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.

301 to 320 of 1,530 messages
03/01/2013 at 21:22

Hi Ruth,

You could just be my knight in shining armour. If I was ever in need of nutritional information, it's probably now.

I do think my cramps I experienced during my Parkrun were a result of the intensity I was running at (well, an intensity higher than what my body has been accustomed to!). I hope that by doing more sessions at these speeds, these symptoms will start to disappear.

When you talk about training low in carbs, what sessions would you recommend trying this in? Is there a mileage or time limit you would recommend in trying this under. For example, I ran 'on empty' on my long run in week 1, and would like to try it again on another long run. Do you think trying it on a 14 or 15 mile run is too much?

I'm not sure you have dealt with an 'athlete' who has a diet like me before! Up until the start of this training, I would run so I could eat whatever I wanted to. Running was a means to over-indulge in things I shouldn't and not have the normal feelings of guilt. Saying this though, in recent months, my muffin-top has expanded to just shy of disgraceful proportions. This was really brought home to me during the photo shoot at the Asics store where I tried on lycra for the first time. Honestly, if I had to where lycra every day, I'd still be a virgin and still waiting to hold a girl's hand!

Since training has started though, I have cut out all processed food (apart from the odd pork pie had around Xmas and the 12 cocktail sausage rolls devoured on New Year's Eve - that's what happens when you choose to sit next to the buffet table!). I have cut out crisps and other unhealthy snacks. I am also planning on cutting almost completely down on alcohol consumption as well. I will still enjoy the odd drink here or there, but much more rarely compared to recent weeks.

Alongside this, I am also cutting down on my bread consumption and desserts (which formed the basis of every lunch and the ending of every dinner) and trying to increase the amount of times I eat during the day, while cutting down on the quantity as well.

Today I'm hoping will be the average day of eating for the duration of my training. Please feel free to offer brutally honest advice if you see any problems or issues that can be improved!

Here it is............................

03/01/2013 at 21:22


6:45am. Breakfast - Fruit and Fibre cereal w/ semi-skimmed milk (the same breakfast every day!)

9:30am. Cup of tea - first drink of the day as I'm normally overwhelmed with meetings once I arrive at work, and never get up early enough to fit one in before I leave for work.

10:45am. Banana & water

11:45pm. Training session run.

1:15pm: Lunch - Salad (spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, radish w/ homemade honey-mustard dressing) and smoked salmon. Copious amounts of water.

2.30pm. Orange & cup of tea (s/ skimmed milk, no sugar)

4.00pm. Apple & water

7:30pm. Dinner - Pasta and Chicken (Jamie Oliver's finest recipe?) - wholemeal pasta, carrot, courgette, red onion & leek, tomato sauce, herbs, spices, bacon and chicken breast - supposedly 620 calories. More water.

8:30pm. More tea

9:30pm. Glass of milk (or chocolate milk if I feel I've had a good workout!).

Looking forward to seeing what you think of my eating habits and any way I can improve! 

03/01/2013 at 21:31

Your diet today looks really healthy

Hows your training going? What distance are you up to on your long run now?

03/01/2013 at 21:41

Catching up with your thread, you look like you have had some good runs, a great park run and weight loss......(over christmas ), well done.

Well if our paths cross and you want to try acupuncture, im always looking for victims!

Edited: 03/01/2013 at 21:41
03/01/2013 at 21:55

Hey Barry........Christmas must well and truly be over as I've been so use to seeing Baubles in your name the past few weeks!

It sounds like a solid plan you're following. I don't know how I've managed to run for so long up until this point with so little variety. It's brought a whole new interest to running for me as I have new motivation and enthusiasm knowing that every day is different.

It'll be interesting to see how different it would feel to do the LSR's on tired legs after a Parkrun. I've seen this recommended in Ultra training plans, but not really thought about it for marathons before.

BR.......thanks for the encouragement. It's very nice to see that my plan is being adapted and changed depending on my feedback and the performances I'm putting in. It makes me more focused on hitting my goals each time, knowing that good performances will bring about a more tailored schedule. I'm realising quite quickly some of the benefits of having a coach!

I'm already feeling a difference in my leg muscle, just from the last two and half weeks of training, so I hope to continue making improvements. Even though my target at present has been re-adjusted to 3:36, I still have my heart set on sub 3:30 and will be trying my hardest to get this.

Hilly....thanks also for the encouragement. If I manage my goal of a sub 3:30, I've already decided that I'll be treating myself to 2 of those ice-cream sundaes in the photo you posted!

I'm not complaining about the 'additional' mileage.  I think it felt more of a session being 6.5 miles and allowed for a better w/up and c/down as well. I realised beforehand that it was going to end up being more than 4 miles and  decided there would be no positives from attempting to cut it down. 

Sarah....Lovely to hear from you. I've been meaning to catch up reading your forum page as well to see how your training is going, but I've struggled to keep up to speed with other people's training and keep up to date with this forum page as well.

My training is going remarkably well so far. I'm actually surprised by how well I seem to be dealing with it so far. I'm hoping the diet will give my training a whole new dimension and cut down on the dead-weight I'm pounding the streets with at the moment. 

I will do 14 miles this coming weekend (10 @ 8:30m/m and 4 @ 8:00m/m). What are you doing at the moment (I'll check you forum page over this weekend to find out more about your schedule).

I'll happily give acupuncture a go if our paths do cross. I'm sure we will be running in the same race at some point in the future. Good luck with your training, and sorry again I haven't had the chance to catch up with what you've been doing.

03/01/2013 at 23:07
Hi, I've been reading your posts with interest as I'm hoping to pb with a sub 3:30 marathon at London this year. My best is 3:36 in 2011 at the Boston Marathon, which I read you've also done (cool race isn't it?), but i've been parked on 3:45ish time since. I'm coming to training a stone over my optimum running weight and with annoying shin splints which I've hardly ever had in 8 years of running. I'll be reading your posts and hoping you stay on track. I'm impressed with your food diary above...I'm trying to cut down on junk, but can't eliminate it entirely. Good luck with your training. I hope we both get our sub 3:30 times!
04/01/2013 at 12:47

Hey Nattynatster..........thanks for the message. It sounds as though we are very similar in our goals and current position.

Boston was amazing. I'd love to go there as an actual 'quaifier' though, rather than through a Sports Tour. Maybe that can be my next goal after Paris! It's interesting we both have our fastest times here, as it's not the easiest of courses. How did you find Heartbreak Hill? I didn't think it was that bad considering all you read about it. It did slow me down though.

I'm also hoping to lose a stoe or so before Paris. Now that the Xmas leftovers have gone, it should be much easier to drop weight now.

It's strange that you have shin splints now and not before. Whereabouts on your shin is the pain? I had them a few years ago, back in 2007 or 2008. I think it was the trainers I was wearing that didn't help with it. I haven't really suffered from this since changing my trainers. When I did have it though, I wore a compression sleeve, which helped with the pain and allowed me to continue running. I had the pain on the inside of my right shin about halfway up. I have been told since that such a pain can develop into a stress fracture.

There's no way that I'll elminiate junk and alcohol completely either, but if I can do it for 5 days a week out of the 7, I'll be happy and then anything over that will be a bonus. You've got to have some treats to reward yourself!

Good luck in your goals. It'll be nice to hear how you get on.Are you following a specific training plan for London?

04/01/2013 at 21:05

Hi Ady, dont worry about it....I really do understand, its so hard to keep a thread going and go on others peoples threads

Sounds like you have a good training run planned this weekend. I did 15 miles today I did the first 5 at 8:49, the next 9 at 8:41 and then the last one at 8:33. I was supposed to be aiming for 8:50-9:40 but the paces I actually did where just over 1 MPH slower than my usual pace for my LSR so it still felt very steady. My legs felt great throughout all of the run and still do.....Im starting to think people have a point with slowing down a little. I like the idea that you are going to do some miles at MP in your LSR....I might suggest this for next week!

I will carry some needles around with me to races, just incase

05/01/2013 at 10:30

Day 19 - Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training (04/01/13)

Target: Rest Day or Cross-Training

Actual: Cross-Training - 13.5 miles on Exercise Bike on Hill Repeats in 45 mins

My legs were feeling much tighter than I expected after yesterday's 400m reps, so with my long run coming up on Saturday, I decided to take it a little easier on the exercise bike than I have in the past two weeks.

I was planning on cycling for an hour, but a combination of having to meet friends later in the evening, being late home from work and someone changing the language on the cycle machine to Spanish, meant I only had time for 45 mins by the time I started.

I really enjoy this cross-training day each week. I use this session to catch up on any TV I have missed. Today I had the pleasure of watching BBC's new 'Africa' wildlife show while cycling, having lost the battle of the house remote control the previous evening to my wife (a battle I all too often lose!).

Watching the most epic giraffe fight ever filmed not only made the 45 mins pass in a flash, but took me back to the time I lived in Kenya, home of some of the best runners on this planet. Sadly I didn't pick up any useful running techniques while there. All I managed to do was make every single child in the village where I was working cry and scream in fear. I was one of the first white people most villagers had ever seen, and as a way of making their children behave they would tell them, "If you're bad, the white man will come and eat your brains." Not too dissimilar to being told a as youngster that the boogie man would come and get me if I too misbehaved.

Obviously the first few times the children saw me, they thought I was hiding a spoon behind my back, ready to eat their brains out. You could tell what part of the village I was in from miles around, thanks to these screams and crying. It didn't take long though for the children to realise I wasn't a cannibal and parents frantically thought of alternative remedies to keep their children's behaviour in line!

05/01/2013 at 10:42

Calorie Watch 2013! Food & Drink Diary - Friday 4th January 2013

If every day could be like this, there would be no chance of failing to hit my target weight before Paris. My will power is stronger than I realised it would be. As well as shunning a fellow colleague's birthday cake at work, I also spent the whole evening in a public drinking establishment and drank only diet coke. Not a single sip of beer past my lips. I'm interested to see if I can still manage this in a few weeks, when the memories of mixing drinks on New Year's Eve has faded away!

6:45am. Breakfast - Fruit and Fibre cereal w/ semi-skimmed milk (the same breakfast every day!)

9:00am. Cup of tea - first drink of the day as I'm normally overwhelmed with meetings once I arrive at work, and never get up early enough to fit one in before I leave for work.

10:45am. 500ml bottle of water and cup of tea

12:00pm: Lunch - Pasta and Chicken leftovers from the previous evening - wholemeal pasta, carrot, courgette, red onion & leek, tomato sauce, herbs, spices, bacon and chicken breast - supposedly 620 calories (less because I ate more than half of the two portions yesterday!). More water.

2:00pm. Orange & cup of tea (s/ skimmed milk, no sugar, one Splenda). More water!

5:00pm. Training Session. 45 mins on Exercise Bike, covering 13.5miles.

6:15pm. Dinner - 1 slice of toast (ok, so I haven't managed to cut bread out of my diet completely yet!), beans and two eggs. More water

8:00-1:00am. 4 pints of diet coke!

1:30am - 1 pint of water before retiring for the night.

05/01/2013 at 16:12

The Africa programme was amazing wasnt it? I really enjoyed watching it...brought back some of my memories of going to Kenya last year, although I didnt get to spot a rhino (maybe we should have gone on the night drive like I wanted to) or fighting garaffes. So glad I didnt come across any of those crickets though...they were awful!

4 pints of diet coke???? thats loads, do you normally drink that much? I always find fizzy pop especially diet coke increases my appetite and makes me feel dehydrated...and its bad for your teeth (my mum was a dental nurse so it was banned at our house) !

05/01/2013 at 19:34

Day 20 - Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training (05/01/13)

Target: 14 miles - 10 comfortable @ 8:30-9:20m/m, 4 steady @ 8:00-8:30m/m

Actual: 14.02 miles in 1:56:23 - 10 comfortable @ 8:26m/m, 4 steady @ 7:59m/m

Mile Splits: 1st: 8:23. 2nd: 8:27. 3rd: 8:20. 4th: 8:27. 5th: 8:23. 6th: 8:29. 7th: 8:25. 8th: 8:30. 9th: 8:26. 10th: 8:30. 11th: 7:58. 12th: 7:53. 13th: 8:07. 14th: 7:58

I woke up feeling really dehydrated this morning. I was happy with myself for not drinking any alcohol while out last night, but I might have to re-evaluate my tactic of replacing beer with diet coke. The late arrival home the previous evening also meant a later than normal start to my run today.

I used my tried and tested route from Woking to Staines along the A320. It's not the most scenic of routes, but it does have a nice variety of gradient and alongside nice flat parts, also has some tasty climbs and descents. I don't actually use many routes when running. I always thought I was in the minority, being happy running the same courses every week, but I read in the latest Runnersworld that Amby Burfoot does the same. If it's good enough for him, then it's certainly good enough for me!

I don't normally run with music, but decided as I'd received a few new albums for Christmas, this would be as good a time as any to listen to them. I'm very against using music in races, as not only do I find myself less aware of fellow runners, it stops me soaking in the atmosphere and sights that I'm passing. But during training, I do like the opportunity to muffle out vehicle noise from time to time.

It was nice to be running in the dry, and the first 7 miles were very comfortable. I struggled to keep my pace from creeping up towards 8m/m, rather 8:30m/m. After halfway though, I found it much harder. I think this was a combination of a late night previously, feeling slightly dehydrated before running and most importantly, I think this week's speed session exertions were finally catching up with me. The lack of a rest day the day before my long run (which is normally planned in my schedule, but was changed this week to account for a New Year's Day hangover!), more uphill than downhill, and the fact I've been cutting back on my daily carb-loading activities could also have played a role.

My session targets were still successfully achieved. Only 1 mile (mile 13) was over the lowest speed I was asked to run at, and this was mainly because of the continuing uphill gradient. My half-marathon time during my run was 1hr 49mins 10secs, which is one of the fastest training half marathons I remember running. Overall I'm extremely happy with how this run went. As my last marathon, the Athens Marathon was only 2 months ago, I still feel that I have stamina in my legs from this, which has helped with my long run performances.

Here's my run from today: 

05/01/2013 at 19:49

Hey Sarah...............Excellent work on your 15 mile run. That was really good pacing, especially with what pace you were aiming for. Glad your legs felt great throughout. My legs felt heavy towards the end of my long run today. I didn't have a rest day yesterday and missed it. I definitely prefer having a rest day the day before my long run.

I enjoyed doing the last 4 miles at MP in my LSR today. It was good to try picking up the pace and trying to run at a faster pace when my body had become use to running at a slower speed. Before I started this training, I'd always do this the opposite way around. I'd start off too fast, then gradually get slower mile by mile. It's nice to be doing it a more productive way now!

I loved the Africa programme. I have a soft spot for any program relating to travel or Africa, so this was right up my street. That's annoying that you didn't get to see any rhino's. I only got to see them from extremely far away. They were so small they could have easily been people dressed in a rhino costume, or cardboard cut outs! I did almost get trampled to death by a hippo, but that's another story. Serves me right for choosing such a poor place to pitch my tent!

I feel almost ashamed now for drinking 4 pints of diet coke. I promise I won't do it again. I don't normally drink any fizzy drinks. Only extremely rarely. The reason I was drinking it last night was because I wanted something that was low in calories that could replace the real ale I'd normally be drinking. I didn't consider it would make me as dehydrated as it did. I also found it hard to slow down my drinking speed to what I would normally drink at, which is why I had 4 pints of the black stuff. I think I'll have to revert back to the drawing board and maybe throw a few pints of water in there.

I don't expect to give up alcohol completely, but after drinking a fair bit of Xmas and New Year, I want to cut right back for a few weeks. I don't think it would have been a good idea to enjoy a pint or two before my LSR either. I've made that mistake before in the past!

Hope you've had a good weekend. Just a 3 mile jog tomorrow, so I can rest and relax this evening. Well done on your training so far. 

06/01/2013 at 09:56

Calorie Watch 2013! Food & Drink Diary - Saturday 5th January 2013

Another healthy-ish day. I've decided that if there's any day I'll enjoy foods and drink I normally wouldn't, it'll be Saturday after my long run. This Saturday's long run saw me lose 1836 calories (according to my trusted Garmin!). Normally I would see this as an extra 1836 calories I would eat that day. I'd then enjoy unhealthy, calorie-ladened takeaways, crisps, deserts and alcohol guilt-free.

Of course, this isn't the best mentality to use if wanting to lose any weight. I'm trying to change this mentality of thinking calories burned are extra calories in the bank for eating or drinking things I shouldn't. 

9:30am. Breakfast - Fruit and Fibre cereal w/ semi-skimmed milk. I added extra raisins, dates, apricots and chia seeds (as used by the running legends that are the Tarahumara) to the cereal. Cup of tea.

11:00am. 2 pints of water

12:15pm. Running session - 14 miles (see above for full details) w/ 250ml of water and Hi5 Isotonic tablet.

2:30pm. Glass of chocolate milk. 1 sachet of SIS Rego Recovery Drink.

3:00pm. Late lunch - Spicy parsnip and apple soup. Cup of tea. Water.

5:00pm. Handful of pistachio nuts, a few leftover Jacobs cream crackers (minus the cheese) from Christmas.

6:30pm. Dinner - 1/2 10" peperroni pizza, 1/2 10" mushroom, cheese and olive pizza. (Looking at calories, both these halves together worked out to be 700 calories).

7:30-10:30pm - regular cups of tea and water.

Not a single desert in sight. Also the first time that I've refrained from alcohol on a Saturday night in a long, long time!

06/01/2013 at 10:17

Ady -  Good effort on your long run, especially after your late night.  Impressive diet, you'll be running forever with those chia seeds.  I usually just have chocolate milk after my long runs, it has everything you need for recovery and a bit cheaper than the branded recovery drinks.  14 miles for me this morning 7 miles out and back with the back 7 quicker than the first. The more you go without alcohol the easier it gets, but I treat myself to the odd pint of guiness after a race or a long run.

06/01/2013 at 10:33
Ady- well done on your training and diet. The determination and commitment are definitely there. I'm a bit surprised they you say you burnt over 1800 calories on a 14m run. I thought its around 100 calories/m. I understand it will depend on your weight but still think 1800 is a bit optimistic. I mighy be wrong however, wonder what Ruth would think.
I'm with Barry on recovery drinks. You need to be careful with them if you're trying to lose weight, they're full of calories. I wouldn't personally have one unless I've done 20+ miles. A glass of chocolate milk and a proper meal should normally suffice. I think we all tend to underestimate how many calories we put in and overestimate what we burn!
06/01/2013 at 12:45

Would you guys have a chocolate milk after every run, or is it only needed after a certain distance/effort?


06/01/2013 at 13:21

Xyloid -  Every run apart from short recovery runs.

Edited: 06/01/2013 at 13:22
06/01/2013 at 15:49

After every hard run here - 15 miles plus or effort sessions.

If you're worried about weight, try the Slimfast ones.  They do the job just as well in my experience.

06/01/2013 at 17:47

Oh Ady.... you need to try curly Kale crisps.....I have just very sceptically made a batch...they are amazing......taste scrummy.....healthy, low calories and very snackable!!!!.....

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