Target 26.2 - First Timer Steve's Journey to Paris

Well here goes nothing!

After an absolutely mind-blowing couple of weeks, training has begun on my journey to the Paris Marathon 2013.

The whole process so far, from filling out the online form, to clicking submit, bootcamp, being told I was one of the final five, going to the ASICS flagship store, receiving my training plan and getting out there tonight in some amazing new running gear has been a bit of a blur to be honest!

I've met some amazing, funny, knowledgeable people (and Malcs), had so many kind things said to me, learnt such a huge amount in a short time... and realised just how little I do actually know about running... It's already been a humbling experience and I still have so far to go.

So this thread will hopefully chart my journey from novice to sub-4 hour marathon runner. There will be highs and I'm sure there'll be some lows... I may not be able to promise much wisdom, but I hope it'll be entertaining and I hope you all learn something with me.

I feel like I have so much to share already that it's going to be a job to fit it all into a few posts, but I'll do my best! As I am a first timer, I do plan on sharing all the tips and advice I can for my fellow first-timers and those that aren't quite as experienced as some of the amazing runners on this forum... so apologies to those more experienced runners who maybe can't understand my boyish delight at discovering my new ASICS running gloves had little magnets to hold them together...

Simple things eh?

Please feel free to ask whatever questions spring to mind - I've asked so many stupid questions already and found out so much (e.g. being shown how to tie my laces properly on my running shoes!) and I really hope all the novices/first-timers/less-experienced runners out there feel comfortable enough doing the same.

As the French would say: Paris, ici je viens!



  • Nice one Steve ,im going to follow this one as im after a sub 4 marathon myself next year.

    I wish you the best of luck with it bud.Take the good advice on board and do it justice for yourself

  • My training plan

    I'm sure the burning question on everyone's lips is: what training plan has Sam Murphy given me?

    Well, given that I have only run one proper half marathon and I have been doing relatively low mileage, she is breaking me in gently with a view to upping the ante as the weeks progress.

    Based on my times for other distances, she has given me the following paces for the different sessions:


    Jog (recovery) = 10.15 - 11 mins per mile

    Comfortable (easy) = 9.10 - 10.05 mins per mile

    Steady = 8.30 - 9.05 mins per mile

    Fast (tempo) = 8.05 - 8.20 (or for intervals 7.55 - 8.10) mins per mile

    Speedwork = 7.00 - 7.50 mins per mile, depending on distance.


    So, with those in mind, here is the schedule for my first week (don't laugh, all you speedy guys):



    Wednesday - 1 MILE COMFORTABLE then 3X ACCELERATION STRIDES then 4x400m (or 4x100secs) at 6.50-7.00 MIN PACE WITH 2 MIN JOGS BETWEEN EACH then 1 MILE COMFORTABLE (total 3 miles)

    Thursday - REST

    Friday - 3 MILE JOG

    Saturday - REST


    My mileage for week one, then, comes in at 17 miles, and I plan on squeezing a nice swim in there too!


  • Magnets in the gloves?? Sound pretty cool to me!

    Good luck Steve I too will be following this as I'm a first timer in may! Hopefully can pick up some tips and share story's along the way.

    Not such a glamorous one as Paris but a nice local one to me and also it's still a marathon so it's still going to be an epic journey for me image
  • Thanks young cowboy, I really appreciate it. Planning on taking on as much advice as is humanly possible and then sharing it all on here! image

    Good luck with your sub-4 marathon - which mara are you planning on running?

  • Jason - Haha glad I'm not the only one that thought that!image

    Please do post on here and let me know how you're getting on - it's nice to know I'll not be the only one attempting their first!

    A marathon is an epic journey, no matter where it is - it's something not many people manage to do and needs an enormous amount of dedication and commitment so I reckon, come Spring, we can all be feeling pretty proud of ourselves...

  • jenfjenf ✭✭✭

    I want magnets in my gloves now!!

    Nice first week plan Steve.. image Happy running in your nice new trainers!

  • So why do your gloves have magnets in? You'll be able to open the fridge door from a distance! image

  • Good Luck Steve, the journey begins and I'll be a watchin image

  • Shopping day

    So yesterday the famous five gathered in Oxford Street at the ASICS flagship store for a day of being spoilt rotten, in the true spirit of Christmas. For 'tis better to give than receive... and ASICS managed that pretty well!

    The day started with a mercy tube ride to Euston to rescue RunnyRunRun and escort her across London. After explaining to her how ticket machines worked, we made our way to Oxford Street and the store itself, where we proceeded to take embarrassing tourist-y shots of ourselves gurning outside the store before scarpering before we got noticed by anyone important...


     Here's me not looking foolish at all.

    I then got a phone call from Kat from Runners World asking why we'd been standing outside taking photos of ourselves and then done a runner... To coin a phrase: "Bugger".

    We were shown inside and, I have to say, the store is amazing - anyone who can get themselves to London, it is well worth a visit. It is jam-packed with tech, from 3D foot scanners, gait analysis, VO2 max machines... the works.

    They let us lose to choose our free gear and Shady_Ady, A.W and myself proceeded to fight over all the medium-sized running kit... Fortunately, I think we all just about got what we wanted without violence breaking out.

    Then came the photos... so many photos... I'd never thought before that it could be hard work, just standing there whilst someone took snaps. Wrong! The photgrapher had apparently been raised in Nazi Germany and after spending half an hour being shifted two millimetres to the left, then three to right, crossing my arms, uncrossing my arms... smiling, not smiling, fierce-gazing, dramatically gazing into the distance... no not over there, the distance over there... he eventually relented.

    I then had to give a video interview with the lovely Katie from RW:

     No, I don't know what she's doing here either.

    I thought the photos were tough... I made it through the interview in one piece but I'm not sure exactly what I said! Apologies in advance...

    Luckily, us five were not the only ones to suffer and Rachel from ASICS had to take her fair share of the punishment:


    Then came gait analysis and I was pleased to be told that I do not over-pronate as much as I used to... although Carl, who did the gait analysis for me, told me that I had "lovely" feet. I'm not quite sure how to take this.

    Whilst getting my gait analysis done, I had about another two thousand photos taken and spent an informative five minutes, whilst the photographer tried to get the perfect shot, posing and watching Carl point to a model of the bones in a human foot whilst he was actually talking about cheese. Carl loves cheese and knows almost as much about it as he does about gait.

    Feta is his preferred cheese, in answer to your unasked question, and he loves a nice cheese board.

    The whole day was great fun and flew past so quickly. We were lucky enough to be able to choose £500 of ASICS kit (!!) and then, as if that were not enough, given a Garmin 210 Forerunner each!

    My four team-mates were all great fu

  • fun and we all spent the day with huge grins draped over our faces. It was a real pleasure meeting up with them and the team from ASICS and Runners World made the day a pleasure from start to finish. It was a shame to have to go home!

    The RW team:


  • jinglebellsjen wrote (see)

    I want magnets in my gloves now!!

    Nice first week plan Steve.. image Happy running in your nice new trainers!

    Thanks Jen - Sam is definitely breaking me in gently! image

    My new trainers are fab. I am a little bit in love...


  • RunnyRunRun wrote (see)

    So why do your gloves have magnets in? You'll be able to open the fridge door from a distance! image

    ...which means I can get to the bacon quicker. What's your point?image

    Loved reading your thread - felt like I was back at the store image

  • SC is Coming to Town wrote (see)

    Good Luck Steve, the journey begins and I'll be a watchin image

    Thanks SC - loved every minute so far and can't wait to really get my teeth into the training! Are you running a Spring mara?

  • No I'm not Steve, not quiet ready for it, but I hope to run one this autumn, I'll be hoping to pick up tips from here and on the other Asics and Forum 6 threads image

  • MalcsMalcs ✭✭✭

    Right then Magneto, where shall we start?...image

    You know, I don't know why they paired you up with Sam Murphy. No offence to Sam, she's lovely (a bit of blatant crawling never does any harm).

    However, if anyone has a proven track record of consistently hitting just under 4 hours for the marathon it's me! I'm a freakin' expert. So if it doesn't work out with the Asics team, give me a call. We can meet up at Greggs and talk turkey over a cheese and bacon wrap. 

    Best of luck dood!

  • Brilliant stuff SLB. I'm so excited for you!! You are going to have such a fantastic following with so many people who are doing their first Spring (or other first) Marathon in 2013 looking to you for advice and support for themselves too. As you've already found out the friendships made in the running community truly are priceless and we're all behind you 110%. You are a very worthy winner x CaroT

  • Going to run Loch Ness again next autumn and i know theres a sub 4 in me somewhere so this threads looking good to maybe pick up a few tips along the way


  • Santa loves bacon wrote (see)


    Simple things eh?

    Please feel free to ask whatever questions spring to mind - I've asked so many stupid questions already and found out so much (e.g. being shown how to tie my laces properly on my running shoes!) 

    Ok then Steve, please share with me the secret of how to tie your laces ! My left lace always stays in place but my right one will often come undone. I didnt realise there was a wrong way to be honest ! Cheers

  • Great pictures , and love love love the shoes - now where are my sunglasses...


  • Hi Steve Loves Magnets!  Wonder how many variants of your name we'll have collected by the time you get to Paris? image

    As I once said to RRR - sub 4? Go for it!  If I can do it at first crack - you can! Just think of the pain au bacon at the finish line! She did it, I did it - are you gonna let us girlies show you how it's done LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL (seriously though - it is doable - just give it your best shot that's all we ask - good luck)

    Will be relying on you guys to keep me entertained over the winter - you're already far more interesting than the tv - hurrah! image


  • Ahhh.... here you are!  Great start to your training thread Steve.

    Some quick questions:

    • Which shoes did you get?
    • How have you been told to perform the acceleration strides?  (I'm scheduled to do some later today, so I'm very interested in this)
    • What options did you take when using MyAsics to generate your vanilla training plan? (I'd like to compare your actual training with the default plan, to see how Sam adjusts it).
    Also...  where's Sam? image
  • Santa loves bacon wrote (see)

    As the French would say: Paris, ici je viens!

    You're already a step-up on last year's mob, who can't even spell "Au Revoir" image

  • Have you been given any core training exercises to do on the XT days?  If so, what is your program and when do you start them?

  • Also.....

    have you given up bacon as promised for the votes, or are you like a typical politician and have made your first U-Turn?


  • Good point Tenjiso ... as I recall he promised he would redistribute the bacon he would no longer eat.... We can provide our own SAEs....image

  • Steve.........sounds like a great day.............those comfortable paces seem a bit fast for the long runs.....will be interesting to see how they progress as they get longer.......

    they had to but steve with sam to avoid confusion  image

    i am also interested to see how the plan differs to the asics printed plan.......

  •  Hi everyone,

    Thanks so much for all the nice comments and questions!

    Having a bit of a manic day at work today, then off to a hearing this evening that doesn't even start until 6pm (!) then back at the office tomorrow morning before the staff xmas meal tomorrow evening...

    What I'm trying to say is that I might be a teensy bit rushed over the next two days - please bear with me, I will answer everyone's questions and chuck up a post or two about my first couple of training runs image

    Ten, just a quick one as you said you would be doing some acceleration strides later today:

    When I asked Sam to explain, she said:

    "So, acceleration strides: these are a good way of 'bridging the gap'
    between a jog warm up and faster running, say, in an interval/speed
    session or even to just do at the end of an easy run to 'remind' your
    legs to keep turning over nice and quick.
    Start at a pace you consider steady/brisk and count 8 strides
    (paces) then accelerate for another 8 paces, accelerate again for
    another 8 and finish with a final 8 by which point you should be
    running fast (but not all-out sprinting). Focus on good form
    throughout - nice tall posture, feet turning over quickly and not
    overstriding (ie. sticking your leg out too far in front - look at Mo,
    and think of all the 'action' being in the back of the stride, when
    the leg extends behind)."

    Hope that helps!

  • Great answer - thanks Steve.

  • Following on from what Seren said about the paces, they look to me more like those of somebody shooting for nearer to 3:45 than 4:00?  Is there something you haven't told us about new targets or anything? image  You can tell me - I won't hold you to it.

  • Hi, finally had the chance to read your new thread, loved reading about your journey so far. Good luck and enjoy the experience. Looking forward to reading about the rest of your journey to Paris.
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