Paris marathon 2013 here we go! A.W's Sub 3 attempt!



  • Today's run scheduled was 7 miles fartlek.

    Actual run was 9 miles fartlek in 1.04.02. average pace of 7.07 minute miles.

    Wow! What a run, didn't want it to finish and could easily have gone on and on today! Really really enjoyed it out there today. As you may have gathered I had a good run!

    Decided to go with Steve's suggested session of 7, 5, 3, and 2 minutes with 1 minute recoveries x 2. It was on a bit of a hilly undulating course, so added a bit of harder/easier sections depending on uphill or downhill sections.

    So after a 1 mile warm up.......

    Splits were -

    6.32 - 1M - pace MP - 6.32 a mile

    5.00 - 0.81M - pace HM - 6.12 a mile

    3.01 - 0.52M - pace 10k - 5.49 a mile

    1.48 - 0.32M - pace 5k - 5.40 a mile

    6.28 - 1M - pace MP - 6.28 a mile (really had to hold back on the pace here!)

    5.01 - 0.82M - pace HM - 6.08 a mile

    3.00 - 0.5M - pace 10k - 6.00 a mile

    1.50 - 0.32 - pace 5k - 5.43 a mile

    Then a couple of miles cool down!

    The two reps at MP, especially the second one was a real effort to keep the pace down, and felt very easy which is encouraging.

    I think tomorrows 19M will be a little harder! Going to start trialling some gels tomorrow, first ones to test are GU gels. Will try 2 on the run, 1 at about 7 miles and 1 at 12 miles which should give me a good idea how my body will react to them.

  • Interesting discussion on weight. I am about 5'7" and was 12st 10lbs (80kgs) when I started running at 49 yrs old. When I did London this year, at the age of 56, I was 9st 7 lbs (60 kgs). There has been a straight line relationship between my weight and my marathon times - the lighter I have been the faster the time.

    They say that for every lb lost you gain 2 secs/mile over a marathon. The bad news is they also say that over 50 you lose 4 secs for every year you age. So just to stay the same you have to lose 2lbs/yr!!!

    I think 9st 7lbs is about my limit so I am not sure what I can now do to combat the ageing process!!!

  • Great running AW. Glad you enjoyed it. I did a not so enjoyable (GPS battery died halfway, chased by a dog...) 16 LSR today to end my week (43m). 

    Steve: I like your Fartlek structure idea. I have to admit I've not really done many of these sessions as I've been a bit confused over their main purpose. My natural inclination seems to always turn them into a very hard session. What do you consider their main purpose? Are they part pyschological ie variety, generally spontaneous etc

  • Evening Alex!

    I like the Fartlek structure! I was trying to make mine a bit more time-structured today but didn't do it quite as well as yours so think I might nab the MP, HM etc structure for my next fartlek ... if not the speed!! image

    Glad the training is going well! Can't quite believe how quickly the time's going though!

  • Good session today AW and evenly paced on both sets. Regarding the massage if it doesn't make you chew the pillow when you are face down, then it ain't working! Are you gonig to be using any recovery drinks after the long runs? I used them for the first time last year and think that they were a good benefit as most times after a long run on a Sunday I wouldn;t necessairly have loads to eat straight away.

    Looks like running has helped with a bit of decent wright loss for you One Gear. Was it just purely running or was it it diet as well?

    10 slowish miles for me this morning in 7.50 pace as I am donig a XC race in the morning, so swapped tomorrow & today's run around.

  • Another good session AW - good that marathon pace felt so easy - hopefully it will be the same in April!

    In some ways it's not a fartlek session in the true sense which should have more spontanaity and be governed by terrain more than time but the way above is more structured and shoudl allow more control. I think if you don't have a set plan, it can be either too easy or too hard. The way above makes you think about your speed more and gives you a set target.

    Obviously the main idea about any speed session is to improve speed but sometimes you can possibly achieve better results and make it more interesting by changing paces or having target paces rather than the old traditional way of just running as hard as you can for as long as you can and stopping, recovering and going again!

    For instance when I do mile reps, I used to run just as quick times for the mile rep where I run 50m steady/float (half of bend), 150m hard x 8 as I do just running four laps hard and the 150m rep way, you get a better range of speeds and have to accelerate eight times and it breaks it down more.


  • Did cross-country league race today - it was a relatively flat course and mud wasn't too bad so average pace inside  6:20 miles and didn't feel the 50 mile biking day before had too much affect so must be getting stronger.

    Good luck on the 19 AW - don't worry about the speed too much - finishing strong and relaxed and slower is better than straining faster and fatiguing badly in last few miles at this stage of the schedule.

  • Good 16 miler done AndyV. Never good when dogs decide to give chase, was bowled over on New Years day by a stray dog while running!

    Hi RRR - I know what you mean, I cant believe we're 4 weeks in already! I too really like the structure to the fartlek session, I know as Steve says its strictly speaking not a fartlek, but I feel I got more benefit from having that structure and got a better run done because of this.

    Good luck with the XC KR. I'm not going to use a recovery drink as such after my long runs, what I'm going to do is have a glass of chocolate milk. Should have the same effect. I don't usually have a problem eating after long efforts so will re fuel fairly quickly.

    Hi Steve - hoping too it will be like that in April!!! Sounds like a good XC race, were you pleased with it?

  • Scheduled run today was 19 miles in about 2.30 - 7.30-8 min mile effort.

    Actual run was 20 miles in 2.29.42 - 7.29 minute miles.

    Set off around 9 am with a plan to run down to Embankment and then do Green park, Hyde park and Regents park before heading uphill back to North London. Decided to trial The GU Jet Blackberry gels which have 2 shots of caffeine in each gel, having 1 at 7 miles and another at 12-13 miles. Today's run flew by, and felt very easy the whole way, the gels went down well and had no adverse reaction to them, I even got a couple of miles at MP at the end going uphill which still felt good. So another good confidence boost from today's run. Finished feeling fairly fresh and could have continued quite happily.

    Finished this week totaling 61 miles I think. A good week all in all.

  • Steve and Ruth,

    Having tried the GU Jet Blackberry gels with caffeine today which went down well and I had no issues with them. Should I now just stick with them or try some other makes/types?

    I don't want to keep trying others unless you think it beneficial as what I thought I might do is run all my other LSR's with only water, so when I get to the marathon I get a bit more of a kick from the gel. What do you think of me doing this? Is it a good idea?

  • That's a very good run again AW. Your 20 matched my marathon PB to the second.but on my training pace today, I wouldn't have even got to 18 miles. Did around 16.5 hilly off-road in 2:23 and felt awful in last two miles- got a bit dehydrated - , plus around 25 miles on bike.

    re gels, if you have found one that works and are happy with the taste and the affect it gives you, I would stick with it, but Ruth can probably confirm it's a good one to have,

    On training runs, I try not to use them all the time and do try and save the effect to races or the key training runs ie faster 20s or slower 23s where a poorer run might affect the race preparation slightly or  possibly affect recovery for upcoming key sessions.

    I do use a recovery drink reasonably frequently rather than just chocolate milk though the latter obviously aids recovery to some extent - Rego is my preferrred one..


  • Post for Ruth,

    This is my food diary from today before and after my long run!

    7am - large bowl branflakes (65g) with sultanas and skimmed milk. Coffee with skimmed milk.

    9.15am - 20 mile run - 2 GU gels and 400ml of water during.

    12.30pm - 300ml skimmed milk with Benko (chocolate milk powder).

    1pm - Cup of tea with skimmed milk.

    1.30pm - Beans on toast with ketchup. (1 tin beans and 3 slices of sour dough bread)

    3pm - Glass of water.

    4.30pm - large chocolate cookie, handful nuts and dried fruit and an orange. Cup of tea with skimmed milk.

    7pm - 2 slices parma pizza, chicken breast sandwich (griddled chicken and griddled sour dough bread), curly kale and baked beans. Ketchup in sandwich. Glass of water.

    8pm - Cup of tea with skimmed milk.

    8.30pm - Homemade vanilla gelato (skimmed milk, vanilla extract, agave)
  • Week five

    Jan 14th: rest or 5M easy

    Jan 15th: 6 x 1000 in 3:35 starting every 6 mins (7M in total)

    Jan 16th: 6M steady in 7:30-8 min miles

    Jan 17th: 4M with middle 2 miles at HM pace

    Jan 18th: 5M easy or rest

    Jan 19th: 3M plus strides

    Jan 20th: 10km race - 10M in total

    week total: 35M

  • Just had chance to catch up with the thread.  More excellent running this week AW!  

    I was interested in the weight debate.  I'm 6' and 75Kg at present, so no wonder I can't get anywhere near your pace.  I hope to be nearer 70Kg come 21st April as I know it makes a difference.  You look good on 67/68Kg - I was surprised you're 5'11"! 

    I'll also be 52 by 21/04 so it looks as if I may need to factor in One Gears comments as well!

    It's been a reasonable week for me.  66 miles at overall average of 7.38 which is 14secs/ mile quicker than last week.  Did some more speedwork this week but it was a bit of a struggle.  Tried to do the 800 reps on my own which wasn't a good idea.  Will be going to the club track session this coming Tuesday!  

    I'm a mile away from your level of fitness at present but reasonably happy with progress over the past 3-4 weeks. Endurance is definitely returning - just need to lose some weight and get some speed back!

    I see you're due an recovery week.   Youll be flying in a week's time!   

  • Looks like a good week for you golfer. I wouldn't worry too much about the weight, i think that will probably sort itself out with the training level increase over the next few weeks, just need to eat heathily I would think?

    Cut back week this week, kind of a mini taper I guess for my 10k at the weekend.


  • is 2.59.59 the target or is the target time still tbc?

    If you can easily do 20miles at the end of a training week and already have a 1.22 half under your belt things are looking very good.

    Good timing for your easier week with all the snow and bad weather around




  • Golfer - your height and weight are the same as mine at present. On reflection I would settle for 72kg by April and don't expect to get back to 70 again.

    I wouldn't get too focussed on average pace each week as that tends to put pressure on you to run fast on recovery days and long slow runs and also could make the more important faster sessions harder as you are tired.

    I think 2:59 has to be the official target for AW but he clearly is well on target and it doesn't harm the chances of a sub-3 if you are in 2:55 shape or better come race day!

  • I think 2:59 always has to be the main target time as I've never run a sub 3 marathon, if come race day I'm in better shape and am able to run a bit quicker that would just be a bonus.

    I have a half marathon in Feb, so will have a clearer idea of how things are going then I guess.

    Easy 5 miles done this morning at 8.10 pace. Legs feeling good today, not overly tired after yesterdays 20.

  • BadbarkBadbark ✭✭✭

    That’s a great week of running completed AW. Good luck in your 10k race at the weekend. Are you targeting a PB, running flat out or trying something different? What do you recommend Steve?

    I had a good week of running too totalling 67 miles over 9 runs with the longest being 14 miles. I’m off on holidays on Friday for a week so have my first 20 miler scheduled for Thursday. I hope I don't gain too much weight or loss too much fitness due to the all inclusive hotel!image

  • A good pace for your 20 mile run AW, did you run that at an even pace the whole way or do some slower & quicker miles?

    Good mileage for the week golfer, I think I only got up to about 55 ish last year!

    XC was tough yesterday - muddy (quagmire in parts), hilly and congested. A bit disappointed with the av pace which was about 7.15, but put it down as a good training run having down 10 miles on Saturday.

  • A.W wrote (see)

    Hi AndyV- I could quite happily eat loads more than I do, but if I did my weight would start to climb. I'm currently in a good place at the moment and the amount I'm eating/training is maintaining my weight at a stable point (67-68kg). If this starts to change as the training gets heavier, and I start loosing weight, I will re adjust and increase my intake!image

    Historically I've been closer to 71kg when marathon training, but consciously wanted to reduce my body fat and having done so brought my weight down to the 67-68kg point and I don't think its a coincidence that my running has improved because of this.

    It is true, the lower your body weight the better you tend to run (although too lean you will also run into problems) but the key I think is to be "lean and mean" for only periods of the year coming up to races if you do not sit naturally at your race weight and do not be concerned sitting higher at some points in the year. My aim is not to increase your body weight but just to look at how we can improve your recovery and a couple of other areas.

    I think you race breakfast below is fine. Some people like having a gel just before starting but as long as you fuel up in the days leading into a marathon I think this is good. May want to sip on some fluid (water?) just very little and often in the two hours prior to race?

    A.W wrote (see)

    Hi Ruth,

    Thanks for the post. I will try and get some more water down me, I've always probably not been drinking enough and its something I have been aware of but not really addressed! Will also try and make sure the gaps with out food are kept to no more than the 3-4 hour mark.

    Over the last month since starting the training program I think my training has been fairly consistant and good. I do struggle to train if I have to leave it until the afternoon however, but think this is more in the head as when I actually get in to the run I usually perform well. So as much as possible I always train before lunch. The worst training time of the week for me is probably Monday!!! My recovery/easy run on this day is usually hard work, not in terms of effort/breathing, but just my body feeling tired and a little drained after racing and or long run at the weekend.

    I wouldn't say I struggle on long runs or short runs other than the usual peaks and troughs where you feel good or tired at stages during a long run, I have always struggled a bit with the 20-22 milers having said that, and during a marathon its around the 22 mile mark I've had some big issues in most of my marathons, but I guess that's the same for most!

    I stay pretty fixed with my pre marathon eating. I usually eat about 4 hours before, normally having a bowl of cereal (something sugary usually) or porridge with honey and banana with a cup of coffee. I stay away from bread on a race morning as it gives me really bad indigestion for some reason when I run. Then a sports drink for the next hour or two up until 2 hours to go. I then wont have anything until during the race.


    A.W wrote (see)

    Update for the food diary Ruth.

    I've made some adjustments to make sure I'm getting more water and no long periods wit


    Update for the food diary Ruth.

    I've made some adjustments to make sure I'm getting more water and no long periods wit


     It is better but I do feel an apple alone is not enough after an 800m rep session. Could you move your jam sandwich to staright after this sort of session? (no apple)  and then make lunch easy to prepare. For example, throw a tin of rice pudding and small tin of fruit (or fresh) and a few seeds or nuts in your bag and have this for lunch or even keep cereal and milk at work and have this at lunch. Then mid-afternoon have a pre-sliced size of malt loaf (controlled portion) or a smaller piece of fruit cake or a yoghurt and piece of fruit. Then no sweets at night, your apple instead. I do not think the slight (and I mean slight) calorie intake would put weight on?

    Let me know what you think of the above (honestly!).

    Keep me posted on nutrition in long runs.


  • Thanks for the pointers Ruth.

    That all sounds good, and I will try and make the adjustment over the coming weeks. I do have a sweet tooth, so if there are any sweeties about the house they are a temptation! Luckily all the Christmas goodies are nearly gone!!!
  • Hey Alex.....sounds like you had a really good 20 miler at the weekend. What I would do for that pace come Paris. I wished I still lived in London so I could enjoy the Royal Parks and Embankment. How much of a difference do you notice if doing a 20 mile run with and without gels? Is it a noticeable difference for you? I'm going to start using gels on all my training runs now to replicate what I want to do on race day.

    Good luck with week 5!

  • Thanks for the feedback Steve.  I won't go on a diet but will try to cut out the sweet stuff! 

    Had a day off today.  I've been mentally geared up to run every day in January (with easy runs on 'rest' days) but yesterday's effort must have taken more out of me than I thought because I've been pretty tired today and decided the body needed a complete rest.    If I'm honest the weather probably clinched the decision but I'm feeling good about it!

  • Just a quick catchup after a busy day yesterday.

    Badbark - I think a lot will depend upon conditions on Sunday, if there's snow and ice I think any hopes of a fast run might go out the window. I had hoped to have a go at my PB if all was good.

    KR - Good work on the XC. I've only done a few, but just look at them as good hard training sessions as never going to hit the same pace as I would on the road for the distance.

  • Hi Ady,

    Will come and post this on your page but thought I'd reply here too. The 20 was good thanks, really pleased with how it went. I like the route too, but have to get down there early on Sunday, before 10am, otherwise its a nightmare with traffic having to stop at roads and dodging people.

    For me, I really notice a difference when I had each gel. After about 15 - 20 minutes post taking one I got a little bit of a kick for about 15 -20 minutes. I don't use anything normally on my longer runs, just water, so guess I may notice a bit more of a difference than if I had been used to re fueling mid run. I'm going to go back to runs without fuel now and just have 1 more test run with the same gels in another month to make sure they are ok with me. I want my body to be used to using its own reserves so when I do take a gel during the race it has a noticeable effect.

  • Today's scheduled run - 6 x 1000m in 3.35 starting every 6 minutes. 7 miles total.

    Was lacking a bit of motivation to get out the door for my reps session! But knew once I got going it would be ok, so dragged myself out the door and got it done!

    Headed up the the Emirates stadium to do the reps, I use the run up there of about 1.75 miles to warm up and go over a few drills to get ready for the fast stuff. 

    Again really pleased with today's run. The first 3 reps felt quite comfortable, I then had to work a bit harder progressively on the last 3, but was never at a point where it was extreme effort.

    Splits were - 3.30, 3.30, 3.28, 3.34, 3.32, 3.30. Pretty consistent and evenly paced. I only took 2 minutes jog rest between reps as found after 1 minute I felt good to start the next rep. I think I could have carried on and done 2 or 3 more at that pace before starting to slow.

    I then jogged the 1.75 miles home as my cool down, this felt good as well, felt worked, but not knackered! Total run of 8.5 miles.

  • Another quality workout AW. Nice one.

    Shady_Ady: " I'm going to start using gels on all my training runs now to replicate what I want to do on race day. "

    There are much more qualified people to reply on this (eg Ruth) but using gels on all runs does seem excessive. I now only use them (and sparingly) on long LSR's and the occasional very tough speed session. I just fuel beforehand on proper food and get by fine with water. Performance wise this means I get the "kick" from the gel that AW refers to and also, I think, trains the body to rely on existing fat stores.  

  • Getting stronger there AW. Consistency is always a key factor in these kind of sessions and like Steve has said before, there is no point flying out of the blocks on the first one or two only to be suffering on the pace at the end of the session.

    I'm more of a tarmac lover AW, although i can see the benefit of using XC as training and for leg strength.

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