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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07/01/2013 at 21:33

Day 22 - Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training (07/01/13)

Target: Rest Day

Actual: Rest Day

Like 99% of every other employed 9-5 Monday - Friday employees, I woke this morning, tired, grumpy and running late for work. I'm always too lazy to get everything ready for work the night before, so it was very lucky today was my rest day. Otherwise I'd have spent an extra 10 minutes finding my running gear, missing my train in the process.

Monday is a good day to have my rest day. It means I now I have three days of hard sessions, stressful work and healthy eating, before relaxing a little come my next rest day on Friday. Then it's the weekend again! If only every week could seem to pass so quickly! 

I was going to do a yoga workout tonight, but as I had some aches in my knee yesterday on my recovery jog, I think a full day of rest is the best option. 

07/01/2013 at 21:42

Hey Brolish........I stand slightly corrected. Lance used approximately 1 every 12 minutes during his sub 3 hour New York Marathon. I think this works out to be 15 or 16, which seems very excessive indeed. I suppose I wouldn't complain about taking so many if I could run as fast!

In the past I've average 3 or 4, but decided on using Hi5 gels, which are far runnier than other gels I've used. When I've used these, I've used 6 per marathon, starting off taking them around the 1 hr 20 mark and then taking one every 25 minutes or so. This has definitely helped in postponing the wall hitting. The last race I did, I only started to suffer in the last two miles or so.

07/01/2013 at 21:59
Lol I have no idea how you can stomach 16 gels!!! That's quite an accomplishment in itself. I'm guessing he wasn't carrying them with him?
07/01/2013 at 22:08

Calorie Watch 2013! Food & Drink Diary - Monday 7th January 2013

http://s4.runnersworld.co.uk/members/images/403074/gallery/rw_asics_spring2013_01.jpg?width=350

I'm extremely happy in the latest Runnersworld photo I was allowed to change out of the lycra and put on something a little more comfortable. It leaves a little more to the imagination!

Some of my work colleagues who had travelled home overseas for Christmas had returned today, bringing an array of sugary goods with them, that I just couldn't resist sampling. I love travel and I love new foods, and as all of these sweets were foreign and new, the more exotic part of me just had to try them!

6:50am: Breakfast - Fruite and Fibre cereal w/ semi-skimmed milk.

9:30am: Tea & 500ml bottle of water.

12:00pm: Lunch - Salad - Lettuce, boiled egg, tuna, olives, radish, cucumber, lettuce

2:00pm: Peanut brittle. Tea & 500ml bottle of water

7:00pm: A little bit of leftover blue cheese and crackers.

8:00pm: Dinner: Chilli with extra kidney beans and sweetcorn. No rice. 1 litre of blackcurrant squash.

9:00pm: Peanut nougat. Green tea.

Back to day without sweets tomorrow!

07/01/2013 at 22:51

Evening Ady!

Onto Training Week 4!! Eeek! Where has the time gone?! I like the pic of us all at the store! We weren't listening to Steve's stories in this pic!

08/01/2013 at 13:10

1 gel every 12 minutes sounds like a recipe for portaloo queuing to me 

Typically, we need between 25-60g of carbohydrate per hour (depending on indivdiual differences but particuarly body weight and composition) - that would generally be covered by 1 to 2 gels per hour.

Ady, I'd probably take the first gel after about 45 minutes in the marathon - but there's no rule. It's best to decide on a strategy, try it out and adjust as necessary over the coming weeks. 

In terms of the non-fuelled long runs - to get the benefit in terms of improving fat utilisation and glycogen sparing, the run would need to be at least 90 mins. I'd probably stick to the easier-paced long runs rather than the 'quality ones'. Just got a touch of deja vu there.... did I already write this earlier?! 

My brain is struggling to get back to work I think. I had a terrible dream last night that I became a smoker. I was still 'me' - running, coaching, writing and presenting on fitness but I kept having to go off for sneaky fags! Humiliating. Was so relieved to wake up and find it wasn't true...

08/01/2013 at 16:42

Sam - it reminds me of that scene from Superman III where good Superman has a fight with evil Superman in the wrecking yard. You just need to have a dream where good Sam takes on smokin' Sam and dumps her into the car crusher. Easy 

Ady - well done, you seem to be going extremely well. Keep it up dood.

The cramp discussion was interesting. I've had them at the end of all my spring marathons (as well as a bit of nausea thrown in). I thought it was salts and fluids but reading around I'm not so sure now. If it's conditioning for running in that type of weather (warm and sunny) then how do you do that when most training is in the winter months.   I can run 20 miles on barely any water in January because I hardly sweat in low temperatures. In London in April it's pouring out of me. How can you train for that?  

Edited: 08/01/2013 at 16:42
08/01/2013 at 19:13
Shady - we have to assume Lance's gels were loaded with E's and whizz

Looks like you're well on schedule. Keep up the good work and you'll be proudly wearing Lycra on a daily basis!
08/01/2013 at 21:09

Day 23 - Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training (08/01/13)

Target: 5 x 1 miles at 7.20-7.30 pace with 2.5 minute recovery plus 2 mile w-up/plus short c-down (8 miles)

Actual: 2 mile w/up, 5 x 1 miles at 7.20-7.30 (ish!) with 2.5 minute recovery (again, ish!), plus 1 mile c/down. Total mileage: 9.26 miles

5x1 mile splits: 1st mile @ 7:05. 2nd mile @ 7:13. 3rd mile @ 6:56. 4th mile @ 7:11. 5th mile @ 7:03

I'm prone to schoolboy errors, and today's gaff took the icing off what would have possibly been my best performance to date.

Reading instructions isn't my strongest skill. I haven't learnt (slap wrist time!) how to properly use my Garmin Forerunner 210 and I realised this mistake once setting off on my first mile rep. I noticed I hadn't set my watch to reset time and distance every time the lap button is pressed. Because of this rookie blunder it meant I failed to read both my time and distance at the end of every rep.

This meant I either didn't know what mileage I started the lap on (and therefore running slightly more or less than what was needed) or I was focusing on distance and not watching the time (which meant longer recoveries than what was asked for).

My 5 mile reps were actually 1.04, 1.00. 0.94, 1.06, 1.01 and my recovery between runs (which should have been 2.5 minutes) were 3:13, 2:20, 3:59, 1:44 , which for someone who is a stickler for following instructions to a tee,  is a little on the amateur side.  It just makes me wonder if the reason I found this session easier than what I should have done was because I was taking longer breaks for some of the reps.

I'm also disappointed that I didn't keep up a better pace during my recovery runs. I think I really should be keeping up a speed of 9:00-9:30 a mile at least, and I don't really have any excuse for this, as the stretch of pavement I chose didn't have any  interruptions at all.

There were positives and maybe should focus more on these than the negatives! The mile reps I found extremely comfortable and I was able to keep up a speed of close to 7:00m/m without feeling like I was struggling, which was under my target time. I wasn't out of breath at the end of each one and I felt I was in control of my pace and could have gone faster. I think it has helped doing my 400m reps at close to 6:00m/m last week, which has made me see I have speed I didn't realise I had before.  If running these 5 one mile reps at close to 7:00m/m was comfortable, it only fills me with the belief I should be able to maintain this pace, or even faster for my Parkrun on Saturday. I should at the very least go sub 22:00 mins for this 5km.

The only place I know close enough to work to run my mile reps uninterrupted by roads is a mile away. This is why I have ran further than what I was asked for (sorry Sam!). I decided it would be better to do my last mile rep on a clear stretch of pavement (and therefore run further) than be stop-starting several times while crossing roads (and having a sub-standard last rep).

Overall, a good confidence booster for Saturdays 5km Parkrun, but there is still room for improvement! 

Here's today's run:

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/259754252

08/01/2013 at 21:23

Ady  -  Can you not set up the 210 for intervals? I've got a 405 which when set up beeps at you when to start and stop the repeats/intervals.  Look at the plus side though your mile(ish) splits were quick. 9 miles including 3 x 2 miles with 3 min recovery for me this morning, was n't looking foward to them as it was running home after a night shift but they went OK.

Sam - Good luck with your virtual quiting smoking.

Edited: 08/01/2013 at 21:24
08/01/2013 at 21:33

Sam....I'm getting deja vu as well. I think this has been said earlier. I'm too lazy though to look through all the pages to see where! I've only had the pleasure of using a portaloo once during a race, and that's enough. Just a few minutes of not running and by the time I started again, I was stiff as a stick. Actually, that might not be the best terminology to use - my muscles were already tightening up and it was really difficult to get going again.

I hope the dream didn't make you crave a cigarette. I was very lucky growing up as all my friends were non-smokers and I never had the peer-pressures to try it. I did try a cigarette or two of my own accord later in life, but only to see what all the fuss is about. I had a drag on each and that was me done. Luckily it's not something that has ever appealed!

Do you have any good stretches for the IT Band at all? While my knee didn't give me any problems on today's run, I could feel it a little bit when I finished. It wasn't painful. There wasn't discomfort. Just a tiny tingling sensation, that died down by the time I was back in the office. I can feel it on the inside of my knee along the side of it. It doesn't feel like it is in a specific spot either?

I was also wondering if it was possible to swap my 5 mile comfortable run on Thursday with my 4 mile jog tomorrow? I have a meeting Thursday lunch time, so will be able to do a 4 mile jog more easily than 5 miles comfortable after work Thursday evening? 

Edited: 08/01/2013 at 21:46
08/01/2013 at 22:02

RRR........Your post made me chuckle.......I had forgotten we were all supposed to be laughing at Steve's anecdotes. I'm sure they're saving those pictures for the magazine! I'm happy that my individual photo looks ok to. Normally I have a tendency to stick my head in like a turtle when I'm having my photo taken, which just makes me look like I have five double chins! Good luck with week 4!

Brolish...... I don't think Lance was carrying them himself. That would be one heavy gel pack if he was. He was probably like P Diddy and had an entourage of people running with him! I'm definitely not going to follow the Lance Armstrong marathon training plan!

Malcs......thanks for the positive words. So far so good. Keeping my fingers firmly crossed every day! I hope your lurgy is now been kicked in to touch and you can get back running properly. What races have you got planned for this year apart from TR24?

I actually ran my training session today without any water. I think it's the longest I've ran without drinking while running. I didn't feel I missed it either. It could be because I was well hydrated beforehand, as it wasn't that cold. Although people on here have said they run much further without taking on fluids, I'm not sure I'd like to try this tactic myself.

Fraser........We can certainly assume! As the great Jarvis Cocker said himself! Thanks for the nice words. It'll be a dream come true to be wearing that Lycra on the start line!

Barry........I can indeed confirm that the 210 does have an excellent interval set up, and it was only my lack of reading the instructions that stopped me from figuring it out. I had a play with it tonight so I should be all set with next interval session! That seems a good session you had. Do you find it difficult to go on a run straight after a night shift? I always struggle to run after work due to a lack of motivation, that's why I try and get them done at lunch.

A.W
08/01/2013 at 22:05

Hi Ady, hope your getting on ok?

Good work on your reps today, I like doing mile reps! I had 800's today and had a hard time getting my legs going today!

I'm sure others will have good suggestions too for the IT band, but for me I think the best way to work on it is with a foam roller. It really helps ease it off.

A.W
08/01/2013 at 23:20
Just been catching up with your thread. You've had some fabulous runs. Today's 1mile reps were very speedy and far quicker than mine last week. I think you've run your 400m reps quicker than I normally do as well. My last 5k was 20:29.... I reckon your going to smash your PB (fingers crossed for you).

I've realised that I didn't take hardly anything in when I did London last year. I had a packet and a third of those shot blocks and that was it.....no wonder those last 10 miles were pretty awful!

It was haller park we went to....we're you get to feed the giraffes and see the giant tortoises.

Hope you don't get any more knee problems.
09/01/2013 at 14:10

Ady - I've had knee pain in the past and aside from when I tore my medials it's always been caused by tightness in the upper leg muscles. If you'e feeling it in the ITB then that could well be pulling the kneecap very slightly out of alignment. 

Best to do a load of stretching. For the hip and ITB I use this stretch:

http://www.fitness.com/exercises/202/glute_stretch.php

It's a glute stretch too but I find I can angle myself to get at a load of niggly areas.

I also stretch the quads by kneeling down and laying back - hold for at least 40 secs. Standing stretches just don't do it for me. You see footballers do a sliding version of this every time they score. They're not celebrating, just working out tightness in the quads

Warning - do not do this in front of the wife, it's not pretty.

Two years back I had all manner of pain in my knee that turned out to be very tight quads. Hard to believe that kind of thing can happen.

I am hoping to do the Spitfire 20 and have entered the Great Welsh Marathon. Spitfire is at Dunsfold Aerodrome at the beginning of March. Not too far from you if you fancy it. I plan to use it as a training run - I won't be going for any records.

How about you? Would be good to see if you could all arrange a half mara somewhere in between everyone. I'd certainly be interested.

09/01/2013 at 20:18

Calorie Watch! Food & Drink Diary - Tuesday 8th January 2013

I've never really kept a food diary before, and one of the benefits of doing so, is not only to showcase my attempt at a healthy eating lifestyle, but to see where I'm faltering at my 16lbs in 16 weeks weight goal loss. One thing I have noticed is that after being very disciplined during the working day, come evening when I return home, I either snack before my main meal (kind of healthy!), or my portion size would be frowned upon. I mean, my plate isn't over-flowing, but maybe I could leave some of the plate visible. I just need to start using a smaller plate!  

6:45am. Breakfast - Sachet of Porridge w/ semi-skimmed milk and a little honey.

9:00am. Cup of tea and a 500ml bottle of 10:45am. Banana & water

10:50am. Banana, tea and more water.

11:30am. Training session - 9.26miles with 5x1mile reps (see earlier write up)

1:15pm: Lunch - Salad - Lettuce, Radish, Cucumber, Tomatoes, Olives with Tuna and a honey mustard dressing. Copious amounts of water.

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

3.00pm. Filipino pastry that a work colleague brought back to work - basically bread with bean curd inside. A lot nicer than it sounds and not that big either! Another 500ml bottle of water.

7:30pm. Dinner - Tin of lentils, chicken breast (lightly fried with a teaspoon of oil - less oil thanks to buying a good non-stick pan!) and mushrooms. Added a little leftover tzatziki into the mix as well! Had a small piece of peanut nougat afterwards. Water.

8:30pm. More tea

11:00pm. Cup of green tea with plenty of cursing at the fact it was another evening I'd gone to bed later than I wanted.

09/01/2013 at 20:40

Day 24 - Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training (09/01/13)

Target: 5 miles comfortable at 8:30-9:20

Actual: 5.08 miles comfortable at 8:21m/m in 42:28

Mile splits: 1st mile @ 8:28. 2nd mile @ 8:24. 3rd mile @ 8:26. 4th mile @ 8:22. 5th mile @ 8:15

I swapped Thursday and Wednesday training sessions around due to time constraints I'll have tomorrow.

You could feel the chill in the air today. I like running when the weather is crisp. This is when leggings come into their own. Up until the start of this training I'd never worn a pair before. Now I'd be lost without them. I remember forcing myself to go outside and run in shorts in the middle of winter. Not so bad in England, but when I tried it in China in temperatures of minus 11 deg. Celsius, I came close to losing the ability to ever father children. It's not something I want to experience again!

I like this route I use for my runs at lunch time. There's plenty of other runners out at the same time, so you always have someone to hunt down if you're trying to push yourself. Surprisingly for me with previous experience of running in and around London, they are all of the friendly type and wave like maniacs whenever you pass them. I like runners who acknowledge other runners.

My left knee was still a little sore when I started my run, but the pain soon disappeared as I warmed up. Luckily any pain I've had so far hasn't been enough to affect any of the training sessions. If someone told me I could suffer these minor discomforts and nothing more for the rest of training, I'd sign up straight away.  

My mile splits were fairly consistent. I think I accidentally sped up towards the end, knowing that I was returning to work. As soon as I completed my 5 miles, I allowed myself a sprint finish before stretching off the run.

It seems half the office is running now the New Year is upon us, and with only one shower on each floor, it's meant a frenzied rush to get the best ones. On the last couple of occasions I've managed to get the one shower where the hot water doesn't work. I know ice baths are supposed to be good post-run, but I don't have anything positive to say about a freezing cold shower! 

Here's my run from today:

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/260130346

Edited: 09/01/2013 at 20:45
09/01/2013 at 21:22

Hi Alex......I'm doing well thanks. Definitely liking the variety my training plan has given so far. I'll never go back to running the same distance at the same speed day after day, ever again! Mile reps are quickly becoming a favourite of mine too. It's nice to feel I now have the ability to run at a quicker speed than I normally do for a prolonged period.

I'm going to follow your wise words and buy myself a foam roller. So much has been said on these forums on how good they are. It's definitely worth giving a try and will force me to stretch longer than what I do now. Stretching is one of the poorest areas of my normal training so this will certainly help!

Sarah.........Thanks. My runs have gone well so far. It's nice to feel that I have completed each one at the speed and distance I've been asked to do and, apart from the odd dodgy moment here and there, I haven't failed any.

You have an excellent 5km time. It's hard to believe that I've been running my 400m and mile reps quicker than what you have been doing, as your 5km PB is much quicker than mine. Do you think you will go under 20 mins this year? Is this a target before your Spring Marathon?

Were you able to maintain your speed in the last 10 miles of VLM last year? As soon as I hit the wall, my speed takes a nosedive. To maintain my second half marathon speed is going to be one of the biggest challenges I'll face as I've always been much slower (often by 10-15 mins).

That's strange that it was Haller Park. I have a friend who once worked there as well. I met him the first time I went there and now he's working for Kenya Airways. The last time I met him in Nairobi he was an hour late meeting me. He was stuck in the middle of a shootout between police and thieves who had tried to car-jack a minibus. He talked about it so nonchalantly, as though it happens all the time. Sadly it does. I'm happy not to have found myself in a similar position while living there. I never got to feed giraffes though.....I am extremely jealous........they are my favourite animal!

Malcs...........That's a very interesting point you've made there. Maybe it has nothing to do with my new footwear, like I had originally suspected. I don't know how those footballers do it. I struggle just to kneel down without my thighs burning as though they are going to rip open like the Incredible Hulk. Flexibility isn't one of my strong points. I even struggle to sit crossed legged. I'll give this a go. Thanks for the tip.

I could well be up for the Spitfire 20. That sounds very appealing. I'll see how it fits in with my current training plan and see if I can work this as one of my long runs. I'll take a look in the next few days and let you know. I'm also potentially doing the Dorney Lake Race Your Pace Half Marathon in February. I don't know if this is of any interest? A half marathon for everyone to do together has been discussed, but it has proved slightly difficult with everyone's differing training plans to make happen. It would be excellent if we could pull it off. I'll let you know about the Spitfire 20.

10/01/2013 at 06:33
It's taken me over a week but Iv finally managed read this blog from start to finish! Sounds like your training and healthy eating are going really well! With a bit of luck and a tailwind I'm also aiming for sub 3:30 at Paris this year! I've only done one marathon and that was 5 years ago, after that a completely stopped running other than playing football so it's been like starting all over again. Having read all the comments on here I've looked in to doing a parkrun. Seems like a good way to judge my progress so will see when I can fit that in to my training. Keep up the good work and best of luck!
A.W
10/01/2013 at 08:39

Hi Ady, I'm already booked to do the Spitfire 20, would be good to see you there. Its the day after the March training day I think!

A.W
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