Target 26.2 - First Timer Steve's Journey to Paris



  • jenfjenf ✭✭✭

    Sorry to hear you're not well Steve, wishing you a speedy recovery.

  • Don't be such a wus.  Get out and run.



  • jenf wrote (see)

    Made an absolutely lush 'stew' this eve with some scraggy bits of lamb, leeks, carrot and pearl barley.  Never used pearl barley before, but it was so easy. Is it a good source of carbs Ruth?

    Hi Jenf

    Thanks for post. A cup cooked would have around 45g of carbs so that is good source of carbs  but often people only use it added to stews etc so if only have a small amount then obviously less carbs. It would only have around 1g of fat for a cup and less than 200kcal. Great source of soluble fibre which is good for lowering cholesterol. The protein content will be similar to pasta and other grains so around 4-5g per cup.


  • Steve

    Get well soon.

    I love it when people have cast iron stomachs for running, always helps.

    I will talk through a race day plan with you on Saturday then I can post  up your start plan on Monday. Did the sweets actually taste hot?? Surely not....

    We can also go through recovery post runs and snacking/eating prior to runs and i can post outcome of our wee chat!

    See you Saturday. Rest up.

    Oscarr - what are your targets this year?


  • Hi Ruth - some different targets this year along with an old friend - the old friend is the Abingdon Marathon in October with another attempt at sub 4hr - before that i'm spending the first half of the year adventure running with races ranging from long xc (Coombe Gibbet 16m), to hills (Grindleford Gallop 21m), to weeks "running holiday" in Cape Wrath all leading up to the 2 day The Wall 69 mile event in June from Carlisle to Newcastle - am doing The Wall with Sleepy Bear from last year's bootcamp.  Are you still running?

  • Hi Oscarr. glad to see you're keeping busy then!image

    Get well soon Steve. Hope you'll be OK for Saturday...

    Hi Ruth - look forward to catching up!

  • Get well soon buddy.... hope Malcs hasn't posted his germs on your thread image

  •  Hi Sam - yes, it keeps me going

  • MalcsMalcs ✭✭✭
    Steve loves bacon wrote (see)

    Not feeling at all well and have spent the entire evening under the duvet. Off to sleep now.

    image oh man I hope you don't get what I had! Fingers crossed it was too many chilli jellies. Wishing you well for a swift recovery.

    Green & White Tigger wrote (see)

    Get well soon buddy.... hope Malcs hasn't posted his germs on your thread image

    Ooh - is that possible? I did a virus check before posting just in case.

  • Evening Bacon Steve!

    Hope you're feeling better! You realise if you're still feeling poorly tomorrow at the bootcamp we will be forced to spray you with disinfect and make you stand in a corner so you don't give us all manflu!image

  • jenfjenf ✭✭✭

    Hope you were feeling ok for training day Steve, and you get back on form soon.

  • Great to  meet you yesterday Steve - hope you managed to get out today and feel OK. But you've done the right thing taking an easy week to get over the lurgy!

  • Hi Steve, hope you are feeling a bit better mate. At least it's early and plenty of time to recover properly and no need to panic.

    Sam - Nice to see you today at Canterbury. Well done on the PB as well.

  • Hello lovely you!!!!....great to catch up yesterday....even if you did over-take me!!!.....Looking forward to the next get together at Dorney Lakes....I hope we get cake there!!!!....( Ruth wont be around!!!...image.....) 

  • imageMel... I don't ever say "no cake" I say "limit cake!"

     It was great to see you all on Saturday and hope journeys home where safe and as enjoyable as they can be!

    oscarr wrote (see)

    Hi Ruth - some different targets this year along with an old friend - the old friend is the Abingdon Marathon in October with another attempt at sub 4hr - before that i'm spending the first half of the year adventure running with races ranging from long xc (Coombe Gibbet 16m), to hills (Grindleford Gallop 21m), to weeks "running holiday" in Cape Wrath all leading up to the 2 day The Wall 69 mile event in June from Carlisle to Newcastle - am doing The Wall with Sleepy Bear from last year's bootcamp.  Are you still running?

    Oscarr -  adventure running now that's what I enjoy!  Before children & after my  attempt at a serious running career, i took up adventure racing and loved the mountain biking and the off road running. I do most of my running now on the hills but still only like to run up to half marathon distances (off road when I can) as feel my body holds together for the training and the odd 18mile run but 69 miles would leave me unable to walk !  Love the running holiday idea, the warmth of the sun on your back will be so nice (if you dress in the right kit and drink enough of the right fluidimage). 

    Running keeps a focus in life so will always run. I even raced last year in some low key local races, some off road triathlons and duathlons and really enjoyed all of them and being part of the running community again. Glad to hear you are still going like a steam train and good luck in all of the events this year.

  • Hi everyone, thanks for all your kind messages image

    Pleased to report that I'm feeling pretty good today! First time in a week that I've been able to say that so I am now all images this end...

    Apologies for neglecting the thread over the past week or so, but rest assured I am feeling back on form and back in the game...

    I am at work at the mo so this is just a quick one but will fully update everyone with a ful-on weekend at training camp, meeting Sam, Ruth, the rest of the famous five and the Runners World team later on this evening. We all had a great time and I was reminded once more what a lovely bunch I've had the pleasure of being involved with...

    I got loads and loads of fantastic tips and found out, amongst other things:

    1. How rubbish my posture is when I run;
    2. How my diet is so much better now but that there is still a lot I can do to improve on it;
    3. I'm still terrible at video interviews;
    4. You should never to book a hotel BEFORE checking if your nice, new car has an oil leak;
    5. If you do the Mo-bot for the cameras halfway through an interval you get moaned out by the photographer and told to concentrate on your running;
    6. That it is ok to check yourself out in shop windows as you run past (as long as you kid yourself that you are checking your posture and not just being a tart);
    7. Physio Sarah has thumbs of steel and does mean things to hamstrings; and
    8. I have learnt so much about running... but I still have a huge amount to learn!


    Sam - I didn't go out yesterday in the end as I wasn't really 100% on Saturday (I actually don't think I was anywhere near 100%!!) and hadn't eaten much all week and the Winders session, the early morning and the travel really took it out of me - I felt very, very tired and drained yesterday and had a loooong unplanned kip in the afternoon which really helped! So the plan is to do the long run this evening instead and, feeling how I do today, I think I made the right decision in doing that... Hope that is ok, I thought it better to listen to my body rather than slavishly follow the days on this occasion.  Run report to follow later!


    Ruth, you wanted to know how much I weigh - I had a go on the scales and I currently weigh 11st 2 or 71kgs, so that was a pretty good guess!

  • Steve

    At last we have met! I will write up a wee summary of the discussion we had on Saturday for all to see.

    It was agreed that Steve has to lose no more weight but he will still focus on his new and improved day to day eating (a big well done on this).  However the big focus is now on half marathon in February as this is going to be a dress rehearsal for Paris!

    So a few areas Steve will practice at his rehearsal:

    • Practice race morning breakfast & any further snacks (& timings of breakfast & snacks prior to race).
    • Steve is new to taking on fuel during races so we are going to work on this.  Steve has indicated that gels is what he will likely use and he is going to trial caffeine in these gels.
    • We also discussed a mini carbohydrate loading trial before the half marathon to see how this works for him but will post this later this week/early next week.


    • 3 hours before race start: Porridge & half bagel with jam/honey or banana and small glass of fruit juice if wish and usual tea or coffee.
    • Then sip on 500ml of fluid until race start, either water or isotonic sports drink.
    • 120-90minutes before race start: half bagel/1 slice of bread with jam or honey – optional, he can have a full bagel at breakfast then nothing before.
    • Continue to sip on fluid as feel you need.

    The above is what I suggest based on Steve’s likes and dislikes but the amount & timing he will have to work out for himself with practice.



    During race: In regards how many gels Steve will be using during the marathon this is likely to be 2 per hour but not more than 3. So even during the half in Feb the start plan is a gel every 30 minutes so he is practising for Paris including how he is going to carry these etc (belt etc)

    I have discussed with Steve that if using caffeine only use 150-200mg of this during the whole race and drip feeding this. I have based this on his body weight of 70kg and the evidence is you need between 1-3mg of caffeine per kilogram body weight.


    I said I would post some examples of gels Steve could use as finding the right gel is trial and error for some however; Steve appears to have a cast iron stomach, most of the time! And this may help.


     For those other first timers to a marathon you need to consider what type of gel you are going to use. For example, one with water already in it and hence don’t need to drink with it, these gels are described as something between a drink and a gel but they will also be heavier to carry (as have more water in them) or ones without water added so they have a thicker consistency but is lighter to carry but more concentrated in month & you need to drink 150ml or more of water with it.

    Most, if not every brand of gel, does a caffeine gel and the same gel but without the caffeine. However the decision if using caffeine is how much you need and wish to use to have a good effect. These gels range usually between 30-50mg of caffeine but some used more heavily in cycling have 100mg per gel (CNP cola gels, these may be useful for those that what a bigger boost but you may only use say 1-2 of these in the race and use other non-caffeine gels for the rest of the race). Here are a few examples for Steve in next post!

    • Powerbar ( Have 3 main gels. Powergel and powergel fruit (some real fruit juice added) with 26/27grams of carb per gel but need to drink with this, no caffeine in these. If you want one with lighter consistency then powergel hydro also 26g of carbs but no water needed. Or as an alternative to a  gel powerbar do the powerbar shots (sweets with 5 g of carb per sweet and these have caffeine in them). These sweet suits those that like to drip feed their fuel in the race (so rather than consuming a gel 2 per hour you are taking a sweet every 10minutes or so. A portion these have 75mg of caffeine.
    •  Or there is science in sport ( which have the GO gels with 22g of carb per gel, no water need with these and can buy with or without caffeine (50mg  caffeine per gel).
    •  High five ( choice of isogel (23g of carbs with or without 30mg of caffeine) or energy gels with or without caffeine (also 30mg of caffeine) and same carb 23g but the energy gels you need to drink with as thickener consistency.

     There are lots of other gels but I have just picked out three brands to make it easier for Steve to choose!

     We also talked about eating before and after long/intense runs (will write this up later this week as  just looked back on what I have written and I think enough for Steve to be getting on it!). If these posts are not clear please ask me further questions/ask me to re-word



  • Ruth - thanks for the post - totally agree with running giving focus, I don't know what I would do without it plus all the health benefits. Got some sun on my running back last November as did the Cyprus 4 day international challenge which was a great trip. Camaraderie in the running community is also a great thing - some of us from last years boot camp plus Bo and Choisty from last years Asics team regularly post on a follow up forum thread - folk such as mcs, sleepy bear, reiki rabbit etc - quite a few of us are meeting up to race the Coniston 14 plus sleepy's hubbie Ben who is a bit quick (he won Fleet half last year). Just love all things running and the Asics thingy has been and still is a great adventure.
  • Alright Steve......good to see you on Saturday. Sorry you've been ill all last week, but glad to hear that you're on the mend now. I think you made the best decision not to go out on Sunday and rest. I hope the long run today goes well. 

  • jenfjenf ✭✭✭

    Wow, lots of really good useful info there Ruth. Thank you!

    I'm happy using gels, and found one I like, but does anyone have a foolproof way of opening them easily whilst running?

  • Hi Steve, you poor thing - must have been tough getting through Saturday still feeling under par. Glad you are feeling better now and from your tweet, I see your long run went really well yesterday evening, so great stuff! 

    After our chat on Saturday, we revised Wednesday's session to 1 mile easy, 4 miles goal HMP (half marathon pace) 1 easy. This should still be fine to do tomorrow, and today can either be rest or the 4 mile jog, depending on how you feel.

  • Glad to see you are feeling better Steve and back at it!image

    Hi Sam - how did your group get on in Sundays race? Were they as happy as you must have been with their performances?

  • Training - Week 6

    Saturday – TRAINING DAY

    Saturday was Training Day 1 and another chance to meet up with the other Target 26.2 runners and the team behind us who have been giving us such amazing support in our journey towards Paris.

    As it is a good three and a half hours on the train but an hour less by car to get to Birmingham, I decided it would be best to drive up the night before and get to know my lovely new car I had only owned for a few days (after my old car went to the big scrapheap in the sky last week). I booked my hotel, filled the car to the brim with petrol, got my supplies sorted and, early on Friday evening, headed out the door.

    As I was heading out on a long journey, I did all the usual checks – coolant level, tires, oil... oil... Hmm. Should there really be a rapidly expanding puddle of oil under my car? I’m no mechanic but I thought that this probably wasn’t a good sign. I took it for an incredibly gentle poodle down the road and was rather alarmed but not surprised to see the oil light coming on. Not a good start! Two cars in two weeks... Was it something I said?

    After checking the train times, there was no way to get the train at that time in the evening to get to Birmingham and so I telephoned the hotel to cancel my booking. “Sorry sir, but you can’t cancel a booking after midday on the day you book in” – I only booked it at 4pm! How does that work??

    So the only solution was to swallow my losses and get the train up in the morning. Another £56 on train tickets. Hey ho.

    On the downside, that meant getting up at ten to five in the morning... On the plus side, I did get to have a bit of a snooze on the way up! My brother-in-law, Ijon Tichy, was an absolute diamond and dragged himself out of bed at five in the morning to give me a lift to a different station to the one I would usually use to make my journey a bit easier... He’s a great guy and I really appreciated it.

    I later learned that Mel had to get up at half three in the morning to get there!!! I didn’t even realise such a time existed unless it was after the pub... This puts my minor gripe about the train into perspective somewhat...! What made it even more amazing was that when I saw Mel she had her customary stunning smile on her face and I don’t think I saw her stop smiling all day.

    The day itself was a real pleasure throughout – Mel, Ady, Sarah and Alex are all genuine, friendly people and you can just feel their enthusiasm for running and how much they are all enjoying the experience as soon as you spend any time with them. It was great fun hanging out with each other.

    As for the experts, Sam, Steve, Ruth and Sarah, it is immediately obvious that they all love what they do and that they all really do know what they are talking about!

    We all had a chat and the Runners World team told us the itinerary for the day. We would be doing our running session with the coaches first then have individual sessions with each of the experts after that. In amongst this, we would have to fulfil our media commitments and have various photos taken and do our (dreaded) video interviews.

    The track was completely covered in snow, which didn’t help (!) but we headed out anyway and did our warm up around it whilst the (rather hardy) photographers took a few snaps.

    Sam and Steve had braved the elements on a scouting mission whilst us Johnny-Come-Latelys had been making our way to campus and had found a nice 1300m loop around the campus that was snow and ice free. It was also full of annoyingly young and fit students who kept flying past us whilst we ran at set paces and it was a bit of a challenge to stick to the pace and not chase after them shouting “I can go as fast as yo

  • ...

    you, it’s just that my coach won’t let me!”

    So, after a bit of a pep-talk and another warm up run (this time around the loop so we wouldn’t get lost!), we used this route to do a winders session. I have never heard of winders before but it was good fun and I can see why it is of benefit. Winders are a number of reps (we ended up doing 5) where the aim is to go faster on each rep than the last. We started around about goal marathon pace and aimed to get faster by 10 seconds or so on each rep, meaning we would end up getting on for 5-10k pace by the time we reached the last rep.

    I was suffering from a rather rotten stomach bug for pretty much the whole of last week and had been just about managing to get to work and then getting to bed at about 7pm each night and not really eating anything much of note. I forced myself to eat a proper dinner on Friday, which didn’t go down too well... By Saturday I was feeling a lot better than that but I think I was still well below 100% so I did find the session a bit of a challenge. I managed a Nutrigrain bar for breakfast at about 6am but didn’t eat anything else.

    On the first rep I was feeling pretty good and even did the Mo-bot to the cameraman, who promptly told me off and insisted I concentrate on my running. Spoilsport.

    The second rep also felt pretty good and I was joined around the loop by Katie RW from Runners World for a bit of a natter.

    The third, fourth and fifth loop didn’t feel quite so easy though and, I must confess, I did struggle a bit. I think the lack of proper food all week probably played a part in this and I was, apparently, looking pretty pasty-faced. Ruth asked me on three laps in a row as I staggered past whether I was feeling alright!

    But the times for the session were not too bad and I managed the laps in 6:45, 6:45, 6:15, 6:25 and 5:35 – not quite the smooth progression I was supposed to do but, given the circumstances, I was fairly pleased that I did manage to gradually get faster.

  • The experts

    I then had a chat with Sam, Ruth and Sarah.



    Sam and I had a great chat about how my training was going, what Sam was expecting from me and what I could do to improve.

    Sam had a chart that sets out what times you can expect to run at various distances based on a time for another distance. We fed my shiny new 5k time into that chart and that predicted an absolutely stunning marathon time of 3hrs 31mins!! Now, we are not suggesting for even one second that I would be able to get even CLOSE to that come Paris – my mileage up until now and my massive inexperience at the longer distances rules that out straight away. But it is a nice thought for the future and I think that, maybe next year or the year after, I could be capable of troubling the 3hr 30 mark... which is an amazing thought and a huge motivator for me!

    Given my lack of mileage and inexperience, we both agreed that sub four hours is realistic and, for a first marathon, anything below that would be an amazing achievement and something I would be incredibly proud of – running at 9 minute miles is not exactly plodding along and when I think about running at that pace for two hundred and forty minutes... it makes me realise just what an achievement that would be! Particularly when the furthest I have ever, ever run in my life is around 14.5 miles.

    We then went on to discuss the Dorney Lake half marathon which all five of us Target 26.2 runners will be running (can’t wait!). My PB for a half marathon is 1hr 52 mins... and so Sam set me the rather conservative goal of 1hr 45 mins... So only a PB by seven minutes then!! As I have said on many occasions, I do love a challengeimage

    Sam was very understanding about my having missed a couple of runs this week due to the stomach bug and we adjusted my Wednesday run to give me a bit of time at goal half marathon pace.

    During the warm-down after the winders session, Sam pointed out how I could improve my posture. I run, as lots of people do who played a lot of football when they were younger, a bit slumped over.

    A bit like this:




    When I should be running like this:




    I’m very jealous of Sam – she gets to spend all day talking about running and writing about running and having people ask her questions about running... I’m surprised she gets time to actually go out running!

    I genuinely ended the day with such a huge amount of respect for her and the realisation that I am getting the chance to have one-to-one sessions with someone who publishes books on the subject, who writes a monthly column for Runners World, who speaks at running expos and events is really, to be frank, just mind-blowing. The tickets to Paris, the photos in the mag and so on are all great but the expert advice on offer just tops everything!



    Ruth, the nutritionist, was absolutely lovely and, I hope you all note, actually said well done in one of her posts! And you all thought she was going to beat me with a big stick!

    We had a really good chat about what I eat and what I used to eat – Ruth has, rather helpfully, already posted a lot of what we spoke about so I won’t bore you all by repeating it.

    We focussed on what my pl

  • ...

    plans were for fuelling during the marathon itself and decided upon a strategy which I am going to trial at the half marathon in about three weeks.

    Again, as with Sam, I was left feeling like I had so much to learn and a real sense of how far I have come already. Ruth had some great suggestions for me and it will be interesting to see how I progress as the weeks pass. My diet has already changed beyond all recognition and it can surely only be for the best – I reckon the stomach bug was my body rebelling against the sudden influx of vitamins!!image



    Sarah, the physiotherapist, really knows her stuff – I shared a train back into the centre of Birmingham with Sam and she had nothing but nice things to say about her. Sam pretty much said that Sarah is the best physio she knows and, given how many miles Sam has run, she has probably had to subject herself to more than a few!

    Sarah really helped stretch me out and gave me a bit of an MOT after the first seven weeks of training. I have had a bit of a niggle in my hamstring and Sarah set to work on that. Unlike some physios, Sarah really understands that the body is a system and that everything is linked. If you have a problem with your hamstring, it is all very well to work out the kinks in the tight muscle... but what is it that caused that muscle to be tight in the first place? This is why Sam rates Sarah so highly.

    Sarah analysed my posture, my stance, how my core strength varied from one side of my body to the other and, as well as my hamstring being tight, very quickly found that my back reflected this and that the muscles there were equally as tight and under strain. She did... horrible things to me! She has thumbs of steel (I swear she was using her elbow more than once!) and I was thankful that I was able to hide my face from the cameras! The grotesque contortions my face was performing were probably not very pleasant and I may have damaged the expensive camera equipment if they had caught my expressions...

    After she had finished administering to me, my hamstring immediately felt better and we also revisited the bridge which she had shown us at bootcamp as a guide to how my core strength was going. She advised that, whilst my core strength is not too bad, I could do with some more core work... so watch this space.

  • Training – Week 7

    Monday – 12 MILES LONG RUN (6 MILES AT 9:40, 6 SPEEDING UP TO 9:05)

    This was originally intended to be Sunday’s run but, after Saturday, I felt seriously drained. I think the early morning, the first run in the week, the seven hours on trains... it was all a bit much after the stomach bug!

    Sunday was a bit... slow. I vegged out for the first couple of hours spending a bit of time with my son and, after I had taken him home, I crashed out in front of a DVD and woke up about four hours later not having realised I had fallen asleep!

    So I figured that, on this occasion at least, discretion was the better part of valour and that it was probably best the leave the 12 miles...

    I had a full 9 hours sleep on top of the massive kip and felt a lot better on Monday so after work I headed out for the run. I decided that, as the distance wasn’t far off a half marathon, I would use the run as a pre-half marathon test for a gel. I used one with caffeine in, as I had discussed with Ruth and... to be honest, it felt like rocket fuel!

    Maybe it was, in part at least, psychological but I really could feel a real boost after taking it. As I was running 12 miles, I decided (rather scientifically, I thought) to take it after 4 miles so that it would give me a chance to see if it had an effect and then to also see how long that effect would last.

    The first six miles were pretty steady and I felt pretty good throughout. I had felt a bit worried setting out, given the stomach bug, that I might crash and burn after a bit but that didn’t really transpire and I felt strong throughout. I did the first six miles in the following splits:

    Mile 1 – 9:41

    Mile 2 – 9:41

    Mile 3 – 9:42

    Mile 4 – 9:37

    Mile 5 – 9:38

    Mile 6 – 9:32 (whoops! Blame the caffeine gel for that...)

    I then started on the build up six miles and, again, felt surprisingly strong, especially after my sleepy Sunday! The six miles went past quickly and I was pretty impressed with myself by the end. In terms of general fitness, I finished the twelve miles breathing easily and not really feeling like I had run that distance. Obviously, pace-wise, this was well below what I will be doing at the half marathon but, given that the last six miles were building to marathon pace, I was pleased that I found that pace fairly easy... After the week before, it was very encouraging and I ended the run feeling very good about my running.

    I was supposed to build up to 9:05 pace but, feeling pretty good, I did go a little faster as it felt comfortable. I did the second six miles in the following splits:

    Mile 7 – 9:16

    Mile 8 – 9:11

    Mile 9 – 9:08

    Mile 10 – 8:49

    Mile 11 – 8:55

    Mile 12 – 8:54

    All of the above meant I completed the 12 miles in a total time of 1hr 52mins 9secs and a total pace of 9:21.

    It felt like a good session and the caffeine gel didn’t have any ill effects whatsoever. Good times image

  • jenfjenf ✭✭✭

    love the drawings! I kept them in mind today when my form was starting to go as I fatigued.

    Good running Steve!


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