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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18/03/2013 at 21:08
RUTH MCKEAN wrote (see)

Morning Shady- Ady!

I would now stick to fruit or/& small pot of low fat yoghurts as snacks - mid-morning and mid-afternoon and for lunch stick to a mix of cous cous & bulger wheat with lots of salad but I would still allow yourself a baguette twice during the week - say Monday &  Friday as this keeps variety. In the evening still keep all protein and  during taper don't be scared to reduce carbs in evening meals (still have rice, potato, pasta etc but reduce) and pile on the veg/salad. Avoid all alcohol, chocolate, crisps and biscuits until after the race - that is really a challenge but it is only less than 3 weeks away. THEN you can have that fondue  and a massive dessert of your choice on Sunday 7th April...post race!

Hi Ruth........thanks for the advice. I will try my utmost to stick to your rules of no alcohol, chocolate, crisps and biscuits...........I'll even throw in cakes as well for good measure. 

Is it also asking too much after the race, along with fondue and a massive desert, to enjoy a few beers and then a 3am greasy burger filled with regret and remorse? I promise I'll reutrn back to good behaviour afterwards!

You will be happy to hear that my two main meals today I've eaten couscous and bulgar wheat......just another 20 days of the same to go......I'm definitely going to stick to these rules .

18/03/2013 at 21:18
SajStars wrote (see)

Its really encouraging ­to read such a thread. I have been training to get under 3:30 following a similar plan. I have also been reading the sub 3.00 by A.W which is well beyond my capabilities.

I have also found that the diet tends to follow the training. Over the last 6 months since October I have lost weight and gained some speed!

However its all good news, being a gym fan I have also loss upper body strength! Doh!

Hey SajStars.....I'm glad to hear that! Alex is a different class.........even in training he makes running look so effortless.......in Birmingham on our last training day, I feel almost embarassed when he paces me with such ease and I'm grunting and running as hard as I can. If only I was blessed with height!

Are you training for a marathon currently? Great work on losing weight. I agree that speed has followed arm in arm with the weight loss! I was hoping to tone up my upper body, or at least work more on my stomach and core area......but it seems there's just not enough time after a long day at work to do this as well. 

I've thoroughly enjoyed my training so far. To start with I was a little worried that my mileage wasn't as high as Sarah's training program. But I'm so happy it wasn't. My mileage has been absolutely perfect for me, especially coming from a lower mileage to begin with. I also think anymore that what I've been doing, and I'd be struggling more with injuries as the jump would be too much.

Good luck with running under 3:30. I hope you make it!

18/03/2013 at 21:28
SamMurphyRuns wrote (see)

I'm glad your final long run, pre-taper, turned out to be memorable Ady! Hilarious encounters - we all enjoyed reading about them, anyway 

So pleased you're at this point in such good shape. I think you've given yourself every chance of a sub 3.30 finish through your commitment and focus.

As you enter the taper, it's more importatn than ever to listen to your body and weigh up whether any given run will be beneficial (maintain fitness, keep you ticking over) or detrimental (already tired, have a niggle) and adjust training accordingly to either downsize, skip or cross train instead. Good luck with reaching the weight loss goal, too!

Hey Sam.........I'll be sure to listen to my body even more than normal now.  The last thing I want is an injury now. I'm foam rollering every night now, and I'm also doing some before my runs at the weekend as well. I think I'm getting a little paranoid about injuries now, so I'm trying to make sure that when I do my runs, I'm definitely warmed up and loose. 

As I'm paying extra attention to my diet for the next three weeks, it should mean that the cut back in miles won't mean piling on the pounds again.  Part of me wishes Paris was tomorrow.....these three weeks are going to be like the first part of a roller coaster.................where you are just being pulled upwards........you know what is coming and the only thing this brings is nervous anticipation!

18/03/2013 at 21:31
Shady_Ady wrote (see)

Overtook a man on a bike? You must have found my pace at Spitfire incredibly slow!

I can deal with people trying to stare me out, but when you have someone muttering like a crazed maniac, that's something that would make me knock my pacing guidelines well in touch. Maybe that's what I need for Paris! 

I wouldn't class running 23 as a big mistake........knowing you only have to run 3 miles further than training run, has to be a big condfidence booster.

LOL - yes he was definitely more on another planet than this one. I didn't have the energy to lose him so I went for the 'slow down and let him overtake' option. Problem is he was going incredibly slow. I guess it was quite an impressive show of balance really. I know the Park which he frequents so I'll mention that you're looking for a pace maker next time I see him. Box of white lightning should be enough to secure his services.

Thanks for the detailed description of your stretching strategy btw. I now have an image in my head that I'd rather wasn't there!

I think I may have got away with the 23. Had a little recovery run today and was fine. Sports massage again on the leg tomorrow and back into 3 days of running on Wednesday. Definitely will be a shorter long run at the weekend.

Cat - I used to believe that it was all about getting in as many 20 milers (or more) as possible. In your position I'd be thinking exactly the same as you ie. I'm not going to have done enough. However, I've been injured going into all but one of my marathons. All from over doing it in the latter stages, thinking I needed to do more.

I still class myself as a learner as far as marathon training is concerned but I'll tell you my plan anyway and see if Sam or other more experienced peeps shoot it down

I have 5 weeks to go until my race and my focus will now be on the first 16 miles. If I can do that easily at MP then I know I won't have a problem with the last 10. I've heard it said countless times here that it's almost always the start that determines how well your race goes. Mike mentioned it above too. Get the first half of the race right and the second will be much easier. 

You've done two 18's and two 20's. I reckon that's plenty and I can say that with confidence having just read that Sam said the very same thing a few posts earlier. The endurance is there so you could now just concentrate on mid level mileage and speed so that you can knock out the first 16 miles easily and then go for it in the final 10.

Best of luck!

18/03/2013 at 21:36
Shady_Ady wrote (see)

.....these three weeks are going to be like the first part of a roller coaster.....

Would that be a 'foam' roller coaster? 

...I'll get my coat. 

18/03/2013 at 21:38

For those who are interested, here's my Week 14 plan of action. It'll be strange to go back to running under 30 miles in the week. I remember the days when this was at the top end of weekly mileage for previous marathon training.

SamMurphyRuns wrote (see)

Week 14 w/c 18th March (2 WEEKS OUT)

Monday REST
Tuesday 5 MILE MP
Wednesday 3 MILE JOG plus cross training or stretching
Thursday Intervals: 2 MILES EASY 5 X 400M INTERVALS at 6.20 pace NOT faster! WITH 2.5 MIN RECOVERIES, 1 MILE EASY (5)
Friday 4 MILES COMFORTABLE
Saturday REST
Sunday LONG RUN 12 MILES COMFORTABLE (around 8.35 - last 4 at MP or up to 7.55)
MILEAGE 29

 

18/03/2013 at 21:50

Day 92 - Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training (18/03/13)

Target: Rest

Actual: Rest (20 minutes of foam rollering!)

I often regret not stretching after a run. It always comes back to haunt me. Yesterday, in order to get my run in and make a friend's birthday surprise, there was no time for stretching. I was planning on standing up on the train and doing a few then, but I was on a carriage full of boisterous Chelsea fans, and I think the sight of a man doing lunges in their carriage would have led to a lot of grief on my part!

As I didn't stretch, it meant a rather restless night of leg spasms, the odd cramp and those dreams where you feel like your falling. Hence to say I woke this morning feeling extremely tired and glad today offered nothing more than rest.

I decided to do some stretching this evening..........more to take my mind away from finding out where my wife had hid the chocolate than anything else.

I'm hoping this daily stretching will continue to keep my hip flexors at a respectable level of flexibility and cut down on the chances of having further niggles, all of which I'm sure are related to this issue. 

18/03/2013 at 22:00

Calorie Watch! Food & Drink Diary – Sunday 17th March 2013

9:00am - Breakfast - Strawberry Granola with Semi-Skimmed milk. Cup of tea

10:00am - 15.3 mile run ( see earlier for full description)

1:30pm - Bottle of Yazoo chocolate milkshake, medium Starbuck's Peppermint tea, natural flapjack bar

3:30pm - A few small(ish) handfuls of Pringles Prawn and Cocktail flavour crisps, several glasses of squash (turning my back on alcohol until I'd replenished some of the liquids lost on my run!)

4:30pm - Lunch - Sunday Roast - Beef, roast potatoes, broccoli, leeks, green beans, Yorkshire pudding, carrots and gravy - perfect sized portion, glass of white wine.

5:30pm - Piece of birthday cake, glass of wine.

6:30pm - A couple of Celebrations to keep me going on the train journey home!

8:30pm - Dinner - Egg noodles with a little chilli oil (after eating late, I didn't feel like a full dinner), cup of tea

10:30pm - Pint of squash

18/03/2013 at 22:03
Malcs wrote (see)
Shady_Ady wrote (see)

.....these three weeks are going to be like the first part of a roller coaster.....

Would that be a 'foam' roller coaster? 

...I'll get my coat. 

............I'm embarassed................not at your attempt at humour......but the fact it made me chuckle out loud. I thought I had a finer pallette when it came to humour....obviously not............in that case, am I tempting fate by saying you can keep them coming!

18/03/2013 at 22:14

Ha! Not possible I'm afraid - just had a message from Runners World asking me to leave quietly by the rear exit and never return.

19/03/2013 at 05:17
Sounds like a very interesting final long run! I did my final long run on Saturday jumping over puddles and being blown about by the wind! 20.2 miles! It was a real confidence boosting run. Just need to manage my niggles for a few more weeks! Hope you enjoy the extra free time the taper gives you. Just try not to spend it eating chocolate!
19/03/2013 at 14:57

Glad to hear your last long run went well Ady.  I'm just back from Barcelona, and have been debating whether to post how I got on or not.  I've decided to, as even if there's a small chance it helps then I hope it does.  It is not supposed to be a confidence draining tale!

The marathon was something of a disaster, and I ended up missing my A,B and C goals.  I really thought that I'd learned a reasonable amount about how to execute my marathon plan as this was my fourth attempt, and I've taken a lot from these threads with all the discussion etc.  Not so, it turns out.  I hadn't had the best taper, and was suffering from a bit of a cold, so I decided to back off of the A goal (3:30) and aim for around 3:35.  I set off to run 8:05 - 8:10 pace.  Looking at my splits in km sections (as I haven't downloaded my garmin info yet) 3:30 pace is approx 25 mins per 5km, and I ran:

0-5 - 25:03 (a bit quick);

5-10 - 25:33 (including a toilet stop);

10-15 - 27:10 (including a serious toilet stop);

15-20 - 25:17 (about right)

20-25 - 27:44 (serious toilet time again... couldn't even find a cubicle )

25-30 - 25:47  

Lesson 1 - seriously listen to Ruth and not the gremlins in your head about hydration and nutrition.  I stopped 4 times for the loo!  If I took out this c.4 mins from my half time of 1:48 I was almost bang on for a 3:35.  Can you see where this is going yet?!

19/03/2013 at 15:03

Lesson 2 – the first 10k splits hide a multitude of sins, with much of it being run up long uphill drags, followed by short downhill bursts.  There was some erratic pacing in there (a few 7:40 mm’s), and a greater exertion of energy than I realised to deal with the inclines.  This came back to haunt me with a vengeance later on.

30-35 – 27:06 (running out of energy)

35-40 – 28:10. Kaboom! Legs exploded and this 5km felt like an eternity.  I had to walk at one point as I went through the 40km marker. 

I thought my cold would mean I struggled with the cardio, but that wasn’t actually a problem and in fact it was my legs that just did not want anymore.

My final 3 miles were c. 9:10, 8:35, 9:40.  I really had to dig deep through mile 25 to try and get back on some kind of track and back in the sub 9 minute mile zone, and then I rounded the final corner and the last km or so was one long straight road, all up hill and you could see the runners heads bobbing along in front of you.  Not steep, but my legs just would not move any faster.  A long and tiring run in.

I finished in 3:44:31, missing a PB by 20 seconds (my C goal).  A classic poorly run marathon with a positive split of +7:30, not including the extra time I spent stationary in the first half fertilising the Catalan streetscape.  I’d managed my previous 2 maras (3:44:11, and 3:55) with a +/- of 50 seconds or less.  The contrast was stark to how this one felt.  My Garmin also clocked 26.56 miles distance, which is perhaps not the racing line around the course.  Even taking 0.1 miles off of the distance covered would have made a difference to me, so concentrate on the blue line!

Final lesson – I forgot to turn “Auto pause” off on my Garmin, which meant my watch stopped at my toilet breaks.  This played havoc with my understanding of where I was in relation to my times.  I actually thought I was much further back than 3:44, and in hindsight may have managed a bit more had I known I could at least have claimed a PB.  Do not make this mistake.  I’ve been left with an awful feeling of missed opportunity, as I feel I’ve got so much more in my legs than 3:44, and nothing to show for it.

You’ve got a great support team around you who won’t let you make these silly errors I’m sure, but bear them in mind!  I thought I knew how to avoid them, but clearly did not.

Anyway, on a positive note, Barcelona is a great marathon to run, and really takes in a great snapshot of the city.  It’s great for supporters too and they got to see us 7 times on the way around due to the course layout.  I ran Paris for my PB last year (good omen for you…) and I’d run either of them again – really good city marathons.

All the best to you and the rest of the Asics 26.2 runners (and all the spring marathon runners on this thread). I look forward to hearing how you all do with your own goals.  You can consider mine an early marker which I hope you canter past with ease.  I should also add that the training you’ve posted here has looked far better than mine, so if you trust in that and concentrate on your execution I think you will sail around.

19/03/2013 at 18:35

Evening Boffy and evening everyone else too...........I'm very sorry that you didn't reach your goal, but such a great account of your race and the areas where you felt it went wrong. If I'm completely honest with you, everything you've said, I've done at least once in every marathon I've ran..........the nerves almost always mean I need to go the toilet, and several times I've either forgot to start my watch (or pressed the button but not hard enough like the wimp I am!). I'm sorry this has happened to you, especially as you were so close to your PB. 

I'm sure it doesn;t mean anything to you right now, but my best ever 2nd half split for a  marathon is a positive 14:30 minute split. So I can relate to your positive split as well. Out of everything, this is probably what worries me the most.......to attempt to run the 2nd half at least as fast as the first half.

I've also always struggled with the last 3 miles so you definitely aren't alone, sometimes only being able to average 12 min miles due to cramping up so much.

How were your legs the day after? It's still not a time to be scoffed at, but I understand your disappointment for sure.

I think if it wasn't for the toilet breaks, then you would have been in a much better position mentally for the latter stages of the marathon. I know if it's me, and I need the toilet, my mind can't stop thinking about the minutes or seconds that I've lost and I start to become quite negative, which is the last thing you want to do.

Do you think the toilet stops were down to hydrating too much beforehand, or more like me, just your mind tricking you into thinking you need to go? I also worry about the faster miles. In my head I can;t help but think "do a quick one, then you have 30 seconds in the bank.....go on....you know you want to." Especially at the start when you are full of energy and a comfortable pace is much quicker than 16 miles later.

I hope you aren't beating yourself too much up about it. I do think what you have said has happened to almost everyone at one point or another, so you certainly aren't alone. I hope you still enjoyed a few beers afterwards!

Unfortunately I have to dash out tonight, so will have to cut this message short. I'll have a read over your race report and other comments later this evening again.

20/03/2013 at 08:23

Boffy - really sorry to hear things didn't go to plan. All my last 4 marathons have gone wrong. In fact all but one started wrong having over trained and carried injuries into race day. So I know how it feels when all your hopes crumble away. The worst is having to do those last few miles knowing that you're not going to get what you wanted at the end.

That all said, you have to take one big positive out of this - despite everything that went wrong you almost hit a PB! I know you're looking at this as a missed opportunity but turn it around and it's really quite some performance. When things have gone wrong for me I've ended up way, way off my goal.

Like Ady, I'd be interested to know why you needed so many loo stops. You mentioned some of those were 'serious' - the sort that require a non-standing position? Sounds like your insides were in a bit of a mess, did you change what you usually eat?

I have only ever had to stop for the loo in one marathon. That was my first, in London where I naively got into the pens an hour early and stood there as the half litre of lucozade I'd just necked slowly made it's way to the bladder. As soon as I crossed the line I pegged it for the loos at the 400 yard mark

Thankfully I have never had to seek the privacy of a cubicle either.

Anyway, I think you should give yourself a big pat on the back. You completed a marathon! Not only that but you did it in a fantastic time - one that many people will never achieve. So well done!

20/03/2013 at 11:11

Ady - no need to apologise for a short message! That's the most fullsome response I've ever received on a forum I think.  And this thread is about you, not me, so I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

I'm obviously disappointed with the result, but it has served as a good reminder of the value of good performances and PB's.  I've knocked off 10+ mins on each of my previous marathons, so I thought I probably would this time around.  The fact I didn't is my own fault really, as all of the factors I listed above (cold aside) are of my own doing, and manifestations of sub-par training/planning/execution.  What was quite interesting is that I've read all about these things, like all of us I guess, and suffered from them all previously at one time or another, but I still did not take enough effort to avoid them - and that came home to roost this time.  Makes you realise how unforgiving the marathon can be.  Still - it's a great reason to try again next year!

To answer your and Malcs' questions:

Toilet stops - 2 of each kind.  I definitely think I over-hydrated, both before and during the race.  I've never had to stop this much before.  I had quite a dry mouth at the start so I kept drinking, although I knew I wasn't dehydrated.  It was also really humid, but grey and raining, and I couldn't work out whether it was warm or it was my cold making me overheat.  So I took on fluid to compensate, resulting in me re-creating the fontana magica.  I didn't really stress too much about my pre-race day diet, just making sure I took on plenty of carbs and cut down on protein/veg etc, sticking to pasta and rice.  Clearly I hadn't digested everything I thought I had.  The second time I had to stop, sans cubicle, it was one of those funny moments where I realised I'd fallen into the runners' mindset.  I remember my first marathon in Venice when some poor guy got caught out on the causeway going over to the island, where there is literally nowhere to hide, and he was squatting down in the road as the whole marathon flooded passed him.  I could not believe someone could do that.  On Sunday I basically had to pull up on a raised road (like a flyover), where the side of the road fell away, just behind a row of parked cars.  Those parked cars saved my blushes from fellow runners.  Sadly they didn't help with the 10 storey street of apartments on the other side of the downslope.  I apologise to any residents who were trying to enjoy their cafe con leche on the balcony trying to take in the race.

Malcs - thanks for your upbeat words.  Your story is reminscent of my own experience in my first marathon!  I've stopped drinking sports drink in the pen now (although clearly still some work to do on that front).  On a serious note for Ady, Paris has loads of toilets available at the bag drop area, but none on the way down to the pens, and only one cubicle in the pen.  This caught out a lot of people, and there were queues of them still waiting for those single cubicles as the race started around them and the pens behind them streamed by.  Get in early!

Finally, legs were stiff the following 2 days, but pretty much fine now (although the left quad is still a bit sore).  I think the copious Estrella, tapas and red wine saw away the worst of it. 

20/03/2013 at 21:18

Day 93 - Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training (19/03/13)

Target: 5 miles comfortable

Actual: 5.16 miles in 40:36 @ 7:52m/m

Mile Splits: 1st @ 8:08m/m. 2nd @ 8:00m/m. 3rd @ 7:49m/m. 4th @ 7:45m/m. 5th @ 7:45m/m

After failing to stretch after Sunday's run and dealing with the consequences of this, I thought there would still be some of this stiffness left in today's run.

Surprisingly there was almost none and by the second mile I was running freely and comfortably. I like running at lunch time, especially on the route I always run. There's a lot of other runner's. Being near an army base, some of these are frightening fast! Other's look like they've just decided to run for the first time, struggling along as though they will collapse if they try and put another foot forward. I like this variety. I like the fact that such a selection of standards all do exactly the same thing on the same stretch of road. It's therapeutic to see!

As per usual I ran past the airport and down to where Aldershot Town train as they attempt to stay in the football league. I carried on towards the Wellington Monument, before turning around and doing everything again in reverse. Some people don't enjoy out and back runs. I really don't have a problem with these. They might become mundane, seeing the same things over and over again, but I feel this works to my benefit as I can switch my mind off and think about other things than my job. It's almost like I'm running in a trance. Sometimes I come to and have no memory of the last few hundred metres......now if I can just fine tune this auto-pilot to run at 7:55m/m pace for 26.2 miles, then my goal time for Paris should be a definite!

Here's my run from today:

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/286834231

20/03/2013 at 21:26

Calorie Watch! Food & Drink Diary – Monday 18th March 2013

Ruth....you will be delighted to hear that Monday was the official start of my 'no eating sweets, cakes and crisps' 3 week plan.........and I even managed to eat Bulgar wheat and couscous in the same day. I doubt I'll keep these high standards going!

6:20am - Breakfast - Strawberry Granola with Semi-Skimmed milk.

9:00am - Cup of tea

10:00am - Bottle of water, banana

12:00pm - Lunch - M&S giant couscous, bulgar wheat, grilled pepper and grilled onion salad, bottle of water

2:00pm - Cup of tea, apple

3:30pm - Bottle of water

4:30pm - Apple, cup of tea

6:45pm - Dinner - Homemade Moroccan style couscous with chicken, chorizo, sweetcorn, broccoli, and a tamarind and date chutney. Pint of squash

7:30pm - Muller yoghurt, cup of tea

9:30pm - Pint of squash

20/03/2013 at 21:43

Day 94 - Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training (20/03/13)

Target: 3 mile jog @ 9:00m/m-9:40m/m

Actual: 3.09 mile jog in 27:52 @ 9:02m/m

Mile Splits: 1st @ 9:18m/m. 2nd @ 8:59m/m. 3rd @ 8:52m/m.

What a pleasant surprise today was! I'm somehow thought today was my speed session, and this was the last thing I fancied after going out on a school night the previous evening. I only managed a few hours sleep and was shattered before the day had even begun. Therefore when I re-checked my training schedule and saw only a 3 mile jog, I didn't feel as bad all of a sudden! To be honest, I would have probably swapped the training sessions around if today wasn't the jog anyway.

I'll definitely keep these slow jogs in my training in the future. It's nice to go out running and not worry at all about speed or time.

For the second time in recent weeks, my Garmin took a while to start recording properly and this meant I ran extra for the first mile to be recorded. I knew this early on, as my pace continued to creep on past 12m/m and I knew I wasn't running that slowly. I'm actually happy that my Garmin has had these mishaps during my training. I've learnt how to deal with it and because I have my watch set on mile intervals, it means the worst that could happen is that only 1 mile with be showing an incorrect pace, and then I can be back to normal. If this happened for the first time in Paris, I'm sure I'd feel like having to pick up my speed in order to rectify the slowing speed my watch showed and therefore jeopardize my target chances.

Three mile runs seems like nothing now, and the jog was over before it really started, meaning I could get the pick of the showers in the office that actually had hot water. Come back too late, and the only free showers available are those that seem to be lacking in the key ingredient of hot water!

Here's my run from today:

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/286834221

20/03/2013 at 21:48

Calorie Watch! Food & Drink Diary – Tuesday 19th March 2013

6:20am - Breakfast - Strawberry Granola with Semi-Skimmed milk.

9:00am - Cup of tea, bottle of water

11:00am - Bottle of water, cup of tea (hydration overload!), banana

12:00pm - 5.2 mile run (see earlier for full description).

1:00pm - Lunch - Leftover Moroccan style couscous from the night before with chicken, chorizo, sweetcorn and broccoli with a tamarind and date chutney. Bottle of water

2:00pm - Bottle of water

3:30pm - Cup of tea, apple

4:30pm - Bottle of water

6:00pm - Dinner - Egg noodles with drizzle of chilli infused olive oil, ham and cheese. Pint of squash

8:30pm - Large Pepsi Max

11:30pm - Alpen granola bar

12:30am - Pint of water

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