The Road to Paris - On a Plateau - Asics Target 26.2 Training

The highs, lows (and everything in between) of my 16 week Paris Marathon training plan.

201 to 220 of 1,530 messages
24/12/2012 at 14:03

Ady, best of luck with your training. It is a tough time of year to lose weight. I make a rule of not eating any junk food at work. I've found that a policy of outright refusal to do so saves you the hassle of deliberating over whether or not one more mince pie is allowed.

WRT warm ups, for 10k pace and faster I will usually do something like 6k progressive, 10 minutes of drills and 2-3 strides. Aside from increasing the risk of injury, I don't really feel that anything less is sufficient for me to concentrate and train as well as I can.

I don't like the idea of starting the reps off easy. If you're doing that then you haven't really started your session - you're still warming up. If the session is 10 x 200m in y seconds then my goal is to hit y seconds on each rep with perfect form.

For cool down it's generally just 2-3 laps jog and static stretching. I've even skipped cooling down before when in a rush and I can't say I've noticed a major difference.

24/12/2012 at 14:06

Moraghan - Before any kind of quality session I would need 2 miles slow followed by 2 miles gently progressive to get within touching distnace of the paces that the session was going to involve.

Going into a session any quicker feels very risky in terms of things being stretched beyond where they naturally want to stretch to.

24/12/2012 at 14:07

I think it's more a case of dialling into the correct pace Simon. My first rep is inevitably slower than the rest, just because I'm wary of going off too fast and ruining the session. Best to run the reps progressively. If any of your reps is going to be slower, it should certainly be the first one, and never, ever, the last.

24/12/2012 at 14:53

CC2,I agree that it's better to go off too slow than too fast when tuning in. It does often take me one or two to get in the swing of things.

But why do you say the final rep should never ever be the slowest? I can think of several examples where this has been the case for me: E.g. in "cruise interval" sessions where I've been running to HR rather than pace; in track sessions when running to an intensity rather than pace; when performing (and these are rare) sessions where I essentially run reps to failure.



24/12/2012 at 16:27

Maybe it depends on what you're training for Simon, but running reps to failure in marathon training doesn't sound like a great idea to me. You need a good workout, but also you need to be able to train again tomorrow. I'm not sure about running intervals to HR either, surely that's just training yourself to slow down when the going gets tough (ie at the end of a marathon)? Any thoughts from the sages?

24/12/2012 at 16:35

I personally would not run  intervals to HR, not to say it's wrong, but I like to run to pace.  I also try not to have a fade in my reps.  Each rep should be within 5 secs of each other to be classed as good pace judgement in my opinion, so if I ended up with the last rep over 5 secs slower than my first I would put that down to going off too fast.

24/12/2012 at 16:48

It can depend on the length of the interval whether or not you'd run it to HR.  When Hadd training, I would do sessions like 3 x 5k w/ 400m jog recovery, to be completed within a specific HR zone.  Then there would often be drift at the end as Simon describes.

24/12/2012 at 16:51

Ah, we may be into 'semantics' again. I don't think I'd class 3 x 5k as an intervals session as the 'reps' are so long. Not sure what I would call it though!

24/12/2012 at 17:01

Hadd used to call them `work' sessions.

24/12/2012 at 17:02

So was that 2 x 10 x 5K session we did a few weeks back an interval session?

24/12/2012 at 17:14

Shhh!  Don't divulge ALL our training secrets just yet...

24/12/2012 at 17:28

No PRF, that was the 'Insanity' workout 

24/12/2012 at 17:47

Hi Ady

Showing great restraint on the food front (of course you ate the odd Quality Street... you wouldn't be human if you hadn't) and a good week of training in the bag.

There's been some talk about warm-up duration/intensity - you'll notice the longer warm-up and strides included in the shorter-duration intervals (next week for eg) and it's perfectly fine to utilise this warm-up option on the mile reps too, if you feel you want to and have the time to do so. The reason I made it shorter was because of the limitations of lunch time runs, time-wise.

I've got a hand-out of some good basic stretches which I'll email to you. Who knows, maybe Steve can do his magic and make it into a downloadable file direct from the forum? He did that with the strength circuit on his thread. I'd also recommend doing a foot stretch (which isn't on the sheet) bearing in mind your PF history. Do it barefoot: press the top of the foot down into the carpet (don't do on a hard floor!) so you get a curve across the top of it. Don't just curl the toes over. You'll want to have your knee bent to do this. You can apply more weight through the stretch if you do it standing. If this makes no sense I'll try to find a link to demonstrate!

Interesting re running your long run on 'empty'. This is a strategy with growing support in some circles. So called train low, race high - in whch you don't take carbs on board before or during long runs in training. As said, this helps improve fuel utilisation (using fat preferentially to glycogen). But then on race day, you use carbs to get a real boost. Some interesting research on this suggests it's quite effective but it does suppress the immune system and shouldn't be done on every long run.

24/12/2012 at 18:02

Interesting Sam that you have Ady doing a lower mileage plan than many as you have said that one of your main thoughts is to minimise the risk of injury.  However, you have just posted that you set Ady just a mile warm-up for a 10k paced session due to time constraints during his lunch hour.  Does that not run counter to injury avoidance?  Would it not have been better given his time constraints to have reduced the mile reps to km reps thus giving him a longer warm-up?

24/12/2012 at 18:14

I don't think it's an issue Hilly. It takes about 5 minutes of low/moderate intensity to get muscle temperature and heart rate up and to trigger the shunting of blood to the working muscles instead of the visceral organs so a mile is adequate. I didn't want him to do km reps as the tendency with these shorter-duration reps is to go too quick, making it more of a VO2 max training session than a lactate threshold one. 

Happy Christmas to all! Hope your Christmas training and festivities go well. I'll only have time for a mile warm up before tomorrow morning's parkrun, in order to have time to see what Santa's brought me first!

24/12/2012 at 18:22

Agree wholeheartedly with the benefits of starting long runs on low glycogen to push the adaptations along but the thought of 1 mile warm ups to do a 10K paced session just seems like asking for trouble.

24/12/2012 at 18:25

Interesting points re. a 5 minute warm up being adequate.  There does seem to be some disagreement about the ideal length of warm up.  The paragraphs below are taken from the runnersworld USA site, and seem pretty much in line with what others have posted on this thread. This is thread link:-


To prepare for the rigors of hard training sessions such as speedwork, you should ideally do a 20- to 40-minute warmup. Properly warmed up, you'll be able to hit your target paces from the outset of your repeats. "Most runners start speed sessions with an inadequate warmup," says Sean Coster, a coach and exercise physiologist for the Nike Bowerman Athletic Club in Beaverton, Oregon. The body is thus ill-prepared to adequately transport oxygen and offset the by-products of fast running, so it's harder to generate the power to run at goal pace, says Coster.

WARMUP ROUTINE: Walk for two minutes, then jog at a conversational pace for 15 to 20 minutes to raise your heart rate. Loosen and activate your muscles with five to 10 minutes of dynamic stretches and form drills such as lunges, skipping, and high-knees running. Then run 800 meters at moderate intensity (a little slower than your 10-K race pace), and do two to four 100-meter strides. Beginners or those pressed for time can eliminate the form drills and 800-meter run.

24/12/2012 at 18:40

Yes, wishing you all a Merry Christmas!  parkrun for me tomorrow too.  Just love to run on Christmas Day and parkruns are great for this

24/12/2012 at 20:56

CC2, I'm just being a bit contentious really. I know you're probably talking about situations where someone goes out to hard and can't finish the session as a result, and in those cases I agree that the principle of starting faster than you finish is a good one. I just had to take issue with the use of "never, ever" ..

I think running to HR can be a useful guide for slower runs (less than 10kp) early in a schedule when one is more interested in the intensity of the sessions and training effect and also may not have a good idea of what a sensible goal pace would be.

24/12/2012 at 21:32

Thanks everybody for your posts and thoughts. Merry Christmas to you all........yet another interesting line of topic has taken off and yet again I think my previous knowledge on the subject seems woefully inadequate.

Moraghan........thanks for starting the topic on warm-ups and thanks everybody for sharing your experiences on this. I can safely say, I have never given warm-up the respect it deserved in the past. As most of my training runs were similar speeds, I never really warmed-up for these and just started with the training run.

When I have done speed work before, I would only do half a mile slow-jog warm-up, then some dynamic (not sure this is the correct word?) stretching before starting my session. I've never even contemplated doing more than this before.

Sam......thanks for your feedback. I have noticed the longer warm-ups in my upcoming training. I'm more than happy to give the longer warm-ups a try (time-permitting), starting this week. I'm very lucky in the fact I have flexi-time at work, so  I can take lunch from 11:30-13:30. This gives me a 2 hour window (meetings permitting) of running, showering, eating lunch and getting back to work. I can then work later to make my hours up. This should give me the ability of doing up to 8-9 miles during one lunch break, so if I can do 2 miles of warm-up/ warm-down then I will try my best to fit it in. I agree with why you had planned it the way you had. There are many days when I dont have the ability to do extra warm-up/ warm-down, so what you had planned for me (just the 1 mile warm-up/ warm-down) is far more suitable. If I have time, then I'll do the extra. 

Thanks very much for the stretches. I'll check my email now. Thanks also for the PF specific stretching. I will definitely be incorporating all of this in to my daily routine (your description does make sense). I won't run on empty every long run. I thought I'd try it to see how I felt compared to my normal long run regime. What is the longest distance you would recommend doing this on? I felt fine after 12 miles, but think anything above 15 or 16 without fuelling would be iffy, especially if the immune system is involved.

CC2...I will certainly cut down on alcohol, but I don't think I have the ability to cut it out completely for the next 15 weeks. But saying that, as I have already used up my Asics quota, the money could certainly come in handy! I am also planning on mixing up the yoga/ pilates workouts, but mainly focusing on pilates as it's my core that needs the most work. seems like I am almost in the same place you were when you first started running - attempting to run everything at 8m/m pace. anything more than that I would see it as a failure and be depressed about it. Thanks to Sam and comments like yours, I'm starting to see a totally different view on this. I still doubt I'd be able to run before work in the mornings though. But running in my lunch break and then again in the evenings is definitely a possibility. Thanks for the link to the HADD approach. I haven't had time to read it all yet, but will print off for the train ride to visit family just after'll make good reading material!

Barry.......I do think 2 marathons a year is the optimal number, and like you I think from now on I'll concentrate on a Spring marathon and then an Autumn marathon. Good luck for Berlin? Have you done it before? It's one of my favourite races and I also love the city as well.


Edited: 24/12/2012 at 21:33
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