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



  • Good lsr Sarah , any niggles or stiffness at the end. I did 20 at the same pace at you , I was a bit stiff at the end and half of rest of the day , no niggles and totally recovered, I've got my half marathon race Sunday but it should be a 22 miler , I think I will do 5 mile before and 4 mile at the end , I'm going to run it at marathon pace and not race it , need to be sensible at this stage.
  • great long run RRR

  • Evening Derrick!

    Glad your 20 went well too! I enjoyed my 21 and found it a nice comfortable run. No niggles or aches yesterday or today which is great. I'd wondered whether the soles of my feet might be sore as I need some new trainers (hitch I'm picking up tomorrow - same model same make!) but they were fine!

    Hope your half marathon goes well and you don't get too much snow during it!! Let me know how you get on!!
  • Thanks Steve Marathon Coach!
  • Sarah O I think three weeks is ok for a 20 mile plus run as long as it's not too fast and you are reasonably experienced. For beginners, 4 weeks is probably safer. RRR seems to recover well and cope with the long runs well, so I don't see a problem with her running that far and the taper is over the last three weeks.

  • Thankyou Steve, thats very reassuring for me to read. I was in a bit of a panic when I saw that sarah had run 21 yesterday, then did a sigh of relief when I saw that she had a 22 planned 3 weeks before the marathon...similar to my plan. I feel like ive learnt how to do steady over the last several weeks, ive seen the benefit from it so will happily do it 3 weeks before london.

    fabulous non eventful run sarah yesterday...i like non eventful ones....hope you left some food in the fridge afterwards!!!!
  • MalcsMalcs ✭✭✭

    RRR - Just doing my (ir)regular visit to your thread. First thing - good to hear you're finally over the lurgie.

    Second thing - Wow! That was one immense long run! Seriously, I am in awe. 7:30 for the last mile and well under 8 for the 3 before that is incredibly good going. How did you feel at the end? If you felt good after that then you will surely be smashing 3:35 in Paris.

    Well done and best of luck going into the final few weeks!


  • Afternoon Sarah O!

    These marathons are getting closer and closer!! Only 3 weeks until Paris now!! Exciting!!

    Nope ... not a huge amount of food left in the fridge, I’m afriad. And I’m all out of creme eggs! I probably shouldn’t buy any more this close to paris either. Might be time to behave myself now.

    When are you tapering?

  • Afternoon Malcs!

    I felt fine at the end of the long run – I wasn’t looking forward to doing the last 3 miles quicker, but once I was into them, they felt absolutely fine. The whole run was quite a confidence booster as it was my first long run back after feeling poorly and I wasn’t sure how it would go but it felt great. Even with the snow! image

  • Week 13, day 2

    Goal: 5 miles of 2 mins mara pace, 10k pace, fast jog – total 7 miles

    Actual: 5 miles of 2 mins mara pace, 10k pace, fast jog – total 7 miles


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


    This was very similar to the run I did last week early in the morning, except that the intervals were slightly shorter. I found it a LOT easier doing it at this end of the day rather than when I had to get up at a ridiculous hour. I had the disadvantage that my body was aware I was going for a run (whereas on the early morning run I don’t think my legs twigged until a couple of miles in) but I knew that rather than a day of work in front of me, I had a nice warm bed when I got home. A much better incentive.

    One thing both runs had in common was that I had to stop off at Tescos for a loo break again. Luckily Tesco is almost exactly at the 1 mile point, where the warmup stops and the actual run begins so it wasn’t too much of a disruption. Well not for me. A few of the old ladies pushing trollies around did double-take when I walked into Tesco.

    In hindsight I suppose I probably was a BIT noticeable dressed in my bright pink compression socks, sky blue jacket (with neon bits), bright pink headband and skull buff pulled up over the top of my head. Plus I had my headtorch on with the massive battery pack at the back of my head. I probably looked like a miner that had escaped from a rave. But with bloodshot red eyes from the cold wind. Me walking into Tesco was like Moses parting the red Sea ... if Moses had been dressed for warmth and visibility and the sea had consisted of blue rinsed shoppers.

    I’d been for a visit to the Asics Store on Oxford Street earlier in the day (and walked over 8 miles just in Central London!) so the neon on the new running gear was extra bright and the new trainers extra white and sparkly. Not quite at the level of Alex (AW’s) retina-burning orange shoes but eye-catching nonetheless. So I might have stood out a bit.

    My aim for the next 3 weeks – apart from stay uninjured, not get ill and get to Paris on time – is to keep my new sparkly trainers as new and sparkly as possible. I’d actually forgotten that the GT2000s are quite this pretty! My other pair (which are only 3 months old!) are now subtly shaded in tones of brown. If you put them next to a bog they’d probably blend in quite well. In fact they look as though they’ve evolved camouflage.

    Ran a different route tonight and it was nice to have a change. It was mainly on cycle paths and next to busy roads so there plenty of other people around, but none of them were in the way. No dodging around required – just enough of them for it not to be lonely. The route was reasonably flat too – so perfect for this sort of run. I could concentrate on the paces rather than trying not to  trip over.

    I’ve got a bruise on top of my foot which is a bit irritating and I ended up using Bacon Steve’s style of shoelace fastening to avoid putting any pressure on it. It was a bit irritating for the first half a mile but it didn’t cause any problems after that. When I got home I made the mistake of googling foot bruises and worrying myself it was a stress fracture before I remembered I dropped a box on my foot last week. That’s another thing I’ll have to try not to do in the next 3 weeks before Paris. After the marathon, I can drop boxes wherever I like, but I’d prefer to get to the start line without too many avoidable injuries.

    Distance: 7:06

    Time: 58:02

    Avg pace (incl warmup/down): 8:13 min/mile


    Paces used: Fast Jog: 9 min/mile. Marathon Pace:

  • Hi RRR - long time no speak. have been following. Are you over all of your illness now?

    Did you run this as a fartlek type session? If so, it was a pretty quick overall pace!

  • another encouraging session. Not far from taper now!

    the 8 miles walking probably wouldn't have helped the run, so good that you seemed to run well.

  • Evening DS2,

    Nice to hear from you - I'm feeling a LOT better. Cough is almost completely gone thank goodness!

    Yes this session was 1 mile warmup and 1 mile cool down and the middle 5 miles were 2 miles at 10k pace (7 min/mile), then 2 mins at marathon pace (8 min/mile), then 2 mins at fast jog (9 min/mile) and repeat for the 5 miles.

    How's the training for Halstead going?

  • Evening Marathon Coach Steve!

    I know! The time is going past so quickly now!! Seems to be racing past! The sesion was comfortable and it helped that I had a new route - was gettign a bit boring doing loops of a housing estate in the dark!


  • Asics Store Visit #2

    I was in Central London yesterday and decided it was time for another visit to the Asics Store on Oxford Street. I’d managed to total my original beautiful, sparkly white trainers and they are no longer neither white nor sparkly, instead they are now shades of brown and rather sad looking. I’d decided to raid my savings and stock up on a couple of new pairs.

    I know they gave me free kit at Christmas – securing my undying love – but I really do like this store. One thing that really makes a difference is that the staff are runners. I had a chat to one of their chaps who’d run the Paris marathon last and he gave me some tips:

    • Watch out for orange peel and banana skins - yes really! Apparently the whole comedy slip-up thing isn’t just reserved for cartoons and the cobbles really become quite slippery with both of these.
    • Keep your head up – the route goes past some of the most famous landmarks in Paris so if you’re keeping an eye out you’ll spot these. Some of them include Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower and of course you start only a little way along from the Arc de Triomphe.
    • And ... possibly most importantly – the last 2 miles are downhill. Just what I wanted to hear.


    I’d known that I was coming up to this store a few weeks before the marathon so I’d saved the pennies and today stocked up on some lovely new kit. However, I’d left the Asics store before realising I’d forgotten a couple of small bits I’d wanted. I was already the wrong end of Oxford Street and was passing a competitor shop ...

    I didn’t burst into flames as I passed the threshold with my bag full of Asics kit and neither (disappointingly) did an employee leap out from a concealed doorway with a staff bellowing “You shall not pass ...” and attempt to confiscate my Asics shopping bag and replace it with their branded kit. 

    I needed a gel belt. I had a running belt but this wasn’t quite big enough with my mobile phone and the 6 gels I’d be carrying for the marathon so I needed something in addition to this. Although preferably not in the competitor store’s colours as I didn’t feel Asics would be best pleased ...

    A member of their staff was on the shop floor so I stopped them:

    “Hi, can you help me? I need a gel belt.”

    I was greeted by a blank expression and the question: “For ...?”

    I hadn’t been expecting this. “For gels ...” I helpfully supplied.

    Apparently they didn’t stock these. But I also needed a new buff after the last one had been donated to a cyclist. After the last conversation, it was probably best to make sure there was no room for misinterpretation:

    “I also need a buff...” (pause) blank look.

    “... A neck warmer?” (longer pause) blanker look.

    “For necks?” Aha. A look of comprehension.

    “Sorry. We’re out of stock.”


    There were loads of runners around London – even in the centre of the city. They were neck and neck with the mopeds and cyclists for death-defying manoeuvring. Skilfully integrating in between the buses and cabs and hurling themselves off the kerbs with second-precise timing to pass between lines of traffic. A ballet of trainers and metal.

    All except one lady runner who was obviously determined to have a run past the sights of the city but who seemed to have a severe pigeon phobia. She managed to negotiate the complicated crossings and avoided being mown down by a particularly determined black cab driver but when she came past Marble Arch and into a flock (swarm? pestilence?) of pigeons she had a mini freak-out m

  • ... mini freak-out mid stride, but managed to disguise this as a stumble. She did however have a bit of an arm-flail as the birds took off around her as though she was swimming through a particularly pigeon-dense pool but made it out guano-free and only slightly dishevelled.

    It made me wonder whether she could use her fear for a more targeted training session. Just imagine ...  If she covered herself in birdseed for the London marathon and with the added incentive of her ornithophobia she would be able to run a cracking time! No chance of slowing down for fear of being eaten by London’s feral pigeons. However, I discounted suggesting this to her by thinking of the mess the startled pigeons would make when the starting gun went off. We’d all end up looking like living statues.

    I ended up walking over 8 miles around London and with the 7 mile run when I got home in the evening, I’d ended up doing the equivalent of a long run. Just very, very slowly. And with coffee breaks. And shopping.

    No gels required. Just the incentive of hot coffee and shopping for new running kit.



  • Tonight's run is now going to be tomorrow morning's run ...groan. Some kids have been out vandalising the cars and I don't really fancy making myself a target by running around the housing estate ...!

    Oh well ... at least I'll be used to running in the morning when the marathon comes around!

    Marathon Coach Steve I was going to do the 8 miles in the morning probably 6am-ish ... and then the intervals after work when the track opens about 7pm. I don't think this will be a problem. Do you reckon this will be ok?

  • Hi Sarah.

    I really cant believe that you only have three weeks left, it only seems like yesterday when we all met at boot camp. I will be starting my taper at the start of week 3 so still another few weeks to go.

    Did you run in your new trainers yesterday i cant work it out?

    Im getting so annoyed at mine, its so unfair. I feel like I dont have time to buy some more new ones and bed them in enough in time for london...what do you think?

    Looks like your keeping to your prescribed paces better...Steve must be happy!
  • RRR

    I don't think it's a great idea doing 2 sessions like this on the same day. 4 miles in morning ok but I think 8 miles and then reps is  too much of an injury risk and you won't run the intervals as well. 4 miles might actually help the session. 8 probably won't.

    the reps are the more important session and not sure you will see this message in time. If you do 8, it might be best to do intervals on Friday.

  • Phew i was very relieved when I read you'd dropped a box on your foot. keep an eye on it though don't let it get more sore and certainly shouldn't hurt at rest!!

    Wish I'd been in tescos when you ran in!!

  • Afternoon Sarah O!

    Do you think so? It feels like bootcamp was a long time ago to me! I’ve only got a 22 miler and a 17 and a 13 to go ... then Paris! image

    Yes, I ran in my new trainers Tuesday and this morning and I’ll be doing the intervals in them later. They’re exactly the same make and model as the last pair (GT2000) and I found I didn’t have to really wear the old pair in either. The only difference seems to be the new pair are bright and sparkly and don’t hurt the soles of my feet! I really couldn’t tell they were brand new – no areas of stiffness or blisters have come from them. Are you having problems with your new ones?

  • Afternoon Steve Marathon Coach!

    I picked up your message last night so didn’t do the 8 this mornning ... just a rather paltry 3 I’m afraid. But I’ll be nice and fresh for the intervals so I’ve got no excuses if I mess them up!

  • Afternoon Sarah C!

    I think my local pub are used to me making whistle-stop visits now - just a blur of neon and the loo doors swinging ... I’ll have to break the old ladies at Tesco in more slowly, I fear ...

    My foot isn’t sore when I haven’t got my trainers laced over it and it’s a lot better – it was quite uncomfortable on the long run on Sunday for the first lap. The bruise has pretty much gone now so hopefully it’ll be fine for the long run this weekend. I must try to be more careful!

  • Week 13, Day 4.1

    Goal: 8 miles from last night ... adjusted to 4 this morning.

    Actual: 3.32 miles.


    Ok ... it’s official. I am completely unable to run in the mornings.

    I was supposed to do 8 miles last night, but after a gang of kids came past vandalising all the cars, I decided it might be a better option to stay in yesterday evening and do the run when there was less chance of (a) having insults hurled at me (b) being pushed in the canal or (c) being spray painted.

    I decided to do the 8 miles this morning instead.

    Steve Marathon Coach was more sensible than me and pointed out that as I’ve got intervals this evening, it might be worth cutting the 8 miles down to 4 miles. I didn’t argue with this. A 4 mile trot in the morning in the sunshine sounded lovely!

    In reality it was heavy-legged, lung-burning, breakfast-craving despair.

    It shouldn’t have been. The mud was all frozen so all the paths were solid and dry and my trainers made a nice satisfying crunching sound on the trails. The sun was just peeping over the horizon and everything was frosty and beautiful. However, just having had to crawl from my nice warm bed and put my trainers on, I wasn’t feeling particularly enthusiastic about the beauties of nature.

    I didn’t even make the 4 miles, instead trailing home after just over 3 miles. It did all look very pretty outside, but there needs to be a longer gap between bed and run before I can truly appreciate it.

    Time: 28:35

    Distance: 3:32

    Pace: 8:37 min/mile

  • Hi RRR,

    I know morning runs are tough- I had to put them into my schedule to make sure I'm giving all the other parts of life enough attention.  Basically after a year of saying no to every social engagement I was invited to last year in prep for a marathon that didn't happen, I thought I'd make more of an effort to have a life.  I find that even though peeling myself out of bed super early is no fun, that it is worth allowing yourself to wake up before you go out.  Usually I've been drinking a cup of hot water, going to toilet and doing some dynamic stretches indoors before I venture outside to run.  That being said, I will only do recovery/easy runs early morning, saving anything of quality for the weekend/evening.  And don't beat myself up if i slept too long and can't fit in the full distance- after all, its a recovery run.

    I think if you persist you'll like it.  I'm especially looking forward to being able to do it when the entire run is in daylight- not long now! (until they put the clocks forward and its ruined again)

  • hi Sarah, my new trainers are the same make and model as my old ones which I bought at the same time.Never had any problems with my old ones but my new ones just dont feel right. Im not sure if I may have wore my old ones for shorter distances initially so I had a better chance to bed them just not sure, but its frustrating! Im going to walk around in them all weekend.

    Are france an hour infront/behind?

    How are you at running early morning races? im guessing the adrenaline gets you going?
  • RunnyRunRun wrote (see)

    Evening Ruth!

    I was looking to go for something easy to source like a jacket potato at lunchtime (rather than the rice) and take rice cakes with me with jars of Nutella and honey! I think I should be able to stick to the meal plan you gave me fairly closely as I did before Dorney (taking most of the snacks and juices with me) – the only problem is the evening meal as that’s dependant on the food available.

    I would be fine with something with chips or wedges if that helps. I really would prefer to steer clear of rice if possible – what other options would you suggest? I can trial these on the days leading up to Paris.

    I would be looking to stick to the food plan you gave me on both days leading up to the race.

    Hi RRR

    Sorry not been on in a few days. I will email the restaurant that you will be eating at on the Saturday evening (6th, you are eating at 6.30pm) and request something on the potato side for you such as wedges (better than chips but can't promise this won't come as something else!). However on the Friday you are not eating until late and we have  to just pick from menu so at least you can have rice cakes & some extra snacks at say 7pm and just have something light at restaurant if nothing high carb you like then as  there is a kettle in your room (I spoke to the hotel direct so kettle in all rooms) & restaurant choices are poor for you then you are only a 3 minute walk (200m) back to the hotel and you can have your porridge and some snacks? At least this is an option for you?

    Here is the details of the restaurant booked for Friday 5th April for interest:

    Al Caratello, 5 rue Audran 75018 (0.2 miles from hotel).

    Feel free to have a look at reviews:

    No specific menu organized so will have to choose from menu but they do have
    a risotto type dish which is gluten & wheat free but I know not ideal for you!

    Where is the time going, you are doing great!

  • I've never really got on with morning runs but do seem to cope ok with races but races tend to be 9am to 11am starts and you have to travel to get there and are more awake and have had a breakfast etc.  Obviously It is a good idea though to do some of your training runs at the time you will be racing.

  • Afternoon Angela!

    Yes – it’s nice to think that the run is completed for the day especially if I’m going to be busy in the evening too, but I find I end up becoming a zombie for the rest of the day and by about 3pm in the afternoon I’m ready for a nap!

    Maybe you’re right though that I’m not warming up enough. I do find that I’m worrying about getting back for work etc and everything else on time. Don’t think you’ve convinced me though … think evening and afternoon runs are the way forward!! J

    Do you do most of your running in the morning now then?

  • Afternoon Sarah!

    Oh how irritating! I found the same thing with an earlier model of these trainers – I had to wear them for about 40 miles before they became fully comfortable but this model I seem to be able to pop on and go which is great. Hope the weekend walking wears them in for you – let me know how you get on. Hope it works.

    France are an hour in front … I can only remember as on the way over it’s easy to change my watch and on the way home it’s a pain!

    I tend to be ok in morning races – not sure why they’re different, maybe because I prepare more? Do you run in the mornings?

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