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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19/12/2012 at 12:45

I felt like a right dumbass when my physio asked what the top two holes in my trainers were for ...err decoration?? Great work so far Steve!

19/12/2012 at 12:48

and to think we may all have been lacing our trainers wrong for years!!

seren nos    pirate
19/12/2012 at 12:49

once again. i use the phrase.if it ain't broke.don't mend it

19/12/2012 at 13:21

Great thread Steve, looking forward to following it.

Popped my marathon cherry at Liverpool in October, snuck over the line in 4:00:13 so very keen to see what advice you get/give (but secretly hoping the magic lace tying trick will be all I need)

seren nos    pirate
19/12/2012 at 13:55 to clarify your rough plan is to train to around sub 4 and obviously adjust this target as you get closer.........trying to work out which of you 5 match closest to my aims

19/12/2012 at 14:30

Hi Steve, how's it going? What did you have today for a session? Did it go ok?

19/12/2012 at 15:48

Lurking but lacking bacon here........all the best Steve......sub four very doable for you I am sure just tie up those laces and go for it!!!

19/12/2012 at 16:09

Doesn't everybody wear velcro shoes these days? 

19/12/2012 at 18:45

Right, half an hour window to do some posting before I head off out for the staff Christmas meal...

Malcs - if I feel Sam is slacking, I'll let you know... although I've given up bacon so I'll just have to go for cheese!

CarroT - thanks so much I'm learning so, so much and it's great to be able to share it all! It's so nice to get so much support from you all... now I just have to go out there and deliver

young cowboy - definitely - I'm positive I can crack sub 4 and if I can do it, anyone can!

Sticky Mistletoe - pretty sweet, right? Apparently the colour is called "safety orange"!!

SB - well I can't be beaten by two girlies! Will defo give it my best shot feeling pretty confident at the moment, but I'm sure that will change at some point between now and Paris...!

Ten - the shoes are GT-2000s. They are what they recommended at bootcamp and  got the same result at the store day so pretty confident they are right for me - we watched the videos side-by-side of a couple of models of shoes and these do wonders for keeping everything straight and in line!

Re the training plan, Sam did that for me and then has tweaked it according to a load of questions I answered... so hopefully she can pop in and explain that one...

No core exercises for the XT days - I actually plan on doing a fair bit of swimming as both my son and I enjoy it, and I have a rather nice pool just down the road so would be silly not to

I have indeed given up bacon, although I must confess I finished off the stash first... so any pleas for en mass bacon distribution won't get you very far

You'll be pleased to know, though, that I tried to go out on a healthier note...

 Baked sweet potato is probably my new favourite thing!!

19/12/2012 at 18:49


I've done two training runs now and been at "comfortable" pace for a few miles... it felt pretty good actually but I guess the acid test will be the 8 mile run on Sunday.

In the notes with my schedule, Sam did say that I might be capable of hitting closer to 3:50 than 4:00 but, given my lack of longer distance races and runs and my low mileage up to now, she thinks it best to aim sub 4... so maybe the comfortable pace is a compromise between the two goals?

Sam is reassessing the training plan after weeks 4, 8 and 12 so it will almost certain change - it's not supposed to be a static thing, but something that evolves with me over the weeks and reflects the progress (or lack thereof...) I've made.

So... whether the comfortable pace is a bit fast... I'll let you know in Sunday!

19/12/2012 at 20:03

I like the pacing Sam has set you...( apart from the last speed one - can't do that!)       I love baked sweet potato too! I'm sticking with you

19/12/2012 at 23:18
That makes three of us....sweet potatoes are so much more nicer than the ordinary ones, and don't take as long to cook!
19/12/2012 at 23:47

Glad you'll be sticking around Jen! So far I've found the pacings pretty good - will be interesting to see what Sam does with them in a few weeks... kind of hoping she ups them a little bit

Sarah - I love sweet potatoes but have always roasted or mashed them.. baked is something else - really enjoyed it! Who needs bacon eh?

20/12/2012 at 00:04


I went to the store day and had a full gait analysis and was fitted with a shiny new pair of ASICS GT-2000s. However, when I went to tie up the laces I was stopped and shown a different way to do it. Now, I was never taught at school that there was more than one way to tie your laces – there was just the old “loop and swoop”.

Apparently I have been misinformed and there is... another way.

Having always gone for standard tying, I've sometimes found that this puts a bit of pressure on the top of my foot over a longer run, even to the point of leaving it red and sore and I've often also had to stop many times to re-tie my laces after them coming undone on longer runs.

So, this new way solves both my problems - it takes the pressure from the top of the foot and distributes it more evenly round the sides and is also a lot more secure - win-win!

So how do you do this?

First, take a look at your running shoe. See that second hole at the top of the shoe behind the one the lace comes out of? Nope, that's not just there for show...

Grab a lace and loop it back through that second hole:

 Then do the same with the other, and pull them until the loops are fairly small:

 Next, cross the laces over and pass the left lace through the right loop from the bottom and the right lace through the left loop:

 Then hold both laces in your hands and pull one side tight, then the other then pull both tight together:

 Then tie your laces as normal, but loop the lace twice to start with:

 Pull that tight, then finish tying the laces as normal...

Using the second hole to create the 'runners loops' means that the sides of the shoes are pulled round and this reduces the pressure on the top of the foot, spreading it round the sides of the shoes...

Simple eh?

20/12/2012 at 00:09
seren nos yn canu wrote (see) to clarify your rough plan is to train to around sub 4 and obviously adjust this target as you get closer.........trying to work out which of you 5 match closest to my aims

Hi Seren, yes, that's pretty much the potted summary! My mileage up to now has been fairly low so it kind of is a case of suck it and see... I think if I cope alright and find the pacing ok, Sam will crank it up a bit and maybe we'll aim a little closer to 3:50... but I don't want to do too much too soon, get injured and crash and burn! So sub 4 may well be where it is...

But the whole point is, as you rightly say, that it is all adjustable and, for me at least as a first-timer, a bit of a voyage of discovery!

20/12/2012 at 00:11
A.W wrote (see)

Hi Steve, how's it going? What did you have today for a session? Did it go ok?

Hey Alex, had a run monday and another tonight - they went pretty well! How about you? How's the first week going?

20/12/2012 at 00:15

Well ... I have to admit I never actually realised that anyone used that hole at the top! May have to give this a try!

20/12/2012 at 00:27

Training - Week One

Halfway through week one, and I guess I'd better update you all with how the training is going!


Monday - 3 miles comfortable

I think I found out straight away what my problem is going to be... staying slow enough on the comfortable runs! I've only run two half marathons but I've done a LOT of 5ks...

5k = 3.1 miles so I'm well used to running this distance and well used to pushing myself through it... but now I have to slow the hell down and take it easy. That's tougher than I thought! I kept checking the Garmin pretty much every few seconds and kept seeing the pace creeping up and creeping up... It took a lot of mental effort to slow myself down and try and keep at the required pace! Even then I blasted the last few hundred metres and my average pace for the run was 8:57, when it was supposed to be between 9:10 and 10:05 mins per mile.

Still, a good lesson so I know at least one thing I need to work on...


Wednesday - 1 mile comfortable, 3 x Acceleration strides, 4x400m at 6.50-7 mins per mile (with 2 min recovery jogs between) then 1 mile comfortable

I went to the track to do this - it made the 400m repeats really easy and meant I was only having to worry about pace, rather than both pace and distance.  I've never actually done a session like this before, ever... and I loved it (especially the 6.50 mins per mile bit - see the above about keeping slow!).

It was great fun to mix it up and go for a bit of a blast and doing things like the acceleration strides made me feel like a 'proper' runner after spending the last couple of years just going out and running at the same pace every time!


Next session is Friday, a 3 mile jog...

20/12/2012 at 00:39
Santa loves bacon wrote (see)

Who needs bacon eh?

Can't believe I just said that...

seren nos    pirate
20/12/2012 at 05:49

Great going Steve..I love the fact that this year like last they are trying to be more flexible with goals and to reassess as you go along..........

what were your splits like forthe 400 m

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