a whole 'movie bag' of Doritos in one sitting (yes, that does include most, if not all, of a pot of salsa). I have been known to eat entire large pizzas from Dominos in one sitting. I do sometimes go out at the weekends and have a few pints of beer a couple of nights running, followed by pizzas or other junk food. I do eat more than my fair share of takeaways. I will eat a huge, greasy fry-up and enjoy every mouthful. The local Indian restaurant owner does have a tear in his eye when I walk through the door on "all you can eat buffet" days and tries to take the sign down. He would go out of business if it wasn't for my repeat custom.

I'm saying all this in the spirit of honesty and to let Ruth know what she has let herself in for... (!) but I should point out that I haven't done any of the above once since starting the marathon training and I don't intend to again either!

Ok, that's a lie - I have done the beer one once or twice in the past few weeks. I'm not going to lie, I am going to do that one again more than once before I get to Paris... But certainly not the others!

On to the good news... Yes, there is some good news.

I love food, cooking and experimenting - I will try anything once and love new flavours/types of food. I do eat quite a lot of fresh fruit and veg and I do really love pasta (I have a pasta machine I'm really looking for an excuse to try out...).

Binging aside (and it really isn't that often that I do the ridiculous things listed above), I generally eat three square meals and don't snack overly much. I do try and snack fairly healthily and snacking for me tends to involve quite a lot of things like cherry tomotoes, bananas and similar. So not too bad there.

I do genuinely enjoy salads (athough not just the boring lettuce/tomato/cucumber/yawn variety) and both my son and I love what I call "finger fruit" - berries and similar. I will also eat pineapple until it comes out of my ears.

So on to what I eat...

Edited: 07/01/2013 at 22:40
07/01/2013 at 22:48

Are you chickening out of the food diary after all, Steve?

Loved the rest day report!! Hope your son had an amazing birthday!!

07/01/2013 at 22:52


Breakfast, due to time constraints, is usually fairly dull and boring for me. I tend to vary between the massively exciting "jam on toast" and the even more exotic "weetabix in a bowl with milk on". On Saturdays, my son and I have a bacon roll as a treat.



This depends on whether I'm in the office or out at hearings or visiting clients. If at the office, it will be either sandwiches (ham, cheese etc usually with a bit of lettuce, cucumber, spring onion etc) on wholemeal bread, a bag of crisps and a chocolate biscuit kind of bar (Kit-Kat etc) or Subway, which isn't the worst fast food outlet in the world, healthwise but not that great all the same!

If we're out at hearings or visiting clients, all our clients are in the pub/club/restaurant trade so lunch will tend on those days to be "pub grub" - this will involve chips, maybe a burger... although the last client we ate with, I did order a grilled chicken and halloumi salad which I really enjoyed. Some days, we don't have time for lunch at all - it all depends on the type of hearing etc! I will always have wholemeal or seeded bread/rolls etc wherever possible as I much prefer the taste/texture.

At the weekend, lunch does tend to be slightly better and will usually involve more salads and more fruit.



Dinner will, in the main, consist of frozen things chucked in the oven for 20 minutes - breaded chicken, pies, battered fish, that type of thing along with frozen chips/wedges and beans/peas.

Whenever I have the combination of time to shop and time to prepare, I will often cook things like pasta dishes as I really enjoy them and they are quick and easy to do. One of my favs is pea, bacon and mint carbonara (50ml of double cream and a couple of egg yolks for the sauce). Yesterday, feeling a little experimental, I made up a pasta dish with grilled chicken, tarragon, gently-fried plum tomatoes and mushrooms in a creamy sauce. It tasted really nice although I think if I drop the mushrooms and put in some rocket right at the last minute, it's going to be pretty special...

I also looove any kind of eggs, particularly omlettes and have come up with so many omlette combinations, it isn't even funny!


Anyway, that's the potted summary and I will endeavour to keep a food diary from here on in... Having to post it every day will probably be a huge help in itself in terms of making healthier choices!

07/01/2013 at 22:53
jenf wrote (see)

What a great rest day Steve  

Thanks Jen, we certainly enjoyed it!

07/01/2013 at 22:54
RunnyRunRun wrote (see)

Are you chickening out of the food diary after all, Steve?

Loved the rest day report!! Hope your son had an amazing birthday!!

Patience girl, patience - I'm getting there!

07/01/2013 at 23:05

Food Diary - Sun 7th Jan

Breakfast - fried egg in a wholemeal roll with tomato sauce - actually had a little bit of side salad with this for some reason (rocket, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and spring onion)

Lunch - more cherry tomatoes (!), some mature cheddar cheese, some chicken, a bit of pickle and some crackers. Then a bag (normal sized!) of Doritos.

Snack - a large handful of grapes

Dinner - Pasty, potato wedges and beans, followed by a mince pie (just using up the christmas supplies - I actually don't eat sweet things that often and will usually skip desserts)

Drinks - I had a glass of orange squash with breakfast and some banana flavoured milk later in the morning. Glass of water with lunch, a cup of coffee not long after and another glass of squash with dinner. Drinking a glass of water this evening and I will always take a glass to bed with me.

08/01/2013 at 07:31
Thankyou Sam for your advice on resistance training.

Morning Steve, like you said your so lucky to have all those sporting facilities near to where you live. I'm pretty jealous! Looks like you had a well deserved rest day yesterday.

Your "old diet" sounds like my OH's, I've started adding bits of fruit to his pack up now in the bid to get him healthier, but it tends to come back home in the bottom of his bag. Yesterday was fish and chips day for him as I pass the whetherby whaler on my way home from netball! Glad to see you haven't given up on the bacon completely.

Good luck with Ruth, hope you don't get a grilling!
08/01/2013 at 09:22

Well grilling is healthier than frying...

08/01/2013 at 12:27

You're a braver man than most, I can just imagine Sam & Ruth rubbing their hands together devising ways in which you can make amends!!!

Most of our dinners used to be similar but the pre-packed seasoning shakes from Schwartz were a revolution. 

I know it's extremely lazy and I'm almost certain we have all the ingredients already but in 20 mins we can have Peri Peri/Morroccan/Jamaican Jerk (delete as appropriate) grilled chicken with a baked potato and salad with energy left for that vital post run recovery

08/01/2013 at 12:45

Oh my lord, Ruth will be having kittens when she reads your dietary confessions 

I think the thing that really stands out for me is the lack of variety, and minimal  veg. Nothing wrong with cherry toms, but there's no leafy green veg like broccoli, spinach, kale, or nutrient rich orange/yellow/red stuff like peppers, squash, sweet potato, carrots. And not much in the way of whole grains, like rice, cous cous, pearl barley or pulses/beans like chickpeas, kidney beans etc. 

Omelettes are good though!  Let's see what Ruth has to say. But happy to make some suggestions, too. 

08/01/2013 at 12:45

Sam - i haven't seen any posts on Mel's thread since 18th Dec - is this a glitch with my PC or is she OK?

08/01/2013 at 12:47

I've tweaked Steve's training for this week, as discussed earlier in the thread. No long run still, but slightly more intensity and volume. Think a long run break will help Steve consolidate the benefits made so far - and have to keep in mind that the last three weeks have been a significant step up in mileage for him...:

Week 4 w/c 7th January
Monday REST
Tuesday 3 MILE JOG
Thursday REST
Friday 5 MILES COMFORTABLE (could do this off-road)
Saturday Parkrun plus warm up and cooldown. Include some strides in warm-up (6)

08/01/2013 at 12:48

Oooh, and Steve, what's the name of this amazing sports facility you get to train at? I'm intrigued! Always looking for good venues to run my workshops at 

08/01/2013 at 13:10

Thats not good Steve you are in bother!!!!

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