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



  • Re Carbo loading

    I may have got the wrong end of the stick here but did you carbo load just on the Friday in advance of your HM?

    If so, I'm not surprised you struggled to pack that lot away....for a typical Sunday race I usually start my c-loading on a Thursday evening and then Friday/Saturday as well. That way I have not crammed in a huge excess on anyone day, but I do all the snacky things and sipping on sports drink throughout. Main staple would be rice and/or pasta with veg and then bread and honey/jam or cereals over those days with very little protein (it takes up valuable space!).

  • BTW - I have to say that whatever you did worked, so well done on the PB's!

  • Congratulations on a fabulous race, a new PB and beating that guy on the home straight.

    Are you racing at silverstone or practising MP miles?

    How did you find running on the gels at a faster pace than on your training runs?
  • One for Steve , I did my lsr on Tuesday ( 15 mile ) due to sickness , I have got a 20 miler on Sunday so do you think it's wise to leave one of my midweek runs out , which one , I have a lsr , (11 mile ) and 2 speed sessions plus a 5 mile steady Saturday run.
  • Week 10, Day 2:

    Goal: 7 miles with middle 3 sub 7:15

    Actual: 7.72 miles with middle 3 sub 7

    Note: I’ve switched Tuesday and Thursday’s runs this week.


    After feeling a bit under the weather last week, I’d been coughing and hacking all day at work today and the sympathy of my colleagues had worn thin after the 77th coughing attack. I’d been told that I shouldn’t really be in and they’d threatened to lock me in one of the labs and only open the door to throw Lemsip packets at me to keep the risk of contagion down. Charming.

    I wasn’t feeling well but decided to give the session a try. If I started feeling worse, then I could always come home again. Better to try the training and not manage it than not bother trying.

    The warm up run was very slow and I stopped at mile 2 before the fast 3 miles to cough. I did 2 miles at sub 7:15 pace, but stopped at mile 4 for about 20 seconds to cough and then completed the final sub 7:15 mile and had another cough. Then ran home very slowly.

    This should have been a fun session, but I definitely didn’t enjoy it. I’m going to see how I feel and maybe give this evening’s long run a miss if I’m not feeling better. Either that or slow the pace right down.


    Run Summary:

    Distance: 7.72 miles

    Time: 1:02:55

    Middle mile splits:

    Mile 3: 6:43

    Mile 4: 6:51

    Mile 5: 6:43

    Avg pace overall: 8:09 min/mile

  • Update: Judging by how I’m feeling at the moment, I think I’ll give tonight’s session a miss and use today as a recovery day. My chest feels as though it’s stuffed with cotton wool. While I’d like to complete every session, I don’t think going ahead with the one tonight will achieve anything except possibly make the cold worse ...

    It’s very irritating as in every other way, I feel very strong. I don’t have any other minor niggles and the left knee which was slightly stiff a few weeks ago seems to have completely healed. Although, I hope I don’t jinx myself by saying that!

  • Hey hey, sorry you're poorly image I think it's a symptom of marathon training that's difficult to avoid unless you take a nap every day... Hopefully it'll clear up quickly, but be confident you already have a 20miler under your belt image

    Yes, looking forward to the races, yes Bupa 10k is in central London... One of the few London races you can just sign up for rather than enter a ballot and pray! Though entries are closed now. I think I'm looking forward to Halstead marathon the most. I didn't get to do a marathon last yeah, but u can't beat that feeling u get after running a marathon. Totally after the runners high!

    Yup, sis was on the first series when it moved to sky, so about 5 years ago. She won all of her events but then lost the last bit. Apparently they'd never done it all the way thru before. Hers was the first show to be filmed, so they didn't realise that wet shoes made the travellator impossible.... Eventually they stopped the travellator, when the other girl was half way up (after about 10 mins in real time of them tying to get up) so she went on to best my sis... image my sis was the only one the whole series who lasted against panther in dual!

    What are your other race plans? Beyond Paris?
  • Hi RRR

    My sympathies. I am also fighting a horrible virus that has knocked me out of the game - hacking cough,etc. Hope it goes away soon!



  • yes wise to have a day or two off if you don't feel great and well done for what you did yesterday.

    Derrick - having done the 15 on Tuesday, you don't need another midweek long run - and so I'd focus on doing the faster sessions but don't run them on successive days so you may need to do a steady five or six to replace one of them and the most important session is the long run Sunday

  • Sarah,

    Well done on the pb at the weekend and loved the pics on Twitter image!! Hope you start feeling better, sure a day or two off will do you no harm

  • Hope you feel better soon Sarah. Make sure you make a full recovery before you race back,x
  • Hope you get well soon Sarah , thanks for the advise Steve.
  • Afternoon Andy!

    Yes – the time has gone SO quickly!! Hopefully my 22 miles on Sunday will be nice and uneventful ... no flooding, falls or getting lost this time! And definitely no loo stops! image

    If I get a chance I thought I might visit Braunstone for a parkrun this weekend. I’m not feeling very good still – the cough is still going strong – so I’m not expecting any amazing times although I’d like the time to stay in the 20s ... but I’m going to see how I feel.

  • Afternoon Mike,

    Thanks for the congrats! Yes just carb loaded on the Friday for the Saturday race. I felt very full on the Friday, but felt fine on the Saturday and throughout the race – no loo stops required thank goodness! image

    I don’t tend to eat bread / pasta etc as my tummy doesn’t react very well to it – I get most of my carbs from vegetables although I’ve had a few gluten-free crackers this week. Do you up your food intake or do you just swap protein for the carbs?

  • Afternoon Sarah!

    Thank you! Congratulations to you too for your amazing time at Barcelona!! I think I’ll be aiming to knock a minute or so off of that time at Silverstone if all goes well, but we’ll see. We were really lucky with the weather at Dorney so if it’s windy at Silverstone it might be a different story!

     I found the gels fine and didn’t struggle to maintain the 7:20 pace that I was aiming for although I found the sub-7 at the end harder work! I don’t know whether the gels made a physical difference or whether it was a mental boost ... but either way I’ll take it! image

    How are you finding practising with gels or are you sticking with the jelly babies?

  • Afternoon Angela!

    Oh I wish I COULD take a midday nap every day – that would be AMAZING!! image Used to LOVE Gladiators – I probably watched your sister’s show!! image How funny! Seems a bit unfair her competitr got a bit of an advantage though! Grrr!

    I’ve got Thunder Run 24 booked in and we’re looking at Endure 24 .. but these are mainly for fun rather than as races. I’m looking forward to the social side as much as the running! And as I’ll be running slowly hopefully I’ll be able to talk at the same time! Well ... for the first few laps anyway! I’ve also deferred a couple of obstacle runs I’d booked in for this year so I’ve got the Wolf Run and Rock Solid run to look forward to as well!  

  • Afternoon Buffy!

    Sorry to hear you’re poorly too. There seems to be so many horrible things going around at the moment. We’ve all got it in my house at the moment – it’s like a cough chorus in there. Not good!

    Get well soon!!

  • Afternoon Marathon Coach Steve,

    Thank you. I think I’m going to be missing this evening’s session too unfortunately – I can’t draw a proper breath without coughing and I’m not sure I’ll be gaining anything from attempting it. Hope this is ok.

    I don’t tend to be ill for very long so hopefully having today as a rest day will shake it off. Today’s interval session looked as though it was going to be a tough one and I was looking forward to tackling it. Do you want to change it with another or shall I carry on with the schedule as it is?

  • Afternoon Clive!

    Thank you!! Glad you liked the twitter pics! It was such a fun day and just topped off with PBs all round. Just great image

    How’s everything going your way?

  • Thanks for the get well wishes Derrick and Sarah! image

    (cough, cough) image

  • Food Diary

    20th February

    Breakfast: Porridge made with water, 2 tsp x sugar, dash of milk

    Lunch: Small salad with lettuce, cherry tomatoes, carrot, red onions, cucumber and peppers and a small amount of tuna.

    Dinner: 1 x salmon fillet, 1 x small courgette, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, 2 large mushrooms – all steamed. 1 x fresh beetroot, portion of cottage cheese

    Snacks: 1 x crème egg, 1 x mini snack bar  

    Drinks: 4 x coffee, 3 pints of squash, 1 glass of water.

    Exercise: None (Bad cough and feeling ill so cancelled tonight’s run)


    19th February

    Breakfast: Porridge made with water, 2 tsp x sugar.

    Lunch (at pub): 2 x chicken breasts with bacon and BBQ sauce topped with cheese and chips on the side.

    Dinner: Mushroom stirfry.

    Snacks: Banana, 3 x chocolates

    Drinks: 5 x coffee, 2 x pints of squash, 1 x vanilla protein milkshake

    Exercise: 7.7 miles run, 1 hour grocery shopping with energetic 3 year old!


    18th February

    Breakfast: Porridge made with water, 2 tsp x sugar.

    Lunch: Portion of honeydew melon, 15g cheddar cheese, 2 x rice cakes topped with honey and nutella,

    Dinner: 1 x salmon fillet, 1 x small courgette, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, 2 large mushrooms – all steamed. 1 x fresh beetroot, portion of cottage cheese, 1 x chilli butter portion, 1 x sweet potato.

    Snack: Tablespoon of Christmas pud (couldn’t resist!), 6 x gluten free crackers and cheese dip.

    Drinks: 5 x coffee, 4 x pints of squash

    Exercise: 1 hour walk


    17th February

    Breakfast: Porridge made with water, 2 tsp x sugar, dash of milk

    Dinner: 1 x salmon fillet, 1 x small courgette, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, 2 large mushrooms – all steamed. 1 x portion of mushroom stirfry, portion of cottage cheese, 1 x chilli butter portion, 1 x sweet potato.

    Snack: 30g of salted peanuts, 1 x crème egg, 3 x gluten free crackers and cheese dip, 3 x chocolates

    Drinks: 2 x coffee, 2 x pints of squash, 1 x vanilla protein milkshake

    Exercise: 9.5 miles run, 1 hour walk.


    16th February

    Breakfast: Porridge made with water, 2 tsp x sugar, dash of milk

    Lunch: 1 x Apple, 1 x banana, 5 x tbsp mixed seeds.

    DinnerimageFrankie & Benny’s) Chicken with bacon and BBQ sauce topped with cheese and chips on the side and 2 x onion rings.

    Snacks: 1 x crème egg, Small amount of pick n mix sweets.

    Drinks: 4 x coffee, 3 x pints of squash, 1 x vanilla protein milkshake

    Exercise: Dorney Lakes Half Marathon, 1 hour walk

  • RRR

    Hope you are feeling better very soon.

    A lot of milk chocolate will have gluten/wheat in it so make sure you cut these out in the  few days before Paris. Also as mentioned before all extras including protein needs to be cut right down (cheese, fish, meat)  and bulky veggies to very small amounts  during the carb load days. 

    After you have tried your fuelling this weekend on you 22mile and you are happy with it then I think we can conclude that this will work for Paris for you...which brings me onto to eating in Paris!


  • RRR

    Over the coming few weeks the focus will be on Paris and the food challenges that may bring. The first challenge is the restaurant choice for the Friday & Saturday night. If you were going on a leisurely holiday I would suggest different a restaurant each night and of course to try the local food BUT you are here to do a marathon! So I am looking to seek everyone’s honest opinion on restaurant type. My thoughts are Italian as Parisian meals are not typically carb heavy, more meat based. Last year I picked out some Italian places to eat and then sent links to you all so that you could at least know what was available and if this would be suitable for everyone, so the plan was to do something similar. I am also thinking of RRR who does not eat gluten or wheat (we had a similar issue last year but there was other choices at the Italian we ended up choosing) so I would suggest we look for something that may be Italian but some non- pasta options?  Those that ate in the places I suggested last year could perhaps comment (choisty, Steve, Sam etc ) on what they think too?

  • RunnyRunRun wrote (see)

    Afternoon Andy!

    Thank you! Yes … I seem destined to have ‘interesting’ runs!! image

    I’d like to get another PB at Silverstone, but it’s the day after the 3rd bootcamp training day so we’ll see how it all goes. That being said, I’d be disappointed not to …!

    I don’t know much about the advantages and disadvantages of gels vs energy drinks, but I find that gels are easy to carry (can stash 6 or 7 in my running belt if necessary) and just drink water. Whereas with an energy drink I’d either have to carry some the whole way or rely on the aid stations at a race carrying the particular drink I’d practised with. And hope they hadn’t run out when I got there!

    Ooh I have never been to Bicester village for shopping although one of my friends raves about it! I’d definitely rather be there shopping than supporting at a race!! The queues out from Silverstone after the Race For Life were terrible – stuck in the carparks for a LONG time as traffic management didn’t seem to be working, but this may well have been sorted out now.


    The main advantage with gels  over energy drinks is how much you need to drink to get the amount of carbs you need. For example, if you need 50g of carbs per hour (most runners have between 30-60g per hour) you would need to drink around 700ml of an isotonic sports drink per hour which is hard for many to do and too much fluid for most runners even in hot conditions.Hope this make sense.


  • Evening RRR

    Sorry to hear about the cough but good to see you're being sensible about missing training sessions.  I know when you're following a schedule it's easy to convince yourself that under no circumstances should you miss a session.

    Make sure you are back to full health for Silverstone.  I don't want any excuses if you end up buying the coffees image

  • Ruth

    That makes perfect sense thanks

  • RRR - yes you have nothing much to gain by running when ill at this stage and in your current shape, you won't lose anything with 2 to four days off and rest should mean a quicker recovery, so hope you feel better soon.

  • Evening Sarah. I havent really tried any of the gels or what I will be using on marathon day out yet but im doing a 15 mile trail race on saturday so I might try the shot blocks out then, maybe have some at 5 and 10 miles. Think I will mixed these up with the old favourite jelly babies

    I think you will be able to knock a minute or two..or three off at silverstone...your such a determined and focused person. Like you said I think the only thing that would stop you would be things out of your control e.g illness or the weather.
  • Hi RRR, u better not forget Boston next spring image. How's ur cold? Are you feeling better? I have lower leg issues- the one where I pulled my calf last year- calf is fine but the rest of the lower le keeps getting really tight . Supreme foam rolling this weekend- hope I can get out and train properly-have a 7 mile race pace run tomorrow and was hoping to do it at my half mara pace to give me confidence for the race.

    I have a question for the forum and Steve marathon coach. In my plan the nxt few weeks long runs go up like this: 14, 15, half mara, 17... However due to timing of the race I wanted to do I've swapped weeks around so it goes like this: 14, 15, 17, half mara- that 17 week would also then be one of the highest mileage weeks of the programme- it this ok to do, as the half mara week steps back quite a lot for the race? Or do you think I should forego some of those miles for the sake of a better half mara?- I do want to race it rather than just run.

  • RRR - any better?

    Angela - You should be fine to do a long run the week before if you don't run too hard and presume while you want to run the half well that the main objective is the marathon?

    I think you could build up the runs faster and could do 15, 17 or 18 and then 15 the week before the half-marathon, if you want to ease back slightly and do the harder longer week one week earlier.

    However, if you are going to be fit enough to do a marathon, then one easier week should be enough and many runners run a half-marathon PB, the week after a slow 20-21, so 17 shouldn't really be a problem, if you taper for 4-5 days before..


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