Training for the Paris Marathon: the Finchley 20 (in Ruislip…)

quick groin update

Just to give a little update on the groin situation, haha. I had a rest-week since my last post (Paris Marathon – groin strain), which is the most frustrating thing when you’re this far in! Anyway, I decided to go to a physio who said GET OUT THERE NOW! You’re fine, just strengthen it, etc etc. Anyway, I then saw his colleague and she was the total opposite, which really dented my confidence. She said things like “I’d prefer you not to run outside” and “you might not be able to run Paris”. Basically unhelpful. Anyway, I then went back to the first physio and he apologised for the confusion, and sent me tons of exercises and stretches to do, as well as a diet plan – something, I’ll be honest, I hadn’t given any thought to.

back to training

So this week I was excited to get back into it! I had three short (easy) runs this week, and only hurt for one of them (the one I ran just after seeing Mrs Unhelpful Physio, surprisingly). I was determined to run the Finchley 20, just as a good training run and also it would be my first ‘organised’ long run. Ever.

the Finchley 20

I followed the physio’s advice to the T. I went swimming on Saturday, incorporating running underwater and anything other than breast-stroke, with that lethal-for-groins leg flick. I bought some protein powder, something I thought I’d never do! I chose chocolate, and it’s actually yummy. I am also drinking a glass of milk a day now, as this helps the bones during training. I even did pre-race warm up exercises, which included a ‘silly walk’ for all you Monty Python fans – I looked ridiculous!

On the day, it was an early start at 6.45 but I got there nice and early. I had all my gels with me, as well as my inhaler and my (prohibited) headphones. About half an hour before the start everyone was trying to decide whether or not to wear rain-gear, but I’m so glad I did! It POURED down during the second or third lap (it was all a bit of a haze) to the point where I had to close my eyes it was so sharp! Nice and cold though for running.

The race consists of four laps of five miles each, and at every turn in the road there were race wardens, many of them handing out jelly babies, water and squash. They also cheered everyone on all the way! I took energy gels and blocs, as well as regular water. I did ache in various places, but surely that’s to be expected, after all I was running 20 miles! I woke up this morning with a swollen ankle, but all manageable!

the finish

I felt great by mile 18, and I thought there was actually a chance of a) finishing in 3.20 and b) running the whole way. I also realised at this point that I had not used my inhaler once. That’s unheard of for me when on a long run. Straight after the run I had a protein shake to re-fuel.

newFinchley 20

I can’t tell you how pleased I was when I found a Yorkie in my goody bag on the way home… it was what I wanted without knowing it!

the stats – for all you running geeks!

You’ll notice that I actually gained speed for each lap, which I didn’t expect, and finished at 9m51s per mile… yey!

finchley20 mapfinchley20

finchley20 pacefinchley20 pace 2
finchley20 pace 3
finchley20 pace4

Anyone doing the Hyde Park 20? That’s where I’ll be on Sunday…


8 thoughts on “Training for the Paris Marathon: the Finchley 20 (in Ruislip…)

  1. Hi Cordelia. A while ago you left a comment on my site – Thanks very much for your comment and kind words and I hope you don’t mind some advice from another asthmatic single figure marathoner.

    You’ve done the 20! If you nail the 20, you’re ready. You may not think you are, but you are. The thing to remember about building distance is that it never gets any easier, you just get better at it.

    Do not set out too fast in Paris – I can’t stress that enough. It’s crowded and it’s busy and the street around miles 8-11 to get narrow. It will be tough, but take it easy and enjoy your race.

    Call out to the UK flags. They will be standing there for hours waiting for their one runner to come through and they will be humbled that you’re lifting them, and you’ll get the support 10 times back. Bank the support. Don’t spring off when you feel good. You’ll need it in the Bois de Boulogne. That’s where the real fans are.

    Stand tall and run strong. You have done all the work. You’re already a marathoner. The magic isn’t that you’ll finish – the magic is that you had the courage to start.

    You’ve got this.


    • Thank you so much for a great comment. It’s great to have that encouragement from someone who has obviously been there before! I can’t actually describe how much your blog encouraged me. I shared it with everyone and anyone and got such a great response. The way you described the course in such detail means that now when I think about it I have a clear picture, and am genuinely excited. Honestly, your blog really made such a difference to my attitude towards the whole thing.

      I’ll be careful not to start too fast, I know it will be tempting. However, I will speed up as I go, like I did at the 20 miler without even realising! If I have that energy I won’t use it all up, I’ll try to manage it and see how far I can push myself.

      I know now that I can do it, however I did hear this the other day:

      “The first 20 miles were fine, it was the second half that killed me”

      Slightly worried that’ll be me, however I KNOW I’ll be fine IF I don’t have to stop for any reason! As soon as I stop, my muscles say OOOWWWW and that’s that. No carrying on…

      Thank you again for your kind words, this kind of support is invaluable. You have given me the idea of having an English flag somewhere on my person, which will I’m sure get some cheers!

      Thanks again Cliff – keep an eye to see how I get on.

      Cordelia 🙂

    • I thought it would be hard, but actually as it was 20 miles split into four laps of 5 miles, I used that to mentally keep myself going. It was also nice to see the same race marshals on each round! Thanks for the tip with the powder – I’ll try that 🙂

  2. Well done on the 20 mile race that must have been the weekend I did the wet sodden Reading half, the thought of another 7 miles wasnt even entertained. I’m sure I got frozen thigh muscles as they still are aching and I have 22 miles tomorrow to complete – help !
    Now enjoy the taper and I look forward to your race report. i have a friend going over to run n Paris marathon.

  3. Pingback: Running the Paris Marathon: My First Marathon is done! | Boats, Bikes, Baking and Books

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