Great Birmingham Run training week 2

Thanks for all of the really positive comments on my first Great Birmingham Run training update blog. It’s good to know that I’m not the only nosey blog reader out there!

After successfully completing week one of my beginner’s half marathon training plan, I was hoping for more of the same during the second week. My left foot and right knee both appear to be coping well with only three runs a week. I just need to remember to cool-down after each run, even the really short runs.

There are now only another 15 weeks of training and blog updates to go! At some stage I’ll share my goals for the half marathon. As I said last week, please feel free to close the page now if you find training review blog posts boring.

Collage 3

Monday – Rest

I spent Monday morning responding to job application related emails and setting myself a timetable and targets for the week. If I don’t set myself daily and weekly targets I struggle to make the best use of my time. Job hunting does get very demoralising at times, without targets I find it difficult to keep myself motivated. By lunchtime I needed a break from my computer desk so I headed for a walk around Four Oaks.

Following a discussion with my academic mentor in the afternoon, I finally accepted that I don’t have enough teaching and writing experience to land myself a job in academia. Although I’ll continue to work on my academic papers during the weekends, my focus during Monday to Friday will now be job hunting. I spent the afternoon drafting out yet another version of my CV.

Tuesday – 10 mins jog

When I first studied my training plan, I noticed the progression from a “10 mins easy jog” to a “10 mins jog”. I’ve previously only ever trained at two speeds – fast and not quite so fast. What is jogging? When does a jog become a run? Is there actually a difference between jogging and running? I simply assumed that my training runs during week two should ideally be at a slightly faster pace than they were during the first week. I’m quite impatient and wanted to see immediate progress. I was, however, quite concerned that I would be unable to match the pace of last Mondays “10 mins running like a muppet” training run. I was right to be concerned. Although I felt great at the start of my early (for me) morning “10 mins jog” on Tuesday, it was quite windy and I quickly started to struggle. Although I set out at a sensible pace, I struggled to maintain the pace and found myself speeding up. I need to learn how to slow down.

Mum picked me up at 11:15 and we drove across to the local pick-your-own fields at Manor Farm Fruits in Hints. When we arrived we were warned that although there were loads of strawberries, the supply of raspberries was quite limited. My height was definitely an advantage, and it only took 30 minutes to find enough ripe raspberries to fill our containers. I’m hoping that fruit picking counts as a type of cross training..?

Collage 4

We then headed across to the cafe at Packington Moor Farm for an early lunch. I’m clearly a rubbish blogger because I didn’t take an arty photo of my turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing sandwich. By the time I thought about taking a photo my plate was empty. I spent the afternoon and early evening completing yet another lengthy application form. A mixed Tuesday.

Wednesday – Rest

Another rest day and another morning and early afternoon spent sitting on my arse staring at a computer screen. After seven hours I could feel myself getting a headache, I needed a break from my computer. I headed out for a short walk in Sutton Park, six miles later the headache had gone and my stress levels had reduced. For the millionth time since I started job hunting, I was reminded of the importance of taking breaks and exercising regularly. I was also reminded that I need to take more care of my left foot, walking six miles in a pair of flat shoes wasn’t very smart.

Thursday – 15 mins jog

Luckily I got away with wearing flat shoes, and my left foot was pain free when I walked to the bathroom on Thursday morning. After spending a few hours completing some dull admin tasks, I was ready for some exercise. For possibly the first time ever I was pleased that my training plan was telling me to run rather than to rest. I got changed and managed to convince my friend to drive me and my camera to Four Oaks Estate. Although I’m more than happy running on my own, I haven’t quite mastered the art of taking a decent running selfie. I also wanted to get some video footage of me running because I have a feeling that running style is terrible.

After I’d completed my warm-up routine and some stretches, I was ready for session in front of the camera. After my friend had reluctantly taken a couple of ‘action’ photos, I was ready to attempt a “15 mins jog”. I set off at a reasonable pace and found the first ten minutes of the run easy. Unfortunately, the final five minutes didn’t feel quite as easy – I’d somehow managed to select a route that ended with me running up a steepish hill. The Great Birmingham Run course appears to incorporate every hill in the central area of Birmingham, so I’m sure that these undulating training runs will be valuable.

Friday – Rest

With the exception of a short lunchtime walk, I actually followed the training plan and did no exercise. I then spent the evening feeling guilty.

Saturday – Rest

Another rest day on a Saturday and more slightly childish parkrun envy. Earlier in the week I worked out that it has taken me four years to complete the not so grand total of 14 parkruns. I was aiming to complete 10 parkruns this year – only another eight to go. I’m rapidly running out of time! Anyway, back to my Saturday… I spent the morning doing three loads of washing, the vacuuming and some blog admin while watching the European Athletics. Exciting stuff! In the afternoon I decided to attempt a 30-minute “stair session”. My stair session was simple – 30 minutes of continuously walking up and down the stairs at home. It sounds quite easy, but judging by how sweaty I was at the end of the 30 minutes it gave me quite a good workout. In the evening I met up with my friend for our traditional Saturday night beer drinking and putting the world to rights session.

Sunday – 15-20 mins jog

For some reason I really struggled to sleep and was wide awake at 01:30, 03:30 and 05:00. Not ideal when I had my alarm set for 07:00. My alarm went off and I somehow found myself outside running 20 minutes later. The training plan gave me the option of jogging for “15-20 mins” I decided to aim for 20 minutes. Although I successfully completed the training session, I felt pretty crap throughout most of the 20 minutes. It was really windy, my short shorts kept riding up and annoying me, it was humid, the constant undulations irritated the hell out of me and I felt tired. When I got home and looked at my run from last Sunday, it was clear that I’d set off far too quickly and had paid the price, again.

After a lengthy post-run nap, shower and some breakfast I felt slightly more human. I walked the short distance to mum’s house, had some lunch and then settled on the settee with the cat to watch the tennis. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen Andy Murray play as consistently well as he did throughout the three sets. Awesome! I then watched Heather Watson and Henri Kontinen win the mixed doubles – more awesomeness.

That’s the second week of my half marathon training plan successfully completed. I’ve just looked at the schedule for next week and it looks pretty similar. I’m hopefully giving blood today (Monday) so suspect that Tuesday’s 15 minute jog really will be a jog.

Training totals

  • Runs: 6
  • Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Distance: 15.08 kms


  •  Left foot: 2/10
  • Right knee: 4/10

Do you struggle to run when it’s really humid? Hopefully my bad run on Sunday was a result of the humidity and my lack of sleep.

Do you prefer flat or hilly runs? Although I complain about hills, I do feel really satisfied when I’ve made it to the top of a big hill without taking a sneaky walking break.


3 thoughts on “Great Birmingham Run training week 2

  1. Maria @ runningcupcake says:

    Hilly and humid runs are hard- I find running in the summer harder anyway because I heat up so much and then find it hard to cool back down. But hills are your friend- they are speed training in disguise, and will help during races if there are hills then- you know you can do it then.
    The pick your own farm looks fab- I used to do that a lot when I was little.


    • Emma says:

      Although hills are my friend, my right knee isn’t so keen on the inevitable downhill sections. After studying the Great Birmingham Run route I’m going to have to be able to run uphill for over a mile when I’m already tried from running 12 or so miles. I’m impressed that the race organisers have managed to incorporate so many undulations in one half marathon. I’m already searching for a flatter half marathon in spring 2017.


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