Great Birmingham Run training week 1

My 16-week beginner’s training plan for the Birmingham Great Run started last Monday.  Following the relative success of my recent ‘my week in running’ post, I’ve decided to write a series of weekly – or fortnightly when I forget to blog – updates in the lead up to my target event of 2016. As I’ve said before, please close the page now if you find training review blog posts boring. I promise that I won’t get offended. Personally, I enjoy reading about other people’s training and lives. I guess I’m nosey.

Although my running has been consistent recently, after some discussion with several more experienced runners, I decided to opt for a beginner’s training plan. When it comes to training for and running slightly longer distances I am a beginner. I’m also quite very injury prone. Hopefully my knee and foot will cope with a slightly less demanding training plan.

The first week of the training plan is described as ‘getting started’. Although I’m good at starting training plans, I don’t think I’ve ever managed to complete a training plan. I usually attempt to increase my mileage too quickly, get injured and fail to make the start line. This time I’ve actually built up a bit of a base and feel ready to go.

Monday – 10 mins easy jog

Unusually, the training plan I’ve selected started with a run rather than a rest day. After spending the morning getting increasingly irritated by some of the rubbish being spouted on social media, I decided to head to the leafy surroundings of the Four Oaks Estate for my first run. I must have been feeling quite keen because once I’d completed my warm-up the “10 mins easy jog” turned into “10 mins running like a muppet”.

Collage 1

Rather worryingly I felt pretty knackered after running for 10 minutes at 5:25/km pace, my sub-25 minute 5k target remains a distant dream. On Thursday I will make sure that I slow down, I don’t want to injure myself in week 1! In the evening I treated myself to fish and chips in front of the England game.

Tuesday – Rest

I’m pretty good at resting on rest days and Tuesday was no exception. I spent the morning job hunting and feeling increasingly demoralised when I realised how many hydrology jobs rely on EU funding. I spent the afternoon working on my latest paper which will hopefully be good enough to be published. During a break from writing about effluent-dominated rivers I read this really interesting article – Kilian Jornet: how to run further than you’ve ever run before. By the time I realised that I hadn’t actually been outside it was time for Holby City. A successful rest day!

Wednesday – Rest

When I first studied my training plan, I was quite surprised to that the first week was telling me to take two consecutive rest days, twice. As my foot and knee tend to seize up if I don’t exercise regularly, I was determined to actually get off my arse on Wednesday! I’ve noticed that when I’m using my computer I always sit with my legs crossed – not ideal with my slightly wonky hip. I spent the morning job hunting, the afternoon completing application forms and then decided it was time for a break from my computer. As it had finally stopped raining I decided to head out for a walk. I eventually ended up walking for over an hour and only stopped because my left foot was feeling quite tender. I’ll be monitoring my left foot closely!

Thursday – 10 mins easy jog

My left foot felt fine so I decided to complete my second run in the morning. By the time I’d got dressed, had a cup of tea, found my running watch and generally farted around it was almost 9:00. Once I’d worked my way through my warm-up routine I was ready for another attempt at completing a “10 mins easy jog”. Although I set out at a slightly more sensible pace, I soon found myself speeding up as I ran past a group of workmen.  Another failed attempt at an easy jog, another reminder of how unfit I am at the moment!

Collage 2

Mum picked me up at 11:00 and we drove the short distance to Blackroot Pool in Sutton Park. When we arrived in the park I was handed half a bag of sliced white bread – apparently although I’m 37, I’m not too old to feed the ducks. I didn’t like to remind mum that white bread isn’t very healthy for ducks. Once we’d finished feeding the ducks and two very tame swans, we set off on a short walk. Short walk complete, it was time for some lunch and lawn mowing back at mums. Does lawn mowing count as a form of cardio exercise or cross training? I hope so as it took over an hour.

Friday – Rest

I spent Friday morning and early afternoon completing the longest online application form I’ve ever encountered (26 pages). Job hunting does get very tedious at times. Once I started to get a numb bum, I decided I’d spent enough time sitting down for one day. I changed into some gym gear and completed most of Oiselle’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ core routine.  Although I’m still unable to complete some of the exercises, I’m starting to feel the benefits of the core routine when I’m running. I spent an hour or so working on my research paper and then watched Wales beat Belgium. Congratulations Wales!

Saturday – Rest

Another rest day but this time with the added bonus of Saturday morning parkrun envy. I spent the morning catching up on some dull admin tasks I’d been putting off for ages – the lowlight was spending over an hour on the phone ordering a replacement credit card. Hopefully I won’t have to phone my bank for another two years. The highlight was finding a £10 note during my afternoon needing to get out of the house walk. There was no one around so I did what most people would have done – I kept it. I spent the evening drinking beer with a couple of friends from school.

Sunday – Jog/walk 20 mins

When I saw that the training plan gave me the option of either jogging or walking for 20 minutes, I decided to opt for the more challenging “jog” option. I woke up at 06:30 and was outside warming-up 30 less than minutes later. I love Sunday mornings, the pavements are usually free from scary dogs and people. The 20 minutes felt easy and the only minor irritation was having to wait a couple of seconds to cross the main road.

All in all a successful first week of half marathon training. Only another 15 weeks to go.

Training totals

  • Runs: 3
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Distance: 7.01 kms


  • Left foot: 2/10
  • Right knee: 2/10

Do you find training reviews interesting? Should I just stick to the occasional training update in my monthly review posts?

Have you encountered any scary dogs recently? I seem to keep meeting the same scary dog when I’m out running. It’s getting to the stage that I’m slightly paranoid the owner of the dog thinks I’m doing it on purpose.


8 thoughts on “Great Birmingham Run training week 1

  1. Imogen says:

    I’m with you about reading training posts – I’m super nosey/interested in other people’s running. I managed to stick to a training plan finally for my first marathon this year and found that it really helped my confidence the morning of the race, as I knew that I *had* trained properly!


    • Emma says:

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my blog. I suspect that most people are quite nosey and prefer reading training and real life posts. I know that I definitely do! I always manage to stick to a training plan for a few weeks until I inevitably get injured. I’ve chosen a beginners’ plan for my half marathon in the hope I don’t do too much too soon and fall apart. Congratulations on completing a marathon training plan, which marathon did you run? How did you find it?


  2. Laura says:

    Luckily, I don’t seem to meet scary dogs when I run. I’ve had a few so enthusiastic to see me that I’ve had to stop and make a fuss of them, but no bad or scary experiences. I always find it embarrassing seeing the same people with their dogs when I’m out running though, especially the ones who stop and stand to the side to let me pass.


    • Emma says:

      I also dislike it when people with dogs wait to let me pass them, I always feel the need to speed up so they aren’t left standing around for what feels like ages. I don’t mind enthusiastic dogs if they are on leads, the scary dog is never on a lead and seems to be totally out of control. I’ve stopped running in Sutton Park because now that summer has made an appearance there are loads of dogs not on leads. There are also scary cows and I’ve discovered that cows are quite fast runners!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laura says:

        I feel the same. I’m a slow runner so when they stop and I’m a long way off it’s really awkward!
        Sounds like scary dog’s owner needs to get it under control. I hate irresponsible dog owners. They give the majority of good ones a bad name. 😦
        Cows scare me. I had a bad experience with cows, calves & a bull in a field that was a public right of way, so now I don’t like to go near any cows at all!


  3. Maria @ runningcupcake says:

    I like reading review posts too, to see how people manage their training and rest days and so on.
    I get nervous around dogs off leads- I think some people think I am a bit weird because now I always stop and put my arms close to me so the dogs can’t bite my arms or anything.


  4. Helen says:

    I like training review posts – this one was good and I look forward to your next one. Congratulations on a good first week.

    Plus no one is EVER too old to feed ducks.


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