Cobbles & Red Wine - Sarah’s Paris Marathon Plan: Sub 3:35



  • Hi RRR

    Back again, sorry about that!

    Can I suggest you introduce either the pearl barley or quinoa not both at once. Give yourself three days of a trial on one before trying the other one in case stomach plays up. You can still have sweet potato.

     Also I have some questions (which you may or may not want to discuss on forum!). What exactly where the symptoms of the cous cous- was it the same for bread? For example: did you have a lot of gas and/or bloating or diarrhoea or constipation or pain in tummy?

    Also do have any history of problems of iron. Perhaps low iron levels (this would only show with a blood test you may have had) or/& any history of IBS, food allergies or intolerances with you or in the family? I am seeing you next weekend in Birmingham so can discuss with me face to face if do not want to write details on here!

    My issue with your level of carbs is how am I going to help fuel you before the actual marathon – would you try a gluten and wheat free pasta or even bread?

    Even though I appear to be nagging about the carbs, you have lots of positives in your diet – the colour is great which means the antioxidants level is going to be high, the fibre intake etc all fab but worry when the miles increase problems with fatigue may set in.


  • RRR like the late night story run. Ice and snow here is making it fun to run!!! Managing to stay upright by going cross country to work in the Speedcross 3s, sorry Asics sponsored site couldn't find any Asics in my town for fell running!!!
    Try some Gluten free Bread RRR if you have issues with bread. Warburtons is the best one sold in the a Coeliac I get my bread on prescription a Glutafin one. Easy to digest and will give you some carbs. Happy running stay safe.

  • Evening Steve Marathon Coach,

    Yes – I definitely felt a bit achy this morning – think I had to work extra hard on the snow! I took today as a rest day with the intention of swapping it with tomorrow’s session but my left knee is a little stiff, so I may take tomorrow as a rest day too depending on how it feels. It’s not sore or tender when I move or run, just was stiff when I woke up this morning or sat for long periods at work today.

  • Evening Derrick!

    Yes was definitely too icy to try and get any speed up outside in this weather! How funny – I’ve done the same as you – took today as my rest day instead of the 7 miles.

    With regards to injuries, I’ve got a bit of a stiff left knee. Has just come on today which is why I took it as a rest day. I’m going to see how I feel tomorrow and maybe miss out the 7 miles session if it’s still a bit stiff. It’s not tender or sore, just stiff but I’m taking that as a warning sign. Had a cold bath after my long run yesterday and straight into compression gear. Will ice it tomorrow although I’m hoping it’ll be fine tomorrow morning.

    How about you? Hope you're managing to stay injury-free!

  • Evening Ruth!

    Had a quick check on the orange squash and it contains 0.4g of sugar per serving but it’s probably packed full of aspartame and other artificial sweeteners. Do you want me to add orange juice (or any other fruit juice) into my diet? I eat quite a few oranges but I can add this in if you think it’ll be of benefit?

    I’ll buy the quinoa and pearl barley tomorrow and give them a trial … have no excuse not to now with all the yummy-sounding recipes!

    The cous cous made me very bloated feeling for a couple of hours and then I was ravenous after about an hour and a half. I also had to make a couple of toilet stops mid run … I have a lot of well-placed pubs around here! The bar staff probably just see a neon blur, then the toilet door swings shut! I did have stomach pain but didn’t really associate that with the cous cous although in reflection, it was probably the cause. It is fairly similar symptoms to what I get when I eat bread so I tend to avoid that although I still eat cake as a treat on rare occasions!!

    Any time I’ve had blood tests, my iron has been fine. I’ve also donated blood on a few occasions and never had any problems although maybe they only test for blood sugar … can’t quite remember ..! There have been tummy issues running in the family (cough, cough, RunningForChocolate!!) and my grandparents had bowel cancer although I’m not sure that this is related.

    I’ve tried wheat-free bread but didn’t have a lot of success which made me wonder whether yeast was a trigger too … I ended up just cutting bread out and wheaty type things as it was the easiest option! (Or the lazy option!) I’m quite happy to scoff sweet potatoes every day … or swede if this counts!

  • Evening MCS!

    Yes the snow is definitely making the training … interesting! But I LOVE how the snow sounds under my trainers! J You’re a bit further North than me … have you got much snow? We had an inch or so more earlier and the media are predicting panic buying and snow doom as usual … but it makes everything look gorgeous and it definitely makes my usual running routes a bit more fun!

    I’ll have a look for the Warburtons bread tomorrow in my pearl barley and quinoa hunt. I had a look around a Warburtons factory a couple of months ago … it smelled AMAZING!! All fresh bread and crumpets!

  • Food Diary 17th January

    Breakfast: ½ cup porridge oats made with water with dash of milk, 2 teaspoons sugar.

    Lunch: Pub lunch! J Bacon and chicken salad with no dressing; lettuce, red onions, red, green and yellow peppers and cucumber.

    Tea: Water chestnut stirfry with added mushrooms. 1 x large sweet potato.

    Snacks: 1 tablespoon of mixed dried fruit, 1 large orange, 3 x choc chip cookies. Handful of Doritos stolen from boyfriend’s unattended open bag.

    Drinks: 2 pints of orange squash, 3 cups of tea, 1 glass of tap water. 1 vodka and slimline tonic (slapped wrist!)

    Exercise: None (resting a stiff knee)

  • Week 5, Day 3

    Goal: 8 miles steady 8:30 – 9 min/mile.

    Actual : 9 miles at 8:50 min/mile.


    This was a hard run for 3 reasons:

    • I’d had a double session today as I’d had to complete intervals from the session yesterday at lunchtime.
    • It was very cold – it took me about 5.5 miles to warm up despite thermals and wearing 4 layers!
    • Lots of ice and snow made the roads and paths treacherous.


    This was a good run for these reasons:

    • I didn’t look at the pace on the Garmin as I didn’t want to feel I had to up the pace in these conditions. I ran to what felt comfortable ... and safe!
    • It was beautiful! There was hoar frost all over the trees and the snow made satisfying crunching noises as I ran over it.
    • My pace was in the right range!! See Steve Marathon Coach – all I need is a bit of snow and my pacing sorts itself out!

    Distance: 9.05 miles (Accidentally added another mile on thinking I had another mile to make up from yesterday)

    Time: 1:19:55

    Average Pace: 8:50 min/mile  









  • Less sugar in your porridge today?

    Im buying my eggs tomorrow to make the banana pancakes image

    They only test your iron when you give blood, if that helps image

  • Loving the looks so deserted

  • Evening Sarah!

    You noticed ...!! I'm cutting sugar down but very ... very ... slowly!! I keep meaning to just use cinnamon like I used to but I get to THAT time in the morning and my body is shouting "SUGAR!!!" at me so I give in. I do have a rather mushy looking banana in the fruit bowl so maybe tomorrow is Banana Porridge day!! image

    Oh yum!! Have you got peanut butter too? I keep meaning to try peanut butter on the pancakes too. Also I think they taste better with salt rather than sugar ...! They are totally yummy and obviously there's no rubbish in them!

    Ooh yes - re blood tests - that does help! Thanks! image

    It was SO quiet last night on the run! It was only about 8.30 - 10pm so not late. Usually there are loads of people around but it was mainly dog walkers and cyclists last night! I guess because the temperatures dropped so much!

    How's your training going? Have you spotted any more wildlife recently?image

  • A nice snowy Monsal Trail this am, just my prints in the snow and the odd badger and fox prints to see, nice and steady as bit of ice underneath on some bits but really nice to run in the snow, toughens up the ankles and calves.  Go steady on those pavements, we are able to run off road round here so can avoid the icy bits. Be careful running out there on those lonely you use a head torch or are there street lights everywhere, we have to use head torches round here as no street lights.

    Happy weekend all.image

  • Hi RRR

    Your symptoms do sound like a true intolerance to a food/s but what exactly that food is would be useful to identify. I think wheat & gluten at this stage should be avoided (so not just wheat free (as mentioned above) it should read gluten and wheat free) as you are already doing but yeast is in lots of foods not just bread including dressings such as mayo or anything with vinegar usually so may be the amount that is the problem in bread but suggest try mcs suggestion and if issues with that, cut the bread completely for now!

    Do you really not like rice or even rice cakes? If you cannot take the gluten/wheat free bread it could be something else as you have already suggested.

    If family history of more sinister issues with bowels I would just be very aware of the signs of bowel cancer and go get a check with your doctor  if feel at any stage you are concerned about your  bowels such as change in bowel habits (which will have likely  changed as you lost weight due to diet not anything else)but other things like stomach pain(although not just after eating certain foods), bleeding from your bum, unexplained weight loss (yours is explained – hard work on your part!), tiredness being dizzy (no signs of this, you appear a bundle of energy) etc . I am not at all suggesting your symptoms are these but just for you to be aware (as you probably are).

    You are doing great with your training.


  • MalcsMalcs ✭✭✭
    RunnyRunRun wrote (see)

    Evening Malcs!

    Woo!! That’s fab!! How many people in the Bootcampers team? Did you go for 5 in the end? Got a lap target in mind?

    I don’t know how they’ve set up the campsite this year … so long as I’m reasonably close to the loos and the tent selling jellybeans it’s all good!image Am just going to take it easy and enjoy it … so long as I manage more than 4 laps I’ll be happy!

    The bootcamp team will be 6-8. I think there's a bit of fear of the unknown with everyone aiming for 3 or 4 laps. 

    You should easily do 4 laps. Come on, that's less than a marathon and you have rests in between. Level with me here, you're just playing it down aren't you? image

    I did 6 laps last year and I'd like to do 7 or 8 this year. The way you are going you should manage 6 no problem and probably a few more. Taking it easy and enjoying it is the way to go. What is your running partner aiming for?

  • Hi Sarah. Ive got a sweet tooth so I would prefer the sugar to the salt (hate salt) however we dont have any sugar in the house, its something ive never really used (can tell I dont bake much). I had honey on my porridge this morning...banana pancakes in the morning i think image

    Ive never tried peanut not sure if I would like to be honest, the thought of trying it turns my stomach. I like nutella though....would that be ok instead?

    I saw loads of pheasants on the moors on sunday (never knew that they made such a loud and awful noise before) and I have seen a kestral but apart from that nothing else really as ive done alot of my runs at the gym this week due to the weather. How about you? Did you see Africa this week.....I cant believe that hippos and elephants love the seaside too...would have the fright of my life if either came towards me whilst I was sunbathing!

    With regards to whether your gluten intolerant you could ask your doctor to do a coeliac screen which is just a blood test....there are some false negatives though but least its an easy test to do...could always ask for your iron/ferritin to be checked at the same time if your curious!

  • Evening MCS,

    That sounds a lovely run! I’m not sure I’d recognise a badger print although I see a lot of deer prints when I run in Gloucestshire … in the mud though rather than the snow! Yes – tonight’s run was definitely a good workout for the ankles and calves … could definitely feel myself working harder!

    I sometimes use a headtorch, but I don’t often bother if I’m running where there are streetlights. I’ve just ordered a new one today – is apparently a really bright one and can be used as a bike or a head lamp which sounds good. I haven’t had any joy tracking down an Alpkit Gamma so thought I’d give this one a go. I’ll let you know if it’s any good as it was only £12ish.

  • Evening Ruth!

    I’ll try the wheat and gluten free bread if you insist J I don’t really miss bread now (although I did when I first cut it out) but if you think this is the best source of carbs I’ll definitely give it a go. I haven’t had any luck getting to the shops today – blame the snow! Although of course the snow didn’t put me off the run …!

    Rice is ok and I’ll have a small amount  when I have a Chinese meal but I’m not really too bothered about eating it. I had it this evening (25g boiled) but it’s not something that I look forward to eating!

    Thank you very much for the advice re bowel problems. I will keep an eye on everything and make sure I speak to a doctor if I have any symptoms out of the ordinary.

  • Evening Malcs!

    I was in a team of 8 last year and ended up with 4 laps … but it’s not just 4 runs – it’s 4 races!!image I’ll have to make sure I go as slow as I possibly can this year to conserve energy, but I love running and sometimes it’s difficult to go slow. What’s the point unless you feel like a Labrador hanging it’s head out of the window??!image

    Wow – 6 laps last year! How did you find it? I enjoyed the night runs but I like running at night anyway … just not usually at 2am! My running partner suggested doing it as a pair and I think is now regretting even mentioning it … I think he’ll probably end up doing 30 miles and I’ll keep going until I drop. Probably 3 laps then?image

  • Evening Sarah!

    I went to have my Banana Porridge this morning and my swine of a boyfriend had swiped the last banana. I’m going to get the sharpie out in a minute and write “Sarah’s Banana” on every single one I bought today … (Is Sharpie poisoning something you’ve diagnosed before?image

    Ooh I like the thought of Nutella on the pancakes – good call!

    Yes – pheasants sound like someone’s trodden on a chicken. I always think that a fox’s bark sounds like a woman’s scream too. Quite odd if you heard it at night! I didn’t see Africa – there are hippos and elephants at the seaside??!! I don’t care what anyone says I’m not sharing my ice cream! Even if the person asking is grey and weighs 11 tons …

  • Food Diary 18th January

    Breakfast: ½ cup porridge oats made with water with dash of milk, 3 teaspoons sugar.

    Lunch: Bowl of spinach and 30g stilton.

    Tea: 25g of white rice boiled and a portion of chilli shredded beef (Woo hoo - it’s takeaway night!!)

    Snacks: 25g dried fruit, teaspoon of nutella, teaspoon of penut butter (nabbed while making my 3 year old a sandwich!), half a punnet of grapes, a babybel, a small packet of buttons, 2 x cookies.

    Drinks: 4 x coffee with small amount of semi-skimmed milk, 4 pints of orange squash.

    Exercise: 20 minute walk in the snow. 1.5 hours house cleaning. 7 mile run in the snow.


  • Week 5, Day 5

    Goal: 7 miles with middle 3 at half marathon pace

    Actual: 7 miles at an average of 10.07 min/mile … unable to speed up to HM pace on the middle 3 miles due to deep snow.


    I knew that this session was going to be slightly different than the one scheduled due to the amount of snow that came down today. It was a beautiful day, but not one designed for moving at speed.

    I decided that I’d aim to go out and get the miles in. Even if the paths were too treacherous to change paces at least the whole run would be at a higher intensity than usual due to the ankle deep snow.


    The light of the snow meant that tonight I could reclaim one of my favourite routes which is usually lost to me in winter due to its darkness and loneliness. It's beautiful and crosses muddy trails, gravel paths, several bridges, fields, lanes pavements and canal paths all in 3 miles. I would add on a 4 mile route through a housing estate but the first 3 miles would be a treat.

    It was a GOOD run. Not good in terms of pace, nor in terms of fitting into my training schedule but just a run on one of those days that it is good to be a runner and to be able to run on.



    It was a sensory run. No audiobook tonight. I was listening to the crunch and creak of snow under my shoes – who knew that snow creaks when you run on it? Smelling the grey, dusty smell of wood smoke and seeing the yellow light from the barges on the canal. Feeling the cold brush of the snow on my skin.



    I ran on and into the housing estate and there was a fox in the road. He stopped and looked at me as though considering whether I was worth running from. A bark from a dog up the road made up his mind and he flowed smoothly across the road and into the hedge.

    The snow was loose and powdery and there was almost no ice at all. My calves were burning from the extra work as it was like running on dry sand. With every step, the ground shifted and moved and I left a trail of deep footprints behind me.


    Car drivers crawling their vehicles up the road craned their necks as I passed as if they couldn't believe someone was running today. I ran on.

    Garmin Info Here



  • Evening Steve Marathon Coach

    I'm a bit concerned about managing 16 miles in the snow at 8:30 - 9 minute/mile pace on Sunday. Can I change this to a 2 hour run, please? I think that the 16 miles would probably take me that time at goal pace on a normal surface but it might take me 3 hours in snow! What would you recommend?

  • well done on doing the run and good photos. I enjoyed running on the snow today so it was a bit slow

  • Hi yes just do 2 hours

  • Hi RRR, I love running in the snow. In some ways it's ironic as you can still go out for a run in XC shoes on the pavement or across the fields. Although the pace might not be what you want, the ability to get out and across snowy fields, more than makes up for it. Like the photos you have posted!

  • Evening Steve Marathon Coach,

    Thanks! Knee stiffness seems to have completely disappeared too which is good. Glad you managed to get a snow run in too - is definitely a different sort of running, isn't it?

  • Evening Knight Rider!

    It was SO nice! Thought it might be a pain to have to run in the snow but it was really, really good. Much harder work than I expected though - had to work a lot harder than with the ice on Wednesday! It feels very similar to running on sand, doesn't it. Imagine how fit we'd all be if we could fit in a 5 mile beach run every week! image

  • I think tomorrow morning (I say tomorrow as it is tomorrow already!) will be an ideal time to get those XC shoes on and get out on the soft snow on the pavements. Pace on these kind of runs is irrelevant, more a time on feet (and enjpyment). Last night' when I went out, although it had snowed a bit there was still quite a bit from the days before. Luckily, some of the pavements had been gritted, so I used that as a partial fartleck session - gritted run fast - snow, slow!

  • Surely running in snow is worth twice as much as running on the road (similar to off road running) due to the increased effort required????

    In all my years of working as a doctor I've seen some odd things but not "sharpie poisoning"....always a first time for everything though. The words never and always don't apply to medicine!

    I didnt manage to get my eggs yesterday for my banana pancakes but I don't have much planned for today now that my in laws aren't coming it's a trip to tescos this pm and an experimental tea!

    Africa should be on's fabulous....don't think you will have an option to not share your ice cream if that hippo on it came towards you!
  • Hi there Sarah/ Runny

    Very busy this week! Yes, I am training for the Manchester Mathathon in April and hoping for sub 3.45 - 40. I have been working on my endurance for months because I feel it will help me to maintain my speed, and also I really love long runs. I have a 10k race tomorrow - pity me. I will just have to try not to start too fast as I think that is my big mistake in shorter races.

    I love quinoa by the way - you have reminded me to go and buy some.

    Best wishes


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