The Road to Paris - On a Plateau - Asics Target 26.2 Training

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

    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!

  • Cat, I wouldn't do another 20 miler on Friday. You would have time to recover, but it's so close to your previous one. Why not just downsize it a bit - say 17, and try to run a negative split? With 2 20 milers and a good batch of other long runs, you are well set up now for your marathon. Enjoy skiing!

  • DS2 wrote (see)
    Hey guys, looks like you are all going well. Malcs - that's a cracking run. It was awful weather yesterday. I did 10 before taking eldest daughter to hockey. Have been roped into playing hockey myself today - in goal! First game for a year and its the Kent Cup Semi final!!! Won't even get to play in final since same day as my marathon.

    Finally got to watch the training day video. Ady - you are looking very comfortable. I'm backing you for sub 3:30 mate!

    Hey DS2....how did the semi-final go? Hopefully you lead your team in to the final! I always played in goal when I was younger. Unfortunately I stopped growing when I was 12 and watched everyone else continue their growth spurts! I still managed to play to a half decent level. But then University came and football took a back seat and was replaced by oher enjoyments that living away from parents brings!

    When I walked on to the pitch I'd often get ridiculed by the other team's fans for my height, who'd normally stand behind my goal. The most popular comment would be, 'I'm glad they cut the grass today, otherwise we'd never see him.' Each time it was said, people would roll about laughing as though it was the funniest thing they'd ever heard. Shame I'd heard it week in week out for weeks beforehand!

    Thanks for your positive comments. I definitely haven't been in such  a great position before to run a marathon and it would be amazing if a sub 3:30 was the final icing on the cake. But I still have to stay focused as to not end up like the favourite of the Grand National and fall at the last hurdle!

  • Clive Kelty wrote (see)

    Hi Ady,

    Sorry for not posting, but been keeping up with things especialy on Garmin. I am certain you will go sub 3:30 with ease, especaily as you have got through the training so well, and realtively niggle free. Love the pics from the Spitfire- sounded like a fun day. I won't mention the rugby, particularly as I stopped watching Scotland play for Lent (well belatedly after the welsh game 2 weeks ago but my blood pressure couldn't cope with the constant striving to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory) How do you think you will get on with the taper, as so many people seem to get really twitched about it?

    Hi Clive....not a problem about not posting. I'm impressed you have time to post on here at all, let alone run as much as you do with your job. 

    Luckily, the rugby is already forgotten, even with the few Welsh in the office enjoying their moment of victory today!

    I actually think I'll do ok with the taper. I was originally thinking I'd struggle. I've only ever done 1 week tapers before and by taper, I mean a complete halt to running for the week leading up to the marathon. This just meant I went through days of itchy feet and days of feeling all heavy and lethargic. Looking at the taper Sam has me doing, it's not like this at all........I run just as often, but not as far, so it won't feel like the taper's I've done in the past.

    How do you normally cope with ther tapers?

    I'm actually looking forward to the next 2 weekends where Mrs. Shady Ady doesn't have to deal with the whole weekend planned around my runs. It should make for a nice Easter weekend. Not that I'd be happy every weekend not having a long run! Any more than 2 weeks and I'd definitely start to miss it!image

  • sarah osborne wrote (see)

    Hi Ady, I had a good run today, I did the first half at an average pace of 8:24 m/m (alittle bit quicker than planned, but ok) and the second half at 7:27 min/ml (again a little quicker than planned but I felt great all the way round and my legs still do).

    I found the carbo loading really difficult, I felt like I didnt stop eating all day and if I hadnt gone to tescos and used alittle bit of energy up I dont know if I could have even ate my tea...its paid of though....or something has, so I will certainly be doing it again pre london. Will you be doing it for two days for paris or just the one? How did your run go today? did you manage to do it off road with all the rain and snow that we have had? I hope you had a good one and are ready for the taper image

    Sarah........I have to say........that is quite impressive times for your 20 mile run at the weekend. I actually feel quite humble that we are both going for sub 3:30 as I don't think I'm good enough to be placed in the same bracket as you. Your speed is intimidating, especially the average pace of your last 10 miles. I'd certainly struggle to have kept that pace for the last 10 miles.

    It's interesting that you found the carbo-load difficult as well. I think for me it was just a case of not being use to eating that quantity of food every day, even when running my highest mileage.  I'll be doing it for 2 days, so there should be no excuses for lacking energy when I line up on the start line.

    My run was very pleasing thanks........15 miles at MP pace. By the end my legs were tiring slightly, but I'm sure I could have kept the pace going for slightly longer. It's mentally pleasing to know I can keep MP for 15 miles with no gels, carbo-loading or taper. 

    When is your longest LSR......will it be this week or next?

  • Mike Sheridan wrote (see)

    Ady - no not Paris.

    I am running the Boston Marathon on 15th April which will be my first attempt after getting the qualifying times last year. Based on your training and racing times, I reckon you should hit your target in Paris if you execute your plan - no kamikase stuff in the 1st half, and you'll be fine.image 

    All the best for Boston Mike. My Boston experience is right up there with all my marathon memories. It's such an amazing race - the history, the prestige. I ran it through the 'back door' and through Sports Tours International as I never thought I'd ever be quick enough to qualify for real. This training plan has opened my eyes though to how much more potential a person has if they do things correctly, stay focused and committed........plus if I break 3:30 in Paris or afterwards, I'll need a new challenge to aim for! Don't tell Mrs. Shady Ady though - she still thinks I'm going to cut down on the running if I make 3:30 and dedicate more time to other duties (the kind that come in small bundles, have two arms and two legs, and normally cry a lot!).

    It's funny you say about not going kamikaze........it will take all my will power not to do this and do the opposite of every single race I've ever ran before this training started!

    If I remember correctly, around the wall of sound (screaming girls from a local college) at the Boston Marathon, there is a normally a group of youg ladies offering free hugs and kisses to the runners.............I was so set on getting a new PB, I missed the opportunity!

  • cat.on.mat wrote (see)

    Hi

    Ady, thanks for your advice a while back about setting a Gold, Silver and Bronze target - I really like that idea.  My Gold is definitely to complete London marathon in under 4 hours; Silver is probably 4:15, and Bronze is just to get round.  Can I get the advice of this forum about my next few weeks. My LSRs over the last few weeks have been: 8 Feb - 18 miles - avg 9:06 m/m 15 Feb - 16 miles - avg 8:39 m/m 22 Feb - 18 miles - avg 8:52 m/m 3 Mar - 20 miles (Spitfire) avg 8:51 m/m 8 Mar - 9.5 miles (pouring with rain) - avg 9:10 m/m (hilly) 15 Mar - 20 miles - avg 9:00 m/m   I can do a LSR this Friday (22nd), then am off skiing for a week.  When I get back, there will be 3 weeks to the marathon, so I won't be doing any more long runs - following the advice on the forum.  So the question is; should I try to do another 20 miles this Friday, or something different?  I have been watching your distances and times get longer and faster, and can see that your focused training schedule has really paid dividends.  Best of luck with Paris; I'm sure that you wll hit your target. Cat

    Hey Cat! I'm glad Sam responded to your query about running a 20 miler before I had the chance image. It's hard not to think you need to run more and more every week when what you really need is an easier session in order not to over do and create more chances of injury, while not getting any extra benefits from the training.

    Good luck with your LSR this Friday. A week of skiing sounds like quality cross-training. I'm very jealous.

  • Malcs wrote (see)

    Sounds like a sensible plan. How did it pan out today? Weather wasn't great again. 

    Legs are not too bad but there's often a day's delay before it hits so we'll see tomorrow. Planning a slooow one if all is ok.  I have been trying to stretch much more in these latter stages of training but mostly I'm pretty crap. I certainly don't stretch every day - only really after runs or if something is troubling me. I made sure to do plenty immediately after running yesterday though. We didn't do much of a stretch after Spitfire and I really felt it in the afternoon and the following day (I blame the lure of the bacon baps). Don't you find it makes a huge difference if you don't stretch immediately after running?

    Hey Malcs..........It didn't pan out too badly to be honest. I manasged MP for all my mileage, which was a huge bonus. As I had 15 minutes to get ready by the time my run finished, before heading out for a friend's birthday, I didn't have any time for stretching. Boy do I regret that today...........luckily there were a few Reading Half Marathon runners where I work, so I didn't look so out of place with my slight hobbling about.

    I do blame bacon baps for not stretching after Spitfire.....they'd not be any at the end of Paris, as stretching will be the last thing no my mind. 

    As un-masculine as it sounds, I do find stretching makes an enormous difference. I still might not have the guts to do outside my offices after a run, but I do make sure I do some in the privacy of my shower cubicle before having my shower. Foam rollering has also been another huge benefit of training so far. I thought a foam roller was something my gran would put in her hair 14 weeks ago!

  • Malcs wrote (see)

    Ady - great to hear that you nailed the final long run. Nice job! Have to say you had me laughing with your run in with Mr Lonsdale. I can almost smell the fear from here image

    Last week, running through the park in Ladywell,  I had a similar encounter with a rastafarian gentleman. He was on a bike and like you I overtook him only to find him coming right back at me. He was muttering all sorts of weird things as he passed. Luckily he didn't loiter! He was drinking lucozade though so maybe he was in training?

    I wasn't sure if my 23 was a big mistake or not. Feel ok today but the day after is usually the acid test.

    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.

  • 3:30 or bust wrote (see)

    Good Luck Shady

    As you can tell from my name 3.30 was always my dream closest I ever came was 3.42 Looking back how I wish I had taken that time and built on it for the next one I am sure I could have done it. Will be following this to see how you get on

    Hi 3:30 or bust...............I like the forum name! Very ideal....I wish I'd gone for something like that now! I think we must be very similar. My PB before Paris is currently 3:44. 

    I do think though to make such a drastic improvement in just one marathon it has to be the focus of your existence for 16 weeks. That's what I've learnt. Before this, I'd work my running around my social life and everyhting else. This time around though I've worked everything around my running, which is why I think I've seen the improvements I have so far.

    Have you been tempted to go for sub 3:30 again? Are you training for a marathon currently? If you have ran 3:42, then surely a sub 3:30 is definitely within reach? I hope you make it one day.

  • 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 weeksimage 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?image 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 image.

  • 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!

  • 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 image

    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!

  • 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 image

    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 earlierimage. 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!

  • 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? image

    ...I'll get my coat. image

  • 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  
  • 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. 

  • 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

  • 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? image

    ...I'll get my coat. image

    image............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!

  • 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.

  • 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!
  • 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 image)

    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?!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 image

    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!

  • 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. 

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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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