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



  • Week 8, Day 7 

    Goal: 13 miles at 8 – 8:30 min/mile

    Actual: 13.26 miles at 8 min/mile

    Sunday afternoon and it had been driving rain and blowing a gale all day. I knew that at some point I would have to get out in it and run. For at least an hour and a half. Luckily Little Sis was around and I could guilt trip her into coming for a run in the rain too. Misery loves company. Or at least, I feel less miserable when there’s someone else as dripping wet as me.

    I’d chosen a route that followed the cycle paths from Weymouth to Portland. The path was a disused railway line which cuts through the centre of the streets, but which was self-contained and looked scenic and secluded. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon run even if the rain was coming down horizontally.

    I planned to start at the train station next to Weymouth Harbour, run to Portland via the causeway which is Chesil Beach and then back again. I’d originally wanted to add a loop of Portland on the end but I’d decided to save that for another day when I would be in less danger of being blown off a sheer cliff edge by gale force winds.


    When I got to Weymouth, the weather wasn’t too bad at all. The first mile or so was uphill to an old stone railway bridge and then it was a gentle downhill for what felt like 2 miles. The old railway line was high above the town so I could look down on the roofs of houses and across to the harbour. And see the ruined castle at on the hill at Sandsfoot and the masts of fishing boats.


    There was a gentle slope down to Chesil Beach which passed lines of rowing boats in a small harbour and finished conveniently outside a pub … but I didn’t stop. To get to Portland I ran along the grassy track on the causeway along the left of the road for a while but the path was flooded and marshy so in the interests of dry feet I changed to the pavements.


    The rain had been drizzling fairly lightly but steadily, but with the wind at my back and sunshine from over the top of the pebbled beach on my right, it was good to run. I looked to the left out across the causeway and towards Weymouth and a rainbow arced high into the sky. Because of where I was running with the sun on my right my shadow stretched out long across the road and to the exact centre of the rainbow. It was a perfect running moment.


    It was such a nice run that I’d struggled to keep the pace down to the 8 – 8.30 minute mile … and when I got to Portland and turned around I realised why. I’d been running downhill, with the wind at my back practically the whole way. The way back was a rude wake up call and with the rain driving into my face and the wind blowing against me as I came back up the hill, I edged back into the correct pacing zone.

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  • hi sarah.....we could do the 20 mile pub crawl after paris to help us organise peru!

    I would love to get a sub 20 before the end of year...think thats going to be what I will be concentrating on after VLM before I restart marathon training for York!

    Im glad to hear that you toe surrendered!

    Sounds like you had another good run, 13 miles at MP if excellent. Love the pic with the rainbow.

    What time are you aiming for at the weekend?
  • I passed a few runners, all looking fairly damp and windswept and lots of dog walkers all of whom seemed to own Springer Spaniels which were running around with something in their mouths and looking wet. It’s the Springer Spaniel law that they must not pass water without leaping into it. Well, that’s what they tell their owners anyway.



    I got to the top of the hill and enjoyed the run back down to the harbour which had been my starting point. I decide to add some more miles onto the run by going around Radipole Lake which has a nice cycle path around the edge. It’s flat and streetlit although it’s a bit boring with only a road up a high verge to the left and high reeds and a fence on the right. I only had 4 miles or so to make up so I thought I’d go this way and take advantage of a traffic free route.



    Coming out from under a bridge, I met a couple of cyclists riding 2 abreast on the path. The one in front of me looked me straight in the eye as he rode me off the path and made me jump out of his way onto the verge. Charming but I didn’t think too much of it. 99% of people are runner-friendly. Hopefully this one was a lone idiot.



    I turned right off of the cycle path and onto the waterside paths and ran around the edge of the island. There were tall reeds and a pavilion and I was kept occupied by dodging and hopping over the large puddles on the dirt path. It’s amazing how the time flies if your mind is occupied and if you really, really don’t want wet feet.

    3 miles to go. I crossed the final bridge and came out onto a dimly lit car park. I timed the traffic lights just right and managed to cross the road without slowing too much. Onto the pavement and past a petrol station and … the same two cyclists.

    The cyclist who had ridden me off the path was now on the left and as they came towards me he cycled straight at me with his right arm out blocking my path. I leapt aside into the brick wall on my left and narrowly avoided having tyre tracks up my face and turned around to say something when I witnessed him go full tilt into the phone box behind me. 

    There was a big crash and he hit it full on. He stood up briefly and then fell over onto his bike and onto the bike of his friend who had pulled up beside him and he had a seizure. I ran back to check on him as he was on top of both of the bikes and I was worried he was going to cut himself on the gears, but his friend was adamant we shouldn’t move him even off of the bikes. Luckily a lady came over who had witnessed it and who was happy to take charge. I handed over my gloves and buff to put under his head to cushion him and to stem the bleeding. An ambulance arrived very quickly – thank goodness for big towns and that was the end of that. Buff was binned due to the blood on it and it was time to run on.

    I wasn’t sure whether he had a seizure because he had bumped his head so hard or whether him cycling into me was part of his seizure. Think it might be time for me to have a first aid course as next time there might not be a lady around to take charge.</p

  • There was 2.5 miles still to go but I decided that it was probably time to have a coffee and catch up with my sister who had been waiting in a pub on her own for me to finish my run. Granted there are much worse places to wait. I ran the last bit to the pub a bit too quick but just made it into my allotted pace. It’s amazing the incentive a pub can give.

    I had a coffee and a coke at the pub and gave Little Sis the praise that her new 10k PB deserved (Under an hour! Woo woo!!) and dried out a bit. I decided I couldn’t leave 2.5 miles undone (I was under the impression that Steve Marathon Coach might count waiting for an ambulance as an unscheduled rest and didn’t want to risk the wrathimage ) so did a couple of laps along the promenade and back to the car to make it up to 13.26.


    Distance: 13.26 miles total

    Time: 01:45:49


    Pre-cyclist stop:

    10.5 miles


    avg pace 8.00 min/mile

    Garmin Info Part 1


    Post-cyclist stop:

    2.76 miles


    avg pace 7:55 min/mile

    Garmin Info Part 2

  • Evening Sarah!

    Pub crawl while organising Peru sounds a good plan! I need to maintain the long runs for Thunder Run ... as do you!! image

    I think this weekend, I’m going to be maintaining a steady pace so probably going to look at doing around the same time as my last half at about 7:30 min/mile to come in just under 1:40.

    When is York marathon?

  • Week  9, Day 2

    Goal: 7 mile build up run starting at 9s down to 7s

    Actual: 8 mile build up run starting at 9s down to 7s ish plus 0.91mile cooldown


    Note: I swapped Tuesday and Thursday sessions around this week.


    Bliss. This run was completely uneventful apart from a sausage fingers moment when programming the Garmin which meant I added on an additional mile to build up to so ended up with 8 miles instead of 7.

    I used my new headtorch which I’d bought from eBay and which was unbelievably bright. Love it. £16 including postage and it was lighting up street signs half a mile down the road.

    Didn’t feel 100% on this run but my 3 year old has been poorly for the last few days so I hoping I’m not coming down with anything.  However, as a treat for getting the pacing bang on I had a bit of a blast on the last mile.


    Distance: 8.91 miles

    Time: 1:12:47


    Mile 1: 9:01 min/mile

    Mile 2: 8:44 min/mile

    Mile 3: 8:30 min/mile

    Mile4: 8:16 min/mile

    Mile 5: 7:58 min/mile

    Mile 6: 7:44 min/mile

    Mile 7: 7:28 min/mile

    Mile 8: 6:46 min/mile


    Mile 9 cooldown at 8:15 min/mile

  • Ahem! It was 10K in 55mins ACTUALLYimage

    And I heard on the grapevine your little sis is hoping for your old head torch...

    hint... hint....image Seriously, it was a good run - well done!! 

  • yes very eventful marathon pace run and looked good - hopefully no out of control cyclists when you do marathon pace at Paris. Your progression run went well too. very controlled and good last mile

  • That was like reading a novel, proably explains his odd behaviour towards you though!

  • Felt loads better today , ran 11 mile in 1 hr 33 mins should have been 11 miles in 1 hr 39 , a touch to fast , on my last mile near home I fell on a corner due to snow , I guess there were a few folk having a laugh at my expense , just hurt my leg a bit but recovered after a 3 minute walk and a rub down , can't believe what happened to you and the cyclist,
  • The south Yorkshire half race is in march not next week. My heel pads if that's what you call them hurt a bit , anyone got any advice on what could prevent this , I wore two pair of socks on my last run , could that be it ?
  • DB - I suggest getting some heel pads to protect the heel slightly more and could just be the heel on your shoe doesn't quite have enough protection or is losing cushioning. Running off-road would be better for heel if it is possible to do so until the bruising like feeling recedes

  • Glad to hear that you had a less eventful run in week 9! image

    I dont want to put pressure on you but I have a feeling that you will be able to do better than 7:30 min/mls for your half with the recent paces that you have been doing. image

    York marathon is 6 months after VLM on the 21st october, really looking forward to it, just hope they dont have any teething problems with it being the first one.

    Do we need a head tourch for TR24?

  • Thanks for that Steve.

  • Hi RRR

    Yet another eventful long run - how do you do it??!!  I hope there aren't going to be major incidents at Silverstone image

    Mind you I don't think I'd have been as compassionate towards a cyclist who'd just tried to run me over.  I'd probably have checked his mate had a mobile to ring 999 - told him it served him right & left them to it!

  • Sarah Osborne

    I'm doing the Yorkshire Marathon as well - date is 20th not 21st October so don't be late image

    Hopefully most of the training will be in decent weather!

  • sarah osborne wrote (see)

    Do we need a head tourch for TR24?

    Sarah- yes you definitely need a head torch if you're planning to do a night run (and I think it's the best part of the experience)! It's completely off road and in the woods so you won't be able to see where you're going without one.

  • Afternoon Running for Chocolate!

    Oops … sorry!! Well done on the 55 minute 10k! image

    If you want my old headtorch you’re going to have to barter … swap for a pair of shoes?image

  • Afternoon Steve Marathon Coach,

    Yes – I’m keeping well away from any cyclists in Paris! ... And floods ...! Can’t quite believe it’s week 9 of training already!

  • Afternoon Sarah Asics!

    Ha ha! Yes - whoops! … I tend to have a bit of a tendency to waffle … and take too many photos… Sorry!! image Glad you made it through to the end without falling asleep!!

  • Afternoon Derrick!

    Ouch! Hope you’re leg is feeling better after your fall! Can’t believe you get yourself all better and then fall over! Thought that was the end of the snow but then had some more last night … it doesn’t seem to have stuck around though.

  • Afternoon Sarah O!

    I *would* be tempted to try for a slightly faster time, but this race I’m going to stick slightly under as per orders from above! image I’ve got Silverstone half in a few weeks if all goes well on Saturday! (Can’t believe the time is going SO fast!!)

    I bet York marathon will be lovely! Is it in the city itself?

    Yes … definitely need a headtorch for Thunder Run! It’s trail so for the night runs you’ll need your own light! I’ve just got a new one and it’s been fantastic! You want a link to it?

  • Evening Andy!

    That’s what someone at work said! She said, “I hope you shouted at him!” and I told her of course I didn’t as he was unconscious and she said that she’d have pinned a note to his clothes!!! I’m a little concerned about what’ll happen if I do anything to offend her!!

    I’m a little bit concerned about how eventful these runs are …! But hopefully I’m getting all of the interesting bits out of the way in training so Paris Marathon will go smoothly!!

  • Afternoon Brolish!

    The night run was my favourite part in my lapped run last year! It felt like there were a lot less people running the night parts … just a long line of headtorches bobbing along through the trees!

  • RRR- i think you should write a running guide (with pictures of course). Your posts have been great to read.

    Hopefully no more eventful runs!

    Have a great run on Saturday and eat more carbs than you usually do tomorrow!

  • I second Ruth's idea!  I have this book: but perhaps you could create a similar version for your area... surely running tourist's near where you live would enjoy a guide to run by picturesimage

  • Evening Ruth!

    Ha ha! Thanks for the compliment! That would be my ideal job – paid to run and write about it! I wish! image

    Yes definitely – fingers crossed for nice, boring uneventful runs … although I’ve still got 7 weeks left. I’m sure there are a few more adventures to have yet!!

    Carbs and juices and pick’n’mix are all bought and stashed in the cupboard, handbag to eat accordingly!

  • Evening Angela!

    Ooh that book looks fab! Have you done many of the runs?

    I’ve got a couple of Warwickshire walks books for this area but the directions aren’t very easy to follow. My only concern is that I end up having so many things happenm to me on the runs, I’d end up putting people off … or they’d be disappointed when they had a nice uneventful run!!image

  • Week 9, Day 3


    Goal: 11 miles at 8:30 – 9 min/mile

    Actual: 11.3 miles at 8:40 min/mile

    This run was thankfully uneventful apart from a brief stop off at Asda about Mile 7.   In hindsight, going to an ‘All You Can Eat’ chilli night an hour before the run probably wasn’t one of my brightest ideas. Although I was running a lot better AFTER I stopped at Asda.

    My legs were feeling quite tired for this run. I’d like to be able to blame this on the VO2 Max cycle test I had 4 hours earlier but that was only about 12 minutes long. So probably not an excuse I could really get away with.

    3 things I saw on my run: a fox running across the road in front of me and into the hedge, a drunk man trying to climb over the railings into the road, snow on the banks sparkling in the light of my headtorch.

    Garmin Info Here


  • Hi RRR,

    I did some of the runs when I used to live in London, but I have always found that if I make running inconvenient by having to travel before I start running (other than races) I'm less inclined to do it. I know what u mean about directions though- I have a traffic free cycling one for Essex and struggled to follow a route that just went along a river and back- they should upload the route into the GPS for u like a satnav image

    Happy valentines day -I'm taking an extra day off in celebration...
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