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



  • Afternoon Steve Marathon Coach!

    Yes ... sorry about the driving bit - I thought I’d be able to get finished before the daylight vanished. I was going to give the running in the dark a try until 2 chaps appeared out of the darkness and nearly gave me a heart attack as I didn’t spot them until they were right next to me. They thought it was hilarious but I thought it was time to find some lights!

    Draycote Water is lovely to run around and Pitsford Reservoir too. Both pretty and reasonably flat. Nice to have something to distract me on a run especially when there are a few laps.

    How did the Finchley 20 go? Was the course a bit boring then?   

  • Afternoon Derrick!

    Oh my goodness! Well done on being so organised and getting there so early otherwise you would have completely missed it! Definitely stressful!

    Fantastic that you beat your PB ... and your friend though!! Have you and he got any more grudge matches lined up?image

  • MalcsMalcs ✭✭✭

    RRR - do you ever have an uneventful long run? image Brilliant write up btw. sorry but I had to allow myself a few smiles. The thought of your months of hard training ending in being tragically consumed by local wildfowl shouldn't really be a laughing matter.

    So is that your last long run? Into the taper now? You are hyper at the best of times so I can't think what the nerves of the next few weeks will do to you. Perhaps Steve will need to keep you sedated until Paris.image

    That was a cracking end to your 22 miles. Comfortably under 8mm with a 7mm finish. Well done!

  • Afternoon Malcs

    An uneventful long run? What you mean there are runs without floods and hungry flocks of attacking geese and mental cyclists?

    Into the taper ... that was my last 20+ mile run! Well ... for 3 weeks anyway!! image How’s your running going? What sort of training are you doing for TR24?

    I think I’ll need to drink lots of coffee in the next couple of weeks ... if anything it seems to calm me down ...! Sedated by coffee!!

  • An ode to my beautiful clean trainers ... now no quite so beautiful and clean.


    My new trainers were sparkly and white

    They gleamed like a beacon at night

    But I stepped in goose poo

    Now they’re covered in goo

    And the gleam is all covered in shite.


    Can you tell I’m a bit peeved that my previously white and beautiful trainers are now a not-quite-so-fetching brown colour? Flippin’ incontinent geese.

  • I,m must be crackers , that made me laugh that ryhme image , I need to get out more lol.

    Just been looking at your splits, looks to me your well on course for 3;35 ,

  • Finchley 20 is actually around Ruislip - there were a few reasonable bits but most of it is suburban pavements but probably was more rural when it was first run 65 years ago!

    I didn't run the first one but did first run it 34 years ago and set my PB 33 years ago and was a lot, lot slower! 

    You probably need to ease back on the caffeine prior to Paris to get the big kick in on the day! 

  • Afternoon Derrick!

    Glad I’m keeping you entertained! image I went out last night for what I thought would be a trot around the houses but it was such a nice evening I went a different way and ended up jumping over puddles and climbing over branches! Poor trainers definitely look a bit woebegone now but at least they’re loved! image

    I think I should be on target for a sub 3:35 if nothing goes wrong between here and the finish line ... I’m going to be very careful for the next 2.5 weeks!

    How are you feeling after your fantastic half? No niggles or aches I hope.

  • Afternoon Steve Marathon Coach

    So a proper run with history then! Did you run it again after you set your PB to try to beat it? (Apart from this year!)

    I’ll cut back on the caffeine now and start on the de-caff coffees. I’d forgotten about cutting back so thanks for the reminder! I’m completely off tea at the moment – have heard that the tannin in tea can have a bad effect on vitamin C and I started drinking tea just before I had the cough. It’s probably just a coincidence but I’ll leave any tea experimentation until AFTER Paris!

  • Week 14, Day 2

    Goal: 6 miles with 4 at marathon pace

    Actual: 6 miles with 4 at marathon pace


    I finally managed a weekday run in daylight and it wasn’t a (curse, curse) morning run! Well almost daylight. It was dusk and I’m sure that counts. I’m sick of winter and cold winds that creep up jacket sleeves and rain that runs down my neck. Finally it’s getting lighter and a bit warmer in the evenings

    As I had some light to see by I decided I could reclaim one of my old summer routes and have a change of scenery. In winter I tend to stick to fairly busy routes with street lights in the evenings but I miss the interesting runs through the tall grass in the fields and the little hidden footpaths.

    This route is an old railway line and the path is a mixture of cinder blocks, mud and gravel. If it hasn’t been too rainy it’s usually quite nice to run on so long as you keep your eyes open for dog eggs. It was nice to run it again yesterday and I actually saw other runners – 3 in fact! Usually because of the late nights I tend to see only the occasional dog walker so it was nice to see these even if our only greeting to each other was a nod and wave rather than a stop-and-chat about the state of pre-race loos and the problems with lycra.

    The path slopes upwards but is straight and fairly scenic with old brick railway bridges every so often. The path comes to a stop with a wall at the end but if you look closely there’s a track on the left side that runs under the trees with boards over a couple of boggy patches and which comes out about 100m back down the track – great for a quick but squishy run. Or there’s a zigzag path leading up the high hill on the right side of the track. This is usually well hidden by trees but it looked as though the local arbourists had been hard at work and although the hill was clear, the path up the hillside was littered with branches.

    I don’t tend to get put off by a couple of obstacles so I climbed the worst and jumped over the rest but when I got to the top of the path to turn into the picnic area, the gap in the bridge was blocked with a big metal fence. Bother. Turn around, back over the branches and back onto the usual route.

    It was a nice run and it was good to have a bit of a change with the tree climbing.  I’d checked the Garmin to confirm I was at marathon pace, but on reflection, I should have covered the Garmin for the final 4 miles and run it on what I thought was marathon pace.


    Distance: 6.18 miles

    Time: 51:07

    Total pace: 8:16 min/mile


    First 2 miles average approx: 9:15 min/mile (stopped to climb over some branches)

    Final 4 miles average approx: 7:51 min/mile

    Garmin Info

  • Well my new trainers have been used for all of my runs this week and they've been great! No blisters or sore feet which is a relief. With my 2160s it used to take me about 40 miles to get my feet used to them or wear the trainers in (one or the other) but these have been fine! Phew!

  • RRR, great reports are all well and good, but quite frankly young lady I am a bit disappointed with the recent sparsity of photographic entertainment in your posts!  You are letting the Asics team down, you are letting the forum down, but most of all you are letting yourself down!

  • great to see you are doing so well RRR! Can't believe you are so close to Paris now, excited for you image

    Im loving the Asics gt-2000's too. I, like you, found they needed no 'breaking in'. I was reluctant to part with my 2160s but I'm glad now.

  • No niggles and the recovery was quite quick , I went out on tuesday morning for a speed session and did really well so fingers crossed things are going great,

    i have a 22 miler sunday with first 10 mile at 90 mins and the last 10 mile at marathon pace 80 mins, once this is achieved I will be alot more confident of completeing the VLM in my target time of 3;30.

  • Just thought I'd make it a bit more clearly , I know I said 22 mile but on my schedule it amounts to 20 mile , I forgot to put down 1 mile at both ends for warming up and cooling down , didn't want people thinking we runners can't count :-/

    hi Runny

    dog eggs? Never heard that before - made me giggle!

    Fantastic running. I think of you every time I feel a bit reluctant and just get on with it. (I love running by the way- just been very busy and very tired). I think you'll do brilliantly at Paris.image


  • Hi Sarah....I decided to do my recovery run in my old trainers...didnt trust the new ones on tired legs (although they didnt actually feel that tired).

    Is it a nice feeling knowing that you have done your last long run pre marathon?
  • well done on doing the marathon pace run - bit quick unless you are planning 3:25 and not sure any trees to climb at Paris.

    Re Finchley have done 5 times now 1:57 in 1978 and 1:52 in 1980 and 1981, then big break (mostly Thanet 20 in the 90s and the 00s) until 2:25 in 2011 (calf pull) and then 2:19 in 2013

  • RunnyRunRun wrote (see)

    Afternoon Steve Marathon Coach

    So a proper run with history then! Did you run it again after you set your PB to try to beat it? (Apart from this year!)

    I’ll cut back on the caffeine now and start on the de-caff coffees. I’d forgotten about cutting back so thanks for the reminder! I’m completely off tea at the moment – have heard that the tannin in tea can have a bad effect on vitamin C and I started drinking tea just before I had the cough. It’s probably just a coincidence but I’ll leave any tea experimentation until AFTER Paris!

    Tea can affect iron absorption and vit C increases iron absorption from foods so perhaps this is why the Vit C is thought to affect this... should I mention that polyphennols in coffee also have this effect (reducing uptake of iron from green veggies etc) whether decaf or not BUT just eat lots of brightly coloured fruit and veg and you will have lots vitamin C (which you do) even with decaf coffee or decaf tea.

    Love you thoughts whilst running - I ponder people's dietimage

  • Afternoon Xyloid!

    Sorry about the lack of pics ... (points finger of blame) it’s down to RW Towers! Apparently there’s a bit of a website problem at the moment with the pics. If it’s any consolation you can find them here:

    But I do feel ashamed at the lack of pics if that helps ... image

  • Afternoon CailinAgRith!

    The time has gone SO quickly! The last 14 weeks of training feels as though it’s been compressed and I’ve actually only done about 3 weeks! I’m going to be standing on cobbles in Paris ... well running on cobbles ... before I know it!!

    I really do like the GT2000s. I ran in the 2160s for years and never really had any problems but I’m finding that I’m not getting the ankle ache in the 2000s that I did in the 2160s when I upped the mileage. I always thought that was just part of increasing the miles!!

    How’s your training going?

  • Afternoon Derrick!

    Sounds as though you’re doing brilliantly!! Glad the speed session went well and you had a quick recovery after your long run!

    I’m sure you’re going to smash that 3:30. Let me know how you get on on Sunday with your 20? 22 miler?

    p.s. I’m sure that Runner’s Brain is a proper medical condition! image

  • Afternoon Buffy!

    You hadn’t heard of dog eggs? I think it’s why we’ve got so many dogs in this area. Everytime I go out for a run I pass at least one dog laying a clutch.

    Have you kicked that bug? Mine hung on for AGES ... and I woke up this morning with another cold. (sigh) Hopefully it’ll be gone quickly. I’m blaming the time of year and the grotty weather keeping us out of the sunshine! It’s much more fun running in the sun. I can’t wait for the summer. Last year I booked days off work when the forecast was good and just ran and ran. Had a cracking tan although it stopped at my ankles from the running socks! Looked great in running gear but really, really odd on the beach!

  • Afternoon Sarah O!

    Fair enough. Not worth risking problems this close to the marathon!

    It’s an odd feeling knowing that it’s all tapering down to the marathon now. I’m working out my runs this week and thinking “only 17 miles this Sunday”. Seriously. When did 17 miles become ONLY?!

    It’s nice knowing that it’s bceoming warmer and lighter in the evenings though. It’s made such a difference the last couple of weeks. Training for a Spring marathon is a LOT harder than training for an Autumn one.


    Afternoon Steve Marathon Coach!

    Yes ... a little bit quick – sorry. I will behave at Paris though. Will not deviate from 7:55 – 8 min/miles! Unless I get passed by an ice cream van at mile 25 – a girl’s got to have incentive! image I understand that the last few miles are through woods so I will also have to try and restrain myself from any tree climbing.

    I’ve got physio tonight (back a bit tight causing a sore knee – usually easily fixable by physio) and this evening I will be in London so away from the track. I’m looking to move the 800s session to tomorrow or try to get this done at the hotel gym if that’s ok?

  • Afternoon Ruth!

    Thank you for clarifying that – there’s so much pseudo-medical myths going around it’s nice to get a proper expert’s opinion! So if I change to de-caf coffee then I’ll get the kick on race day but if I carry on eating all the different fruit ad veg that I do I should be ok even with the polyphenols?

    Hee hee! Are you ever tempted to stop people eating fast food in the street and tell them off? image

  • Week 14, Day 3

    Goal: 9 miles at 8:30 min/miles

    Actual: 9 miles at 8:30 min miles


    Checked Garmin every now and then but ran this session by feel – by what I thought was 8:30 min/mile. Not far off. Looks as though I’m getting better. However looking at mile paces, it looks as though I only really got 2 of the miles close to 8:30 – the others were a bit of a way on either side. However, I consoled myself that the gradient chart looks a bit like a bikini – I must have slowed down on the uphills and sped up a bit on the downhills to get the right pace. (Points finger of accusation at the hills)

    I had faint shooting pains up right leg and a dull ache on right knee. I considered cutting the run short at the 4 mile point, but recognised the pains for what they were – my back was tightening up again rather than anything serious. I’ve got a physio appointment tomorrow which I’d booked a while ago at Sarah Connor’s advice – to get checked out before the marathon and it looks as though it’s come at the right time. I’ve also got a sports massage next Tuesday but I’m hoping that (faint hope) it won’t be too horribly painful and also that we can agree beforehand that no elbows are to be used. However I’m pretty sure that won’t agree to this. But it’s worth asking, right?

    I’ve also woken up with a cold. Again. Yet again the finger of blame is coming out and I’m pointing it firmly at my 3 year old who seems to be bringing home every cough, cold and sickness bug from nursery. We’re all taking so many vitamin pills in my house at the moment, we rattle.


    Distance: 9:07 miles

    Time: 1:16:44

    Avg pace: 8:27 min/miles

    Garmin Info

    (Just tried to post a pic - no luck. I'm a bit relieved to be honest as I'm dressed entirely in clashing neon and look a bit of a twit)

  • Top blog Runny!  you have more than redeemed yourself! Give yourself a pat on your neon and lycra clad back!

  • Phew yes good timing get a good mot on your back and release those hips. keep me posted.

  • Ive just done the exact same , 9 miles 1hr 17 mins , I also tried it without the garmin , I was 3 mins faster than I should have been. Not bad eh !!

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