Great Birmingham Run training week 3

After completing weeks one and two of my beginner’s half marathon training plan, I was ready to progress from the ‘getting started’ to the ‘building’ phase of my half marathon training. After studying the contents of weeks three and four of my training plan, I can’t see much difference between the first two phases of training. I guess I’ll just have to continue to trust the plan!

I’m pleased to report that there are only another 14 weeks of training and blog updates to go. This is great news as I’m not really enjoying writing blog posts at the moment. I’ve found writing these weekly training reviews harder than the actual training. Hopefully this will change if and when my enthusiasm for blogging returns. If it doesn’t return then I’ve no idea what I’ll do.

Collage 6

Monday – Rest

On Monday morning I travelled into Birmingham as I’d finally been brave enough to make an appointment to give blood. I arrived an hour before my appointment as I wanted to do some wedding outfit shopping before giving blood. I popped into several clothes shops and failed to find anything I’d actually want to wear. I’ve reached the stage where I feel too old for Topshop et al but too young for the shops mum shops at. After my shopping fail I was relieved when I passed the haemoglobin test and successfully completed my 16th blood donation. An hour after my donation I was back at home drinking tea. It will be interesting to find out how my blood gets used.

Tuesday – 15 mins jog

I’ve now worked out how to run at a slower and far more sensible pace. After giving blood on Monday, my ’15 mins jog’ on Tuesday morning was a monumental struggle. I felt really out of breath and wanted to walk after less than 10 minutes, and ended up having to distract myself by playing the animal alphabet game. I felt so rough immediately after my run I had to go back to bed for an hour. Perhaps I’d got some sort of bug. I then read this article and realised that my running was slower because I’d given blood.

I predicted that my next training run on Thursday would feel less challenging. I spent the rest of the day helping mum sort her mobile phone saga, job hunting and sleeping. If sleeping was an Olympic sport I would have definitely won a gold medal on Tuesday!

Wednesday – Rest

Another rest day and more time to recover from donating blood, phew! I know that giving blood is an amazing thing to do, but I think that I will hold off donating again until after my half marathon. I spent the morning and afternoon job hunting, and then headed across Birmingham to watch my friend play tennis for the first team against Edgbaston Priory. The Edgbaston Priory Club is a seriously posh private members’ club and I am sure costs a fortune to be a member. I looked online and couldn’t see any prices, never a good sign. While my friend and his partner warmed up, I had a quick look at some of the facilities while I had the opportunity.Collage 7

After watching my friend and his partner lose their first doubles match, I started to feel cold so headed inside in search of some warmth. So much for a warm July evening, even the players looked cold. I ended up spending the remainder of the evening drinking San Miguel in the Clubhouse bar and people watching. Watching people swimming in the outdoor pool in the rain made me want to go swimming again, it has been a couple of months.

Thursday – 10 mins jog

After spending the morning job hunting, I was ready to attempt a 10 minute jog. I got changed into some running gear and grabbed a lift with my friend to the tennis club. The plan was for me to complete my run while my friend went for a short bike ride in Sutton Park. I completed my warm-up routine and set off at what I thought was a sensible pace. The first five minutes or so of the run were challenging, the final five minutes were a nightmare. I was willing the timer on my Garmin to reach 10 minutes, my legs felt like lumps of lead, pathetic!

Collage 8After walking back to the tennis club, I spent an entertaining ten minutes trying to work out how to use the timer function on the camera on my mobile phone to take some action shots. I figured out that there was nobody around to witness me prancing around like a muppet. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite work out the art of taking a decent action shot. I ended up taking dozens of photos of trees, of my legs, of my stomach and close-ups of my face. In the end I resorted to taking some selfies of me pretending to run. I clearly need some lessons in mobile phone photography! All the arsing about made me forget about my rubbish run.

Friday – Rest

Mum picked me up at 10:00 as I’d volunteered to cut the lawns at home for her, again. Although the lawnmower was really noisy when I eventually managed to get it working, I decided to risk using it. 45 minutes and a small mountain of grass later the lawns looked slightly better. Mum dropped me home, I had an early lunch and then spent the rest of Friday afternoon working on a couple of job applications. I spent the evening watching the Monaco Diamond League athletics. A successful rest day.

Saturday – Rest

Another rest day and another dose of Saturday morning parkrun envy. As the weather was crap, I spent the morning sorting out some stuff for the charity shop and writing up a load of eBay listings. Another really thrilling Saturday morning! In the afternoon I spent a couple of hours working on my rivery paper before having a late afternoon power nap. Energy levels restored, I had a shower, got changed into some slightly smarter gear and walked the short distance to the local pub. I proceeded to spend the evening drinking beer with some friends I’ve known since primary school. Although it was a great evening, the room was definitely spinning when I collapsed on top of my bed…

Sunday – 20 mins jog

For some reason I’d set my alarm for 06:30 – fortunately I felt fine when my alarm woke me up. I got out of bed and changed into my running gear before I could change my mind about heading out for a run. I knocked back some orange nuun, did some stretches and headed out the door. I decided to complete the route I usually use for my 20 minute training runs in reverse. For some reason this totally messed with my mind and I struggled throughout the majority of the run. Although it was humid and I felt quite tired, I was surprised that I struggled as much as I did. So much for getting faster!

So that’s the third week of my half marathon training plan successfully negotiated. I was reminded that I’m rubbish at running after giving blood, when it’s humid and when I’ve got a hangover. Perhaps I should write a blog post full of excuses for runners. I’ve just checked next week’s training schedule – I’ll be completing my first ‘back-to-back’ session tomorrow morning. The duration of my Sunday run finally increases from 20 minutes to 30 minutes. Bring it on!

Training totals

  • Runs: 9
  • Time: 2 hours 10 mins
  • Distance: 22.65 kms


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

Are you a blood donor? If so, how long does it take for your running to return to normal after you’ve given blood?

Do you have any tips for taking decent ‘action’ photos and running selfies? I definitely need all the help I can get!


4 thoughts on “Great Birmingham Run training week 3

  1. kyrapaterson says:

    Emma I can totally sympathize withe the working out after giving blood. I’m a regular blood donor too, and one year, I gave blood on the Friday night and did an Olympic triathlon the Sunday morning (1500 m swim, 40 k bike, 10 k run). You can guess how it went. 🙂 I had zero energy from my first swim stroke onwards. It was a struggle. I now schedule my blood donations around my races, skipping mid summer because too many races are on my schedule. I’ll be giving in September after my half ironman, giving me about 6-7 weeks before my half marathon early November. I’m not sure exactly how many weeks it takes before I’m back to normal exercise-wise, but I’m sure it’s a month or less. Keep up the blood donations!! 🙂


    • Emma says:

      I’m seriously impressed you managed to complete an Olympic triathlon so soon after giving blood. I don’t think I would have had the willpower to make it to the finish line. I was surprised how much giving blood impacted my running, I don’t recall having to struggle through so many sluggish training runs last time I donated. At the moment I’m booked in to give blood on October 3rd my half marathon takes place on October 16th. I might just be sensible and postpone donating blood until the week after the half marathon. I probably sound really selfish, but I don’t want to jeopardise all my training. A half ironman followed by a half marathon, I feel knackered just thinking about all the training that you’ll be doing!


  2. Maria @ runningcupcake says:

    It does take a while for your body to replace the blood. I used to give blood, but I fainted every time, so in the end they told me to stop, which I am quite relieved about because I feel queasy just reading about you going!
    I have no idea on the photos- I can use the other facing camera but whether I am even looking in the right place is pot luck. At the cakeathon I tried to take a few while I was running as I was enjoying mucking about a bit.. No idea on the timer though.


    • Emma says:

      Sorry for making you feel queasy! My friend Anna used to faint after giving blood and was eventually asked to stop going. I think she was secretly quite pleased. I only started donating because I wanted to find out if I had a common blood group – I do! My family don’t understand why I put myself through the trauma of giving blood, I tell them that one day my blood might help to save a life. I’m terrible at taking photos with a proper camera so suspect trying to improve my iphone photo taking skills might be a step too far. As I’m only running for 10-30 minutes at the moment there is a danger I’d spend more time trying to get a decent photo than actually running! I love your Cakeathon photos, the medal is seriously impressive.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.