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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03/02/2013 at 21:05


Much lower mileage this week compared to the previous week. I'm sure it'll feel strange to be running under 30 miles again. This should leave me feeling fresh and lively come Saturday for my 5km Parkrun, and also help with not feeling burned out for my half marathon at Dorney Lake the following weekend.

Jog (Recovery) = 9.20 to 10 mins per mile

Comfortable (Easy) = 8.10-9.10

Steady = 7.35-8

Fast (Tempo) = 7.20-7.35 (Or for intervals 7.05-7.15)

Speedwork: pace depending on distance

Week 8 w/c 4th February
Monday 3 MILE recovery jog + 3 ACCELERATION STRIDES
Wednesday Rest or low impact cross training
Thursday 6 miles steady
Friday Rest

03/02/2013 at 21:13

Hi Ady, looks like a good week - strange not to see the long run at the end though!

Good luck with the parkrun - how are you feeling about it? Ready to smash that PB?

03/02/2013 at 22:46

Brolish.........You're very luck indeed not to crave food that's not good for you. I wish I was blessed with such mentality. Unfortunately this is something that I'm having to work hard on. Probably harder than my actual marathon training. I've been use to eating what I want for too long and just using running as a enabler to do this. If you're only downfall is red wine then you've struck it lucky!

It'll be very interesting to see how I do with the carb-loading, as the amounts of food seems slightly daunting. I'm sure once I start eating it I'll have no problem!

Sarah.........Well done on your 20 miler and great cross-country performance. Excellent work indeed and very impressive to come 2nd lady on tired legs as well. Definitely a good sign.

I now can't wait to get my first 20 miler under my belt in a few weeks time, and hopefully I'll be doing this after some new PBs in the next 2 weeks. Hopefully I'm not setting myself up for failure again. The speed training is definitely helping with this though.

Any food after a run I find tasty.....even the lentils I had yesterday where I accidentally added orange juice instead of milk (same colour and sized carton!) tasted amazing. In reality I'm sure any other time of the day I would have thrown it straight away!

I haven't actually used the foam roller yet. I ordered it off the internet over the weekend. Sarah did show me how to use it on my hip flexor, so I'll start with this and then see if I can find any other info about what stretched to do with it and how it's done. From my brief experience with it on training day, it was agony......but the good kind of agony if you know what I mean.

I'll let you know how I get on with it.

DS2...........Thanks! That's the best ever I've felt after an 18 miler, so fingers crossed this continues. How did your 18 miles go?

I think this time when I was taking the gels I was better hydrated to start with. It also wasn't hot, which may have caused the problem before with the SIS Go gels, as I was probably more dehydrated than I thought I was.

I can't believe it's only another 6 weeks before the taper starts. That's coming around so quickly indeed.

Steve......Good to hear from you. Saw on Twitter how fast you ran your last mile of your 14 mile long run this weekend - 6.58m/ should have no problems obliterating the 4 hour mark and possibly the potential to go much quicker than that as well.

What's your schedule like this week? Do you have a week without a long run as well? It'll be strange to not do one. I've become use to it now.

I'm feeling pretty confident about the Parkrun this time. It should be flat, fast and on pavement, so there should be no excuses to go faster than my last Parkrun. I am planning on starting out at around 6:20-6:40m/m pace. From my training day and 800m sessions I should be able to maintain this for the first mile or two and then hang on for dear life in the last mile. If I can do this, then I'll have my first PB of my Asics 26.2 training. 

03/02/2013 at 22:50

Hey Sam....I hope your weekend went well. Regarding this week's schedule, I was wondering if I need to swap some of the runs around at all. Monday is a jog, but because I swapped my long run from Sunday to Saturday and did a 4 mile jog on Sunday, this means I'll have 2 jog runs in row.

I'm kind of itching to run a fast session . Is it possible to move my steady run to Monday, then have cross-training Tuesday, Hills on Wednesday and jog on Thursday? Or would it be better having my cross-training Monday, Hills Tuesday, Jog Wednesday and Steady on Thursday?

As always I'm more than happy to go with what you deem to be the best option!  

03/02/2013 at 23:14

Sorry I haven't popped in on your thread (or anyone else's... or my own!!) much over the last couple of weeks - I've been neglecting the forums a lot what with one thing and another 

Ha, yes sub 7mins at the end of 14 miles had me wondering if the Garmin was playing up!! As for the marathon time, I think I am limited by having done such low mileage in the months running up to the competition - I've been all about the 5ks up to now... but it's nice to think about what sort of times I might manage in the next couple of years with a decent base behind me

No long run for me either this week - it's a bit of a rest week and then on to the half mara where we'll hopefully both be celebrating shiny new PBs!

I think you'll do really well at the parkrun - you've been putting the miles in throughout the training, doing some great speed sessions and I think you'll surprise yourself... but bloody hell 6:20 - 6:40 is a fast pace!!  Whatever happens, I'm certain you'll have your 5k PB in the bag...

See you in a couple of weeks!

04/02/2013 at 12:06

Hi Shady- Ady

I think as SIS GO is your favourite in taste, go with these from now.

Banana sandwich - yes each sandwich is 2 slices of bread. The carb load is worth doing properly and then if it works for you this is something you can use again and again before races. But try it for one day before Dorney Lakes and let me know how you go.

As also mentioned: I agree  try mixing diet up a bit as  keeps it interesting: use different fruit & veg, different types of fish & meat (but lean types) and even use different types of carbs for example a range of potatoes can mean sweet potatoes as wedges or just as one regular baked sweet potato or boiled, baked , mashed regular potato ....

Don't worry about the odd drink, it becomes a problem if you are doing this more often.

04/02/2013 at 12:40

Week 7 Weight Loss Watch!

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

Weight After Week 1: 162.2lbs (-0.6lbs) (Xmas Parties!)

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

Weight After Week 3: 160.7lbs (-1.2lbs) (New Year!)

Weight After Week 4: 159.2lbs (-1.5lbs)

Weight After Week 5: 158.0lbs (-1.2lbs)

Weight After Week 6: 156.2lbs (-1.8lbs)

Weight After Week 7: 155.8lbs (-0.4lbs)

Total Loss: 7.0lbs

I just scraped through this week and I’m surprised I actually managed to lose anything at all. At least it was still enough to stay on track of my target plan of losing around 16lbs in 16 weeks.

Even though my mileage has increased and my daily diet has been good (even if including the odd indulgence and drink here and there), I can see it being more of a struggle to continue losing such amounts of weight. I think this must be because my body is becoming use to the levels of running and change in diet. I’m also not going to cut down on food , which could affect the quality of training I can do.

This has happened before when I was training for Boston in 2009 when I set my PB.  I got down to exactly where I am now and just couldn’t lose any more. My diet is a lot better now. What I plan to do from now on though is introduce more weights in to my training. I’m going to start with 10-15 minutes every evening on top of my running, just to shock my body in to realising there’s more in my life than just running! With any additional muscle gained from this (which shouldn’t be difficult considering the meagre amounts of muscle I have now!), it should increase my metabolism and calorie burning speed.

Hopefully next week I’ll be getting even closer to the 11 stone (154lb) barrier. But with another birthday to attend next weekend, plus a B&B breakfast Sunday morning, it will have to be an exceptional week!

04/02/2013 at 12:50

Calorie Watch! Food & Drink Diary – Sunday 3rd February 2013

It was a poor showing today in terms of a regular eating pattern and fitting snacks in to my daily diet. I blame being out late the previous night and eating my ‘dinner’ at 1am in the morning. I just didn’t feel hungry for most of the day. It didn’t help eating out for a late lunch and being made to wait for our table to be ready and then waiting even longer for our food to arrive.

Normal service should be resumed from now on though!

9:30am - Breakfast – Fruit & Fibre cereal w/ semi-skimmed milk. Cup of tea

10:30am - Pint of water

11:30am – 4 mile recovery jog (see earlier for full description)

3:00pm – Grilled chicken breast, peas, boiled potatoes, salad (cucumber, sweetcorn, beetroot, tomatoes, carrots with vinaigrette), two small wholemeal rolls. 2 glasses of Pepsi-Max.

5:30pm – Cup of tea, pint of squash.

8:30pm – Cup of tea.

9:00pm – Pint of squash.

10:00pm – Cup of chicken noodle ‘cup of soup’ from sachet.

04/02/2013 at 14:00

Hi Ady

Sorry for late response - only just surfacing after a hectic weekend in London! Meet the Experts went really well thanks - spoke to about 500 on Saturday and about 300 yesterday, mostly first-timers. I've done the event for 8 years now, so although you do always get a few butterflies, they soon flutter off!

Hope it's not too late to agree that it would be best to shuffle sessions around this week and go for either the steady run or cross training today instead of recovery jog. Leave hills on Tuesday if that works logistically. 

Could you please email me your round-up, as in previous weeks, so I can put it on file? Thanks 

04/02/2013 at 14:00
Shady_Ady wrote (see)

Malcs.........good to hear from you. Now I've had my eyes opened to what carb-loading actually is, I will be a changed man forever.

You only managed one slice of bread and Jam last night? You're letting the side need to up that to at least three slices. I need some company here! 

I too was impressed with the 800m reps. I just need to replicate that when it matters. I'm sure you'll have no problem staying with me at Spitfire. I think it'll just mean I'll be able to stick with you much easier than I would have done without this training! It'll be interesting to see what pacing I'm given for this. do have a lot going on. Are you staying within the same area where you are now, or moving further afield? I promise they'll be no slacking on my evidence of this, I'm writing this reply on a Friday night instead of getting myself down one of those discotheques where the youth of today hang out!

I'm actually jealous that you have a house to sell. Hopefully by the end of the year or early next, I'll be in the position to be a home owner. Let's hope they'll be a nice pay rise coming my way in my review later this month to make this happen. But if babies come along first, then this might scupper these plans for a while!

Well I hope you manage to keep running during these busy weeks and if you don't post much, at least they'll be the chance of a catch-up at Spitfire!

Babies?! I assume we're not talking the jelly variety here? You don't have time for such activities! Full focus has to be on the road to Paris! 

Re. the move - we're planning to move locally. Doesn't seem to be alot about at the moment though. 

The housing market is crazy. When we first bought it was possible to get a house like ours as a first time buyer. Not much chance of that now. I hope you do get the chance to upgrade soon. Are you renting an apartment at the moment? 

Managed 14.5 miles at around 9mm on Sunday. I went with my mate who took me on his usual route round Sevenoaks. Didn't realise it was so damn hilly. My legs were toast by about 8 miles.

With that in mind I'm mighty jealous of the 18 miler you just did. 3.5 miles longer and at a much faster pace. That's really great work!

So is it Parkrun on Saturday then?  


04/02/2013 at 15:39

Malcs -  Sevenoaks is indeed very, very hilly! My daughter plays hockey there and a few weeks ago in the early days of my base building I did a few miles whilst she was training. There isn't any flat stuff and the hills are proper ones, aren't they?

Good effort though. You've done well to get back to that so quickly. Great to see you back!

04/02/2013 at 19:35

Evening Ady!

I've got a lower mileage week too this week - it's nice to have a bit more of a chilled week every now and then!

Fingers crossed for a fab new PB on Saturday! Wow 6:40 - 6:20 pace is really quick!! Sounds like you're going to be smashing that sub-20 any day!!

04/02/2013 at 20:05

DS2 - aha, so it wasn't just me then? That's a relief. I couldn't believe how much my legs were complaining after just 8 miles. Anyway, thanks for the encouragement. It has been a bit of a rough start to 2013 but looking good now. 

RRR - they've reduced your mileage this week so the rest of us can catch up . Sorry I haven't been on your thread for a while. I have been struggling for time and so I elected to pick one thread to hang out on. Unfortunately for Ady he drew the short straw 

You're all doing amazingly well I have to say. Not just with the running but the reporting too. 


04/02/2013 at 21:58

Day 50 - Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training (04/02/13)

Target: Rest or Cross-Training

Actual: P90X Legs and Back Workout Video (1hr)

With Sam's blessing, I've managed to juggle my training schedule around this week so not to have Sunday and Monday as both 'jog' recovery runs. I'm just going to swap today's 3 mile jog and Wednesday's cross-training days around and this should put everything right in the world!

I've become so use to running during my lunch breaks now and getting out from the office that it comes as a bit of a disappointment when I have a rest day or cross-training day. I miss having something that breaks up my working day.

To help with my continued weight loss, I hope to include more of these workouts in the next few weeks (obviously without overdoing it!). Today I wanted to focus on leg strengthening and this P90X legs and back workout should be the first of several I manage this week.

The workout focuses on different leg and back strengthening exercises. Each leg exercise is then followed by a back exercise and then a leg exercise again. I think you get the idea! The leg exercises include a lot of stretching, striding, dips, tip-toeing with weights, crouching in the chair position and leaning against the wall with legs raised, also in chair position. The back exercises are all  pull ups, using different kinds to add variety.

It may come as no surprise that my upper body strength leaves a lot to be desired. I can just about manage three or four pull-ups in one go in the easiest position, so there was no way I'd manage 15 or 20 every few minutes like the ripped, beefy instructors on the DVD. To make it easier and still get a good workout, I used a chair to rest one leg on while doing the majority of my pull-ups.

It didn't take long before I was breathing heavily. It's a good workout, as the exercises are continuously changing and there's very little time between each move. By the time I finished my legs were shaking uncontrollably and it was an effort to lift my pint of water.

I might grumble when I don't have a run, but this cross-training workout was actually a pleasant change to normal and if I carry on doing this once a week, should bring extra strength to my legs. I might even get some upper body muscle for the first time in my life too! Might come in handy for the beach this Summer as well as Paris! 

I'll certainly sleep well tonight now!

04/02/2013 at 22:13

Pull ups are tough Ady but they are great and become much easier very quickly. I was really into weight training at one point. I remember vividly walking into the gym to do my first set of chin ups and painfully straining to do just one. However, the next time I did 2 and it quickly improved from then.

Stick at it - you'll see the results within 3 or 4 sessions. For me the key thing was to go to the point of failure each time - so that's when you're pulling with all you have but nothing seems to be happening. 

Where do you do your pull ups? Do you have a bar? I have the luxury of the climbing frame in the garden - it was never really for the kids 

Edited: 04/02/2013 at 22:14
04/02/2013 at 22:20

Well done on the cross-training Ady - sounds rough!  lol

It's definitely good to mix it up a bit. It keeps things interesting and a bit of core work seems to have surprisingly good benefits!

04/02/2013 at 22:26

Steve........No need to apologise for not popping on to this thread. It's hard enough just keeping up with your own let alone keeping up with everyone else as well. Not that I'm complaining. I find writing up a daily report of my workout or run, and also my diet keeps me focused into doing the best I can (even if no one reads it!). If I didn't have to write everything I ate, I think it would be much more likely to sneak in the odd Golden Arches delight from time to time, or even take it easy on one or two runs if I was feeling tired. 

I think you have definitely the right attitude to your training so far. This is only the start to hopefully a more informed and educated knowledge of how to train for a marathon and having this as a base, there's no reason why you shouldn't be breaking quicker times in years to come after going sub 4 in Paris.

Enjoy your easier week this week. Look forward to catching up at Dorney Lake!

Ruth..........Your wish is my command! I'm more than happy to go with SIS Go from now on. I'm also more than happy to do the carb-load properly too. Anything that can help!

How often do you want me to take them during the half marathon. Do you want me to keep to every 35 minutes, or a little less than that seeing that it's only a half?

Sam..........Sounds like a busy weekend. I bet many people don't realise how many first timers run London. I did my first marathon at London back in 2004 and I regret not following a training properly or seeking more professional advice. I would have definitely done a lot better if I did. You live and learn!

I decided to do the cross-training today and move my jog to Wednesday. The other days I'll keep exactly the same. You should have my emailed round up by now.

Malcs.........It's a shame it wasn't the jelly baby variety of babies I was talking about. I do have a soft spot for them. I only have to wait another week before my first carb-loading extravaganza and I can't eat half a bag of these tasty treats just as a morning snack! It's what dreams are made of! 

Good luck with the move. They say it's one of the most stressful things anyone can do. I can't wait to see if this is true. At the moment I'm renting an apartment. It's a perfect location for getting to work and also it's only 20-25minutes to central London as well, which is ideal. I wouldn't mind moving further away from London if it means cheaper prices and more for your money.

Excellent work on your 14.5miles, especially so soon after fighting off that dreaded lurgy. I wish I had somewhere like Sevenoaks around where I live. There's a few undulating miles, but nothing really to make you want to collapse in your own puke. Surely it's not much to ask for one or two monster hills nearby! Looking at the elevation map you posted here earlier, Spitfire 20 should be a good challenge and possibly the most hilly, undulating run I'll do before Paris.

Saturday is a Parkrun. I've chosen Crane Park Park Run to do this time. Longer to get to, but definitely more chance of a PB, which is the main aim. Hopefully it won't be another disappointment!

04/02/2013 at 22:40

DS2...........Very jealous you have some good hills nearby you. I'm tempted to take the train to the start of the North Downs Way on one of my long runs so I can test myself a bit more on hilly terrain. But then I wonder if my time would be better spent practising on tarmac and flatter ground, which would be more like Paris.

RRR......Enjoy your low mileage this week. Although I just want to run and run and run, I do understand the importance of easier weeks, and this can only stand us in good stead for Dorney Lake Half Marathon.

Although it would be a dream come true, I'm not getting carried away just yet with the hope of breaking 20 mins. My PB is still 21:45, so just to break that and I'll be happy with the progress I'm making. I make it 6:26m/m to break 20 mins. I might make that for the first mile, but after that is anyone's guess! Let's see how long I last. If I do crash and burn, let's hope it's only the last mile I have to get through. 

Malcs.......I actually feel a little fuzzy and honoured that this thread is the place you currently call home. I'll be sure not to startle or shock you in the future so you fly away and make your nest elsewhere.

There's nothing wrong with having aching legs after only 8 miles. I'd probably be in exactly the same position, especially considering that I don't have much practice on hills.

After this run, do you feel confident for Spitfire? What's your current 20 mile PB?

05/02/2013 at 08:54
Shady_Ady wrote (see)

Malcs.......I actually feel a little fuzzy and honoured that this thread is the place you currently call home. I'll be sure not to startle or shock you in the future so you fly away and make your nest elsewhere.

There's nothing wrong with having aching legs after only 8 miles. I'd probably be in exactly the same position, especially considering that I don't have much practice on hills.

After this run, do you feel confident for Spitfire? What's your current 20 mile PB?

Thanks Ady. Your message conjures images of a fragile bird snuggling in for the winter when in fact I'm more like some vagrant camped on your doorstep that you can't get rid of! 

Confident of Spitfire? No, not really. This week I plan to do 16 on a more forgiving route. If I can get round that comfortably then I'll start to feel a bit better about Spitfire. I've only ever run one 20 mile race and that was Spitfire last year in 2:46. I didn't race it though and I don't plan to race this one either. I'll do the first half slow for sure and then either progressive or some MP at the end of the second half.

Do you know how Sam wants you to approach it yet?

05/02/2013 at 10:11

Bloody hell Malcs - if you could run 2:46 when not racing it really indicates that 3;30 is possible. Just a bit more endurance is probably the key. I've really benefitted this year from lots of slowish miles. I feel I can run forever, legs wise, although not as fast as I'd like but that should come over the next 13 1/2 weeks!

Looking forward to catching up at Spitfire!

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