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.

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29/12/2012 at 21:34

Delurks - Hi Ady 

I have always had a day off from running, sometime two, and I found it really nice not to be thinking about putting on kit, where to go or thinking about pace / effort / HR for a day or so. It also meant I was a bit keener come the next day and following week to get going again. For family reasons Saturday was always my day off.

However recently I've found that I no longer need that mental break. I give myself a day off if I feel like it, but often run 7 days per week, or replace a running day with a bike ride. That said, come Marathon day, I don't think taking 1 day off  per week rather than running a slow 5miler is really going to make much of a difference. Much better for you to consider what is going to do to suit your lifestyle, positivity and consistency throughout the whole campaign.

29/12/2012 at 21:38

BR........thanks for the comments. I'm sure the marathon 'session' was well worth it! I'm looking forward to following my training schedule and enjoying a few drinks New Year's Eve.

Several years ago I suffered with shin splints and wore a compression sock that helped with this. Since swapping trainers though (first to New Balance and now to Asics) I haven't experience this issue at all, which makes me think it was because I was wearing the wrong type of trainers.

It is interesting to read your words on rest days. I understand what you are saying. But coming from a base mileage of 30 miles per week, running 5 days, I think to completely cut out rest days might be too big a jump for now.  In the past I have tried running every day and my training suffered from this.

This could be in part because I was running most of my runs at the same intensity and not adding any variety in. It could also be because my trainers weren't the most suited to my feet (even though I'd had a gait analysis carried out) and I was having shin-splint issues and pains on the top of my feet as well.

Because this has happened before, I have kept one rest day in my schedule ever since. I'm happy that my current training plan also has this. In the future, if I stay injury free, there would be no harm in trialling less rest days out.

RRR.......Sorry to have missed you at the Coventry Park Run today. Thoroughly enjoyable experience. I can't believe I haven't contemplated doing one until now. It must really help with increasing speed by doing this regularly so you can see how you are improving. Really nice course as well. A few inclines and declines to keep you on your toes. Plenty of rain and wind to contend with as well. If I'm ever back visiting family or friends again I'll let you know and see if we can meet up. I hope Dorset was nice!

Sarah......It was only a short trip back to see family. It is tough to see loved ones deteriorate. It's sometimes hard to not let the person they've become cloud your memories of what they once were.

I wanted to try acupuncture when I was in China, but decided as my grasp of the language was not that good, it might have ended in having needles stuck in places I didn't want them sticking!

Hilly......thanks for your thoughts on rest days! It does seem the number of rest days you need is individual to each person. I did seem to pick up injuries more often when cutting down on my rest days. At presents, I'm happy with one rest day a week. This works fine with me (that's not saying for marathons in future years I won't attempt experimenting with frequency again). It also means I can take my wife out on my rest day and do something (believe it or not!) other than running. This does work out more expensive than doing an extra run though, so this could be the main reason for decreasing the rest days! 

29/12/2012 at 22:23
Ady - will b escaping Scotland tomorrow. Some idiot booked us on the 8:00am flight - he's not currently very popular.

Regarding new year, having spent the last week in a disease infested pit of splutterers and coughers I'm pretty certain I'll start 2013 in bed with the lurgie (and no, that isn't my pet name for the wife!)

Will you be having a restrained one or going for it?
30/12/2012 at 11:07

Day 12 - Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training (29/12/12)

Target: 5 miles FAST (1 mile EASY @ 8:30m/m, 3 miles FAST @ 7:30m/m, 1 mile EASY @ 8:30m/m)

Actual: Coventry Parkrun 5km in 22:14 (22:16 official) @ 7:12m/m. 0.5 mile w/up, 10min stretching w/down.

There has been a lot of discussion on this forum page about the importance of warming up and down when running a speed session. The general consensus seems to be around 2miles w/up and w/down is a solid amount. Under normal circumstances, this is what I will always try to do. Unfortunately due to time constraints today, this wasn't possible, only having time for half a mile warm/up beforehand and 10 minutes of stretching afterwards, before rushing off to make a dinner date.

This was the first Parkrun I've had the pleasure in running and certainly won't be my last. It was also the first time during my Paris marathon training where I've had the pleasure of running with company, meeting up with an old friend (thanks Mr. Green!) who, with a PB of under 20mins compared to my 21:45, promised to pace me for the race.

Considering the rain and wind, a few gradual inclines and declines, and a tarmac surface, the course was definitely capable of getting me close to my PB. I asked my friend to pace me around 7:05m/m and after losing a few seconds at the start passing some of the slower runners, I completed the first two miles in 7:08 and 7:06 respectively.

It was the 3rd mile where I struggled. It wasn't because I felt my legs couldn't keep the pace. It was because I started to feel like I needed to be sick. I started to dry heave and wretch. I've had this problem before when trying to keep a constant much-quicker time than what I normally run. This meant every time I tried to increase my speed, I felt like I wanted to be sick. If I slowed slightly, the feeling immediately went away. I completed the third mile in 7:24 and then sprinted to the finish. I suppose I shouldn't grumble with finishing 30th out of 200+ runners, especially so soon after indulging in things I shouldn't after Xmas.

Even with the howling wind and rain, this was quicker than I managed on a flat track 4 weeks earlier and is a good starter point to see how my training so far has already led to some improvements on my speed. I have no doubt that before Paris, I will easily break my 5km PB.

Due to the time constraints and not being able to fully do my w/up and w/down mileage, I will add this onto the Sunday recovery run to make sure I complete all my mileage for week 2. 

Here's my run from today:

Edited: 30/12/2012 at 11:20
30/12/2012 at 14:36

Well done on the park run, Ady. That is a good time for just after Christmas. I didn't even get out of bed in time.

I did my first one back Park Run back in May in a time of 21:09 and since then I have seen my time tumble to 18.34. I reckon that with your structured training schedule and races you'll soon see your time tumble. When it comes to Paris I think you'll easily beat your target.

30/12/2012 at 14:39

By the way have you had a talk with the nutritionist yet? Like you say on the video you run so you can eat which is what I do. Have they warned you off any foods? I kind of have a weakness for cheese and wine and know these really are the best foods (if you count wine as a food) to have in a training program.

30/12/2012 at 15:30

I will definitely have a go at my local parkrun sometime in the new year.  How did they clock the time?  Do you all get issued a chip?

Thanks for sending the stretching question, did Sam say how long to hold the stretches for?

Keep up the good work!

30/12/2012 at 17:07

Well done on the parkrun, Ady.  Whilst I haven't done the parkrun at Coventry I have watched a 5 mile race round the same park.

With reference to the sick feeling in the last mile, did you perhaps eat too soon before the start?  9am is a time that most of us are not (or at least were not pre-parkrun era) used to racing at.

Fair point about rest days, but as you say, something to consider for the future.

30/12/2012 at 17:33
Xyloid go to and find your local park run. You then register and get a barcode that works at any park run. The idea is amazing and I am amazed it took me so long to find out about them. Have increased my pace no end. Good luck!
30/12/2012 at 18:41

Cheers Stan, so do you scan your code at the start and end of the run?  Doesn't this lead to a bit of a queue to get scanned?


30/12/2012 at 19:14
They give you a ticket at the end which they scan with your barcode. No need to scan at the beginning as most parkruns are only 100-200 people strong so time over the line is neither here nor there...
30/12/2012 at 21:26

Evening all! I can't believe Week 2 is already over! On to week 3 tomorrow and excited that I have two speed sessions, plus a scheduled hangover day as well. Thanks Sam!

Keir......thanks for your comment! I completely agree with you. I'm sure I have the capability (or will have!) of cutting back on my rest days to increase my mileage in the future, that could benefit my PB times. But I enjoy having an off day, especially if I have non-running activities planned with my wife or with friends. I find that if it's a scheduled rest day and I'm doing other activities then I don't feel as guilty not doing anything (there are still some feelings of guilt!).

With the extra writing that this competition has brought, both on the forums and on Twitter (definitely not a bad thing, as alongside running and travel, writing is one of my biggest passions!), once Paris is over, it should free up more of my evenings to spend with my wife and friends, giving more chances of exercising on the days I currently don't run.

Malcs.......I hope the flight home wasn't too bad....and that whoever booked you all on the 8am flight has well and truly been forgiven now! Keep that lurgie at bay.........I haven't crossed paths with it so far this year, but it has loved and left me in a bad way many times in the past!

As for New Year being a reserved one, I actually think it might be. I have a house party I'm going to in Central London, but as I'll be out with my wife and Iwe're planning on catching a train back home afterwards I think I'll be a well-behaved one. These are normally suburban trains and don't have a toilet. My bladder is the size of a walnut and I've had to jump off the train once or twice due to this problem. As I was riding the last train, the expensive taxi ride back home didn't go down too well with my better half! I don't think it would be good for my health to repeat this again! 

It might also come as a huge shock (or possibly not!) but I'm not the best at handling my alcohol. I might try and enjoy my last day of holidays before starting work, instead of lying in bed feeling like death. Famous last words I'm sure!

Stan.........Thanks for the nice words of motivation. I might have set myself too high a target with expecting to be breaking my 5km PB this early in my training, especially with not having the best of diets over Xmas and only just starting my speed training properly. The fact that I'm so close to my PB already, should be an encouraging sign. Hopefully I'll follow you in seeing my time tumble as well.

I haven't spoken to the nutritionist yet. I'm not sure when this will happen. Hopefully early in the New Year or at our next training camp together, which is at the end of January. Maybe then I'll be warned off some of the foods I eat. I don't know if I'll be cutting out wine and cheese completely from my diet, but I'll certainly be cutting these down to a minimum, along with cutting out processed food and anything that comes in a pastry! To be honest (apart from the one pork pie that accidentally found its way on to my plate Xmas Day!), cutting out some of the bad foods has been easier than I expected. Even replacing sugary deserts with Greek yogurt has been shockingly simple. I thought I'd be craving the sugar rush but I havent!

If I am warned away from any foods, I'll let you know! 

30/12/2012 at 21:27


Xyloid.......I think you should definitely give your local Parkrun a try. It's such an excellent event and I'm disappointed it's taken this long before running my first one.  For me, it'll be a very good way to see how well my speed training is working. Plus it's far enough away from my home, that I can also run extra miles on top if that's needed.

As Stan has said, you sign up at and take a long your own barcode that you print off. When you finish, you are given a barcode for your position and then you have them both scanned by volunteers. As volunteering is rewarded with points that go to your final yearly standings, it seems that volunteering is promoted just as much as the actual running. I believe the finish is recorded on a laptop, along with time so they can match your barcode with the time you finished in. As people are still finishing/ or have finished, I didn't have a problem with queuing at the end.

I wasn't given a time to hold each stretch. When I do stretch, I normally hold each stretch to a count of ten (roughly ten seconds!).

BR........I wish it was eating too soon before the start. I only ate an apple about 90 mins before the race started, so I don't think this was a factor. Maybe it was because I'm not used to running at such speed for so long, and need more training.......but my legs didn't feel like they were struggling. 

30/12/2012 at 21:52

Day 14 - Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training (30/12/12)

Target: 3 miles (Jog) - 9:30-10.15m/m

Actual: 5.01 @ 9:11m/m including 3.5 mile jog @ 9:30m/m and 1.5 mile @ 8:30m/m (extra from w/up & w/down that I didn't do on Saturday)

I might have struggled understanding the importance of recovery runs in the past, or even keeping to the correct pacing. But today I really enjoyed the fact that I didn't have to run at speed and could just enjoy a slow jog.

Due to my time constraints the previous day and not having time to fully do my w/up and w/down mileage, I added this into my run today. So instead of just doing 3 miles at 9.30m/m pace, after 2 miles, I then did 1.5 miles at 8:30m/m pace, before doing another 1.5 miles at 9:30m/m pace.

Mathematics was once my strongest subject at school, but today I failed, accidentally adding an extra 0.5 miles onto my jog. This wasn't planned. For some reason I thought I was doing 2 miles extra to compensate for yesterday's run, instead of the 1.5 miles I actually needed to do to complete my mileage for the week as per my training schedule.

I'm glad today was just a recovery jog, as for the first time since starting my training, I actually felt stiff and my legs ached a little. I still felt I could run consistently at a faster pace, but I would have had to put more effort in to achieving this than normal.

Here's my run from today:

30/12/2012 at 22:21

Week 2 Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training Round-up (W/ Ending 30/12/12):

Monday: Target: 4 miles @ 8:30m/m. Actual: 4.01 @ 8:28 m/m
Tuesday: Target: 6 mile Build-Up starting at 8:30m/m:

(1st mile @ 8:30m/m. 2nd mile @ 8:20m/m. 3rd mile @ 8:10m/m. 4th mile @ 8:00m/m. 5th mile @ 7:50m/m. 6th mile @ 7:40m/m)

Actual: 6.07 miles averaging 7:57m/m

(1st mile @ 8:22m/m. 2nd mile @ 8:17m/m. 3rd mile @ 8:05m/m. 4th mile @ 7:53. 5th mile @ 7:42. 6th mile @ 7:25

Wednesday: Target: Rest/Cross-Training. Actual: 19 miles on exercise bike on hilly program in 1hr 1min
Thursday: Target: 3 x 1 mile at 7.20-7.30 pace with 2.5 minute recovery plus 1 mile w-up/c-down (5 miles). Actual: 12.61 miles off-road in 1hr 50mins @ 8:47m/m

(Swapped Saturdays long run to Thursday, due to Xmas time constraints)
Friday: Target: Rest Actual: Rest
Saturday: Target 100-110 mins off-road. Comfortable pace, but slower than on road due to terrain. Actual: Coventry Parkrun 5km in 22:14 (22:16 official) @ 7:12m/m. 0.5 mile w/up, 10min stretching w/down.
 Target: 3miles @ 9:30m/m. Actual: 5.01 @ 9:11m/m including 3.5 mile jog @ 9:30m/m and 1.5 mile @ 8:30m/m (extra from w/up & w/down that I didn't do on Saturday)

MILEAGE: Target: 29m Actual: 31.29m

Very happy with how my 2nd week of marathon training has gone. I've managed to hit all my pacing and weekly mileage targets. I was slightly disappointed with my Parkrun 5km time, but the splits were still faster than what my training session required. I think my mileage was slightly higher than planned, due to running more miles during my long off-road run on Thursday.

All my runs have been comfortable, apart from feeling sick during the last mile of my Parkrun, and having a few aches on today's recovery jog. The mileage is still similar to my normal weekly routine so this hasn't posed a problem so far.

Bring on Week 3! 

Edited: 30/12/2012 at 22:22
30/12/2012 at 22:31

Week 3 Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Plan:

(As posted by Sam in an earlier thread)

Week 3 w/c 31st December
Monday 5 miles FAST (Suggest structuring this as 1 mile easy, 3 miles FAST, 1 mile easy)
Wednesday 5 Mile COMFORTABLE
Thursday Intervals: 1.5 MILE COMFORTABLE then 3 x acceleration strides then 8 x 400m (or 90 seconds) at 6.20-6.40 pace with 2 min jogs in between each. 1.5 MILE COMFORTABLE (4 MILES)
Friday REST or non impact cross training
Sunday 3 MILE JOG

Very happy to see two speed sessions this week, as this is the area I feel I need to improve on most. Monday's sessions was done on Saturday at the Coventry Parkrun. Therefore this will be replaced with last Thursday's session, which is:

3 x 1 mile at 7.20-7.30 pace with 2.5 minute recovery plus 1 mile w-up/c-down (5 miles)

Where time allows, and as per a previous post from Sam, I will increase my w/up and c/down from 1 mile to 2 miles.

31/12/2012 at 06:59

Ady -  Well done on the Parkrun, I've done my first 2 recently and enjoyed them even though the conditions were very wet and windy. Hard work but worth it. Good to see your training going well.  My VLM training plan starts today.

31/12/2012 at 09:45

Well done on your runs- liked the long oiff road on Garmin- certainly splits are consistent. Think with that level at this satge you are well on target for April

Have a great New Year, and will see what you've been up to when I get back from a weeks holiday

31/12/2012 at 11:06

Week 2 Weight Loss Watch!

Starting Weight: 162.8lbs (Target Weight: 148lbs)

Weight After Week 1: 162.2lbs (-0.6lbs)

Weight After Week 2: 161.9lbs (-0.3lbs)

Total Loss: 0.9lbs

To say I'm shocked by the weigh-in in week 2 is a slight understatement. I know my weekly mileage increased, but so did my levels of over-indulgence over Christmas week.

There was no way I was going to diet over Christmas. That would take away one of the greatest parts of Christmas tradition: eating certain foods in larger quantities than normal, without any feelings of guilt! I'm not talking about brussel sprouts here either!

Saying this though, I did make a concerted effort to not over-indulge by stupid amounts. When I did have food types on my plate that normally I wouldn't eat so freely, I would first eat healthier vegetables and salad to help fill me up more before starting on the good stuff!

So while I may have eaten my fair share of salads, fruit and vegetables, I have also enjoyed wine, port, whiskey, pork pies, sausage rolls, bacon baps, chocolate, biscuits, yule log, more chocolate, more pies, more wine and enough cheese to keep a small dairy farm in business for the next year.

I was expecting to come in a couple of pounds over what my first weigh in was and would have been happy with this considering all this unhealthy food. The fact I have actually lost weight from the previous week makes me think that either I have over-estimated the extra food I've eaten (doubtful when looking at all the rubbish I've accumulated), or my metabolism is kicking in to gear from my weekly mileage and cross-training activities.

When I cut most of these out come January 1st, I'm fairly confident my New Year's resolution of getting down to 148lbs before the start of the Paris Marathon is a realistic goal. Now all I have to do is concentrate on my training to get as close to 3:30 as I possibly can as well!

Happy New Year to you all!

31/12/2012 at 11:56

Not much weight loss this end - BR ate 1.5, I ate half and a friend had the other  New Year starts tomorrow - had last fish and chips til after the marathon, last big pudding and tonight well...

Edited: 31/12/2012 at 11:56
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