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



  • RRR

    It was a busy weekend for you, looking forward to hearing all about it!

    I have narrowed  restaurant choices down in Paris to 3 but need my sister (who lives in Paris) to phone them up and check non pasta/pizza options as my french is well....non existent image. No menus  online but have choices down to a few which are only 0.2-0.6 miles from hotel.


  • Eeek!! Sorry for quiet!! Have had a couple of AMAZING running days which have wiped me out!!! And some pics!! Will be on with full reports very shortly!! image

    P.s Brought y own coffee to bootcamp this time!!!
  • Evening Buffy!

    How are you feeling now? Well done on getting your 2 runs in. Sounds like we’ve had something similar … I slept for 12 hours after bootcamp and 14 hours last night! Still trying to shake off this horrible bug! Have you managed to get out for a run today?

  • Evening Tenjiso!

    How did you find Silverstone? It was a strange course, wasn’t it? There wasn’t much support for about 11 of the 13.1 miles, but when there WAS support it was FANTASTIC!!

    How did you get on?


    OOps sorry...

    How dis the half go? I'm sure you will be fighting fit very soon and will be faster than ever.

    Did manage another 5 miles tonight - not sure whether I'll be up to the 20 on the schedule this weekend!

    Take care.


  • Evening Sarah!

    Thanks for the good luck wishes!! image

    Saying that you like grapes … Have you tried frozen grapes??! It sounds really odd but they taste AMAZING!!

    Silverstone was fine, but a LOT harder than Dorney… can’t quite shake off this cough! Have been sleeping huge amounts in an attempt to get rid of it!!

  • Evening Derrick!!

    Woo woo!! Well done on your parkrun PB!! Sounds as though everything is going perfectly!!

    What are you deciding to do for the races?

  • Evening Ruth!!

    It’s been a mad … but fun weekend!! You’d have been proud! I took nuts to snack on during bootcamp and have been having protein bars and drinks after the runs and in the evenings! Even remembered a bar after Silverstone yesterday. Was eating it in the traffic queue to get out of the car park!! It was an hour and a half wait …!

    Restaurant choices sound good – especially without too much walking! I had a goats cheese salad the evening before Dorney Lakes and that went down well! So anything salady sounds good to me!

  • Evening Buffy!!

    Hee hee! Don’t worry! image Silverstone half was tough – a hard slog. After Dorney which was nice and comfortable it was a bit of a shock to the system! But .. got to have one that doesn’t go to plan every now and then to keep me on my toes!!image

    How did you find the 5 miles this evening? Did they feel ok? I’m still feeling very tired.


    I'm finding myself a bit slower than normal, but feel fine while running - and so glad to be able to do anything at all. I hope this is because I had quite a good base having run 2X 18 and 2X 20 before I got flu. But I'm not sure if I will ultimately be able to do a sub 3.40 after this hitch. I also missed my half marathon and was hoping for a PB - but have Wilmslow in a few weeks to look forward to.

    I'm planning a 9  miler on Wednesday - that will be a good test of the legs.


  • Evening Buffy!

    Glad you're feeling ok while you're actually running. Sounds as though you've got some great long runs in already. Is Wilmslow a half marathon too?

    Hope your 9 miles goes well on Wednesday! ... And that the flu goes away and stays away!! image


  • Week 12


    Mon Mar 4: rest

    Tues Mar 5: 5 x 1600 in 7:00  starting every 9 mins (8M in total)

    Weds Mar 6: 11M slow in 8:30s to 9s

    Thurs Mar 7: 9 miles with 42 mins alternating minute paces of 10K, marathon, fast jog

    Fri Mar 8: 5M easy or rest

    Sat Mar 9: Hills - total 6M.

    Sun Mar 10: 21M slow in 9s - but aim for 3M at sub 8s from 17-

    week total: 55-60M

  • Runner’s World Asics 26.2 Bootcamp 3


    Decided to brave the trains again and walked to the Rugby train station. It was a lovely Spring morning and it was a bit of a novelty to go for a walk without my 3 year old attached to my leg. (We usually start off walking then she decides it’s too much like hard work and grabs my closest leg and demands to be carried. She’s found this to have the best effect when I’ve got a coffee in one hand and a handbag in the other and am unable to pry her off.) It was a completely uneventful walk and absolutely unpunctured by questions such as “Why isn’t Thomas a princess? Or “Why isn’t snow red?”

    I’d learned from the last Bootcamp and had brought my coffee thermos with me this time. No more begging for coffee and regretful looks at the closed coffee shop door. Ha ha, Mr Starbucks. I’ve got THIS one covered!!


    (Pic: 1st coffee of the day! Ignore the squinty look - I still haven't woken up)

    Nice uneventful journey to Birmingham New Street and I even managed to find the right station to get to the University station. Alright. I asked at the information desk. But I got to the platform under my own steam.

    Got to the platform and there were only about 5 or 6 other people waiting for the train. A man caught my attention as he kept shuffling closer to me and kept staring at me. Not in a “I want to buy you some lovely caffeine way”, but in a “I want to push you in front of a train” way. Eek! I’ve got too much running to do in the next month to spend any time in hospital, thanks!

    I ignored him and moved down the platform and put a couple of people in between us. He shuffled down and moved back in next to me. Ok. I ignored him and moved back down the other way again putting more people between us. Hopefully I was putting out “I’m too much trouble to stalk” signals. He shifted back down and stood behind me. What to do. No platform attendants around and what would I say? Someone’s looking at me? How to sound like an overwrought idiot.

    With perfect timing, another girl walked onto the platform. I approached her and asked if she was going to the University station. I explained the situation and asked if we could sit together. She was fine with that so we sat together. Creepy Guy sat behind us – in an otherwise empty carriage – but didn’t approach us or try to interact in any other way. Phew! He appeared to be asleep when we got off the train and we were relieved to see the train leave. Thank you lovely German Girl for taking pity on me!

    I was nice and early to the University. Café was still shut. Passing the Starbucks sign saying “We have a cup of coffee waiting for you inside” I resisted the urge to kick it over.

  • Had a good catch up with Steve Marathon Coach and we discussed the next few weeks in the schedule. The next 2 weeks are going to be the toughest yet … and then taper. I still can’t quite believe that there are only 4 weeks until Paris.

    Said to Steve about this cold and chest infection and how I don’t feel it’s completely gone yet. Steve reassured me that although I had Silverstone half the next day, I shouldn’t let the result knock my confidence. The important race is Paris, not the half marathon beforehand. He’s absolutely right. I love to race and would turn a run for the ice cream van into a sprint-out with the 10 year old next door if it came down to it, but at the end of the day I’ve got to focus on Paris Marathon. There’ll be plenty of time for other races after Paris. He suggested just playing it by ear or running it at marathon pace if I wanted.

    Steve also said we’ll have to see whether we can fit another parkrun into the schedule – hooray! There’s something nice and reassuring about parkruns. Lots of people who love to run just running in circles down the local park! And coffee and cake afterwards! Steve also mentioned that he ran over 10 miles of the Paris marathon with Knightrider (the Asics Target 26.2 sub-3 marathoner) last year … without a number and just for the heck of it! How cool is that!!

    Had a catch up and physio session with Sarah Connors. She of the soft hands and pointy elbows. I got away lightly this time and Sarah said how nice it was to see someone without any niggles. She did however find some areas of tightness on my back which I hadn’t realised were there. However this time no elbows were required and I proudly demonstrated that I had been practising my bridges.

    I told Sarah that I DID want to be a better running but it was fear of The Elbow rather than anything else that had me doing my stretches every day! She recommended getting a sports massage every couple of weeks during the high mileage marathon weeks just so no niggles get the chance to get any worse. She also checked out my feet for me. Brave lady. I now officially have marathon runners feet. In other words, feet not fit for sandals and which may be relied on to shed toenails at every opportunity.

    Had a chat to Victor who is the sports psychologist. Victor was lovely and gave us some good tips for the day before marathon just so it’s a stress-free as possible. Number 1: Set out your kit the night before and use a tick-list of necessary so you don’t forget to pack anything. Number 2: Rest the day before. Just stay off your feet and watch TV. Victor also does triathlons and uses a special method for warming up his wetsuit in the holding pen before the open water swims. However, he assured me he drinks lots of water beforehand so he doesn’t burn a hole in his wetsuit.

    It was time to do the marathon pace session. We had been reassured that this was a nice easy session. Sounded good to us! A quick jog up and down a pretty canal path and then back to lunch. Nope. First we had to pretend to run up and down the canal path so photographs could be taken. Ady had a near miss into the canal but we managed to do it without any incidents and without any cyclist road-rage … so a win!

    Marathon Coach Steve and Sam Murphy had marked out a mile on the canal path so we had a nice run up and back at marathon pace. They set us off at intervals so we could run at our own paces without feeling that we had to keep up with anyone else. It was such a gorgeous day to run – a proper spring morning with blue skies and the sun shining on the canal. It could have been the middle of anywhere and with the green banks and the gravel of the canal path underfoot it was lovely.

  • We got back to the start point full of the joys of Spring. And Sam Murphy promptly confiscated all our Garmins. What?! We were then told to run the same 2 miles at 5 seconds quicker than marathon pace. Without our Garmins.

    We were all set off at intervals as before. Ady went off 15 seconds in front of me and I was told strictly by Steve Marathon Coach (who seems to have me all figured out) that I wasn’t to just follow Ady but I was to judge it for myself. Bother. There goes my nice easy run plan.

    Set out and tried to judge it by my breathing. I’ve got into the (probably bad) habit of using my Garmin for every run (except the very muddy or obstacle races) and I soon realised just how bad I was at judging my pace. Even on the flat and relatively smooth canal path I went off far too quickly and next thing I know I was practically tripping over Ady who was doing his best to ignore my heavy breathing over his shoulder. He must have worked out it was me rather than an asthmatic mugger as he didn’t speed up. I had the quandary then of whether to trust my own pace judgement or Ady’s. Was he going to slow or me too fast?

    Overtook him. One of us had to be wrong. I knew me better.

    However, I had a moment of self-doubt when I caught up with Bacon Steve and Mel. Hmmmm. Well. I was set at my pace now. May as well carry on with it. At least I hadn’t fallen into the canal.

    Got back and Marathon Coach Steve read out our times. Everyone had done really well which meant … yup. I’d gone off far too fast, carried away by the thought of people to chase and the thought of running around in the sunshine. It wasn’t too terrible though – I’d done 7:35 min/miles instead of 7:55 min/miles but it would still be enough to make the marathon a struggle if I’d tried to run it at that speed.

    Sam Murphy told me that I was still hunching my shoulders when I was running. A good trick she suggested was to put my weight into my elbows and pretend I was pressing down on egg cups.


    Went to the track. It was very strange to think that this was our last time running on this track as part of the Asics Target 26.2 group. The Bootcamp in December seems a very, very long time ago. The belltower chimed while we were there. It has been a familiar landmark throughout the training as you can see it from pretty much everywhere on the campus.



    This session was a paced mile. On the straight sections of the track we were looking to do half marathon or 10k pace and on the curved sections we were to do marathon pace. So about 7:20 min/miles on the straight parts and 8 min/miles on the curved sections. Ady and I ran together on this part as we had virtually the same goals. Of course we got far too enthusiastic and finished the first lap at an average of a 7 min/mile. Whoops. We slowed down a bit and did the 2nd in avg 7:23 min/mile. A bit better. The 3rd in avg 7:28. Not too bad. The final one in avg 6:21 min/mile.




    However, this was mainly down to Marathon Coach Steve telling us we could give it a bit of welly on the final straight so Ady and I had a sprint to the line. Yup. He got chicked.

    We had some photos taken at the track where we ran a small section and then where we gathered around in a circle with our hands on each other’s shoulders and looked down into the camera. Apparently ‘Up The Nostrils’ shots are very Now. I apologise in advance for the bogies.

    Back to the lecture theatre for lunch and then a shower and change. We all hung around afterwards, unwilling to go as this was IT. The last time we’d all be together before Paris. This was almost the end.


    We took one last picture in front of the Sports Building in the sunshine, took a deep breath and headed away from the University and into the final weeks of training.

    Track Work Garmin Info

    Pacing Work Garmin Info

  • Im going to miss the 20 miler race but still do it from home , I,m going to do the half marathon race but at marathon pace,

    I felt abit of a twinge in my back after the park-run , but the day after it went , I decided to ease down on the miles and give myself a rest , I did 11 easy pace , today its come back, just a slight twinge but its really getting on my nerves. Ive been really looking forward to the 20 and half marathon race but i'll have to go steady on them both now , All my focus is on the VLM , Like you said earlier ,there's loads of time after to do races,

    How are you doing overall , your bug's going now isn't it, At least you didn't get it a week before the paris marathon.

  • Hi Sarah, it looks like you had another fun day in Birmingham. I really cant believe that its your last one and your at week 12 already. The time is flying by.

    I didnt even know that you could get frozen grapes...I promise to give them a try.

    Hows our chest today?
  • Hi Ruth, thankyou for answering my question for me.

    I think I like the idea of mixing them up...3 shot blocks and 2 jelly babies per hour as least the babies just dissolve in my mouth, no effort involved.

    So far I havent really been having much on my training runs this year. Ive either had nothing or ive had a jelly baby at mile 14, 16 and 18. Last week I decided to try the shot blocks but only had one at mile 13 and one at mile 16.

    During my last half I had one jelly baby at mile 10 but then I didnt feel like I needed anything more.

    At London last year I think I had about 5 shot blocks, I think I had my first one at about mile 12 and then one every 3 miles. I felt great up until mile 16 and then it was like someone had switched a switch and I suddenly felt tired and as though I had had enough and I wanted it to end. After about mile 23 I found it hard to concentrate and focus on things. I kept getting an urge to have jelly babies but when I saw people handing them out, the thought of having one made me feel quite nauseous so I didnt have one. My second half of the marathon was 7 mins slower than the first and the last 10 miles were not very enjoyable. I dont know if this matters or not, but the amount of water I drank also increased significantly in the last 6 miles.

    Once the race had finished I couldnt stomach anything all day/evening.

    As you can see I really messed up last year with fuel on race day (and probably the day before aswell), I really want to make sure that this doesnt happen again.

    Im doing an 18 miler on friday and a 20 mile race a week on sunday when I want to practice what im going to take pre and during the race.

    Thankyou again for all your help and advice
  • Morning Derrick,

    I bet they’d let you defer your 20 mile race entry until next year … worth asking! Better than losing your money!

    Are you going to see a physio about your back twinge or see whether it sorts itself out?

    The bug’s on it’s way out, thank goodness! Although every time I run it absolutely wipes me out! Slept for 12 hours after bootcamp and 14 hours after Silverstone!

  • Morning Sarah!

    Me neither!! But bootcamp feels a long time ago, doesn’t it? The time has absolutely flown past!

    Um … frozen grapes? You freeze them yourself!! image

    Chest still a bit rattly but a lot better. It’s the tiredness that’s driving me mad!! Running wipes me out … but every time I run I feel better the day after. SO going to kill it with miles!!image

  • I've just seen the Silverstone half pics ... eek! Look as though I'm about to keel over! Will pop up the race report a bit later on!! image

  • No physio required , its totally disappeared , I'm being cautious nevertheless, I'm going to take a rest for the midweek sessions and go on the bike instead , I'm planning to run on Saturday (parkrun) but steady then hopefully I should be ok for the 20 miler on Sunday , if Steve is reading this post what advice would you give me.
  • Hi RRR

    Glad to hear you're feeling better. I wish I could get as much sleep as you do - got home from Silverstone absolutely shattered & still had a bad night image

    Another enjoyable write up on your latest bootcamp visit although your stalker sounds scary.  I bet you were glad when the other girl showed up.

    Lovely to meet up with you afterwards and grovelling apologies for not buying you a coffee for me being chicked image  At least I beat 92% of the other females that entered image

    I've just seen my Silverstone half pics - I certainly don't look to be enjoying it. I don't think I've ever seen once of these race photos of myself that I ever wanted to purchase. 

  • Afternoon Derrick,

    Glad the back problem has disappeared. Good luck in your parkrun!

  • Afternoon Andy!

    Was fab to meet you after Silverstone on Sunday! Ha ha! So if YOU get chicked, I don’t get a coffee? Is that how it works?! image I was in bed before 8pm after bootcamp and after Silverstone ... I’m very rock n roll like that!image However, it seems to have helped as I’m feeling much better today and enjoyed my lunchtime run! Why did you have a bad night’s sleep? Would have thought you’d have been worn out after your fab run!!

    Yes ... race pics are never fantastic are they? I’ve got a couple of the Silverstone ones where I appear to be gurning ... I think I’d spotted the photographer and was trying to smile... but it just wasn’t happening. Also the pics were £45 to buy!! That’s more than double the entry price of the race!!

  • a very good report of the final bootcamp and look forward to  reading about your very good HM which was fine after the illness and a not that easy day at bootcamp the day before.

  • Steve Marathon Coach! I wanted to tell you thank you for your tips on adjusting my training plan pre- my half marathon a few days ago.  I did my 17 mile run yesterday (instead of nxt weekend), and smashed it!!!  It turned into a progressive run, starting at 10.30s and finishing at 9:40s image  felt really strong the whole way around.  I tried chia seeds for the first time- I wonder if it was them! image

    One day I might be as fast as RRR, but then she'll probably be competing in Rio, so I wouldn't be... hmm, perhaps I should consider another sport, like the modern pentathlon...

  • RunnyRunRun wrote (see)

    Evening Tenjiso!

    How did you find Silverstone? It was a strange course, wasn’t it? There wasn’t much support for about 11 of the 13.1 miles, but when there WAS support it was FANTASTIC!!

    How did you get on?

    Hi Sarah.  I really enjoyed the experience and thought it was a very well organised event.  My biggest problem was pacing with the garmin measuring short on many of the miles.  My worst paced miles (2 and 5) were out by more than thirty seconds each when I reached the official mile markers.  The best thing I did was to grab a printed pace band before the start, so I knew what I had to do to get back on track.

    I had set myself a target of 1:50:00 when I started the marathon training, to be in with a shout of a four hour marathon.  I finished in 1:50:04  - close enough, and a new PB by almost five minutes image.

    I didn't realise you were intending to run there due to your illness.  I'll catch up with your report soon.  

    I was also shocked by the price of the race pics.  They would have to be of someone much more photogenic than me before I'd pay those prices image

  • good runs Tenjiso and Angela

    Derrick - a relaxed parkrun should be ok before the 20 and the 20 should also be relaxed and easy with the distance more impoirtant than the pace. If you feel ok at 13 - you could do three miles closer to marathon pace but suggest easing back again  at 16

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