Great Birmingham Run training week 4

I’ve just realised that I’ve now successfully completed 25 per cent of my 16-week beginners’ half marathon training plan. Time flies when I’m having fun. I’m feeling quite pleased with myself as I’ve completed all of my training runs and haven’t had the urge to skip a run, yet. I’ve also been quite good at warming up before and cooling down after my runs, this is pretty unusual behaviour for me.

I haven’t been finding my training runs during week four as easy as I’d hoped. After struggling to run last week after giving blood, England suddenly experienced an unusual weather phenomenon otherwise known as summer. It was quite warm at times!

Collage 9

Monday – 10 mins taken very easy

I was woken by a combination of my neighbours shouting and the sun on Monday morning. As I couldn’t get back to sleep, I got changed into some running gear, headed downstairs and worked through the personal exercise program my physio gave me last year. Unfortunately, my right knee felt quite painful when I attempted certain exercises – a reminder to persevere with my knee and arse strengthening exercises. I then headed out and completed my first back-to-back session – “10 mins taken very easy”. For once the 10 minutes did feel easy and I was barely out of breath when I’d finished running.

At lunchtime I headed down to London to meet up with a friend. I reached Euston at 13:30 and 30 minutes later found myself sitting inside a pub drinking chilled Crabbie’s. As London was warm and the pub was quite cool we decided to have a second drink. I then somehow managed to convince my friend to walk the short distance from the pub to Lululemon. Although I loved the anti-stink running tops and vests, I couldn’t quite justify spending £££££ on a running top. In the evening I somehow managed to work my way through Calamari Fritti, Penne Amatriciana and profiteroles. And I wonder why I’ve put on weight recently. I then made the fatal error of heading back to the pub for a couple of pints. Once again the room was spinning slightly when I made it to bed.

Tuesday – Rest

The heat and my hangover were not a winning combination – I was really relieved Tuesday was a rest day! Drinking Crabbie’s, white wine, red wine and beer when I suspect I was dehydrated after my morning run wasn’t the smartest decision I’ve ever made. Thankfully the train back up to Birmingham had very effective air-conditioning and I felt slightly better when I reached New Street. The train journey from Birmingham to Four Oaks wasn’t quite so enjoyable – the train was like a sauna on wheels – and I arrived back home feeling a little peaky. Needless to say the rest of Tuesday was a bit of a write off.

Wednesday – Rest

Although I love the sun and warmer weather, I was quite pleased that my training plan told me to take another rest day. I spent the morning job hunting and the afternoon reading through one of the research papers I’d written that my PhD supervisor had edited for me. My academic writing is apparently as dodgy as my blog writing. All in all a successful rest day.

Thursday – 20 mins steady

After spending the morning gardening, I popped into Sutton Coldfield to buy my soon to be six year old niece Jessica a birthday present. I’m rubbish at buying presents for children so played it safe and bought my niece a summery dress from Next. I then somehow found myself hunting through the Activewear sale section in TK Maxx. My hunt was successful and I spotted a long running vest for £5 – somewhat cheaper than the running vests in Lululemon.

I returned from Sutton, got changed into some running gear and headed to Four Oaks Estate for my “20 mins steady” run. It was quite warm and sunny and I wanted to run in the shade, Four Oaks Estate is perfect for sun avoidance. For some reason I found the 20 minute run challenging and really seemed to struggle mentally. I still have no idea how I managed to overcome the “just bloody walk Emma” demons.

Collage 10

The highlight of the run was finding a pound coin just as I finished running. Perhaps it was my reward for not walking. The lowlight was getting heckled by some men who were sitting eating their lunch in a white van. I know I looked crap but thanks for the needless heckling guys. Hopefully my expletive-filled response didn’t shock you too much…

Friday – Rest

I spent the morning trying to track down some academic papers I’ll need for a meeting next week. I was reminded that I need to sort through all of the academic papers and reports I printed out but never actually read. I also found some books I thought I’d already returned to my PhD supervisor last year. Sorry Geoff!

I spent the afternoon at my niece Jessica’s sixth birthday party at the National Forest Adventure Farm in Tatenhill. Although some of the slides in the indoor play barn looked really scary, I was gutted that I was slightly too tall (and old) to have a go. As it was really stuffy inside the indoor play barn I decided to explore the numerous outdoor play and farm areas. Apparently dinosaurs aren’t actually extinct. Although it was warm the children seemed to have a great time. A great start to their summer holiday.

Saturday – Rest

Another rest day and another dose of Saturday morning parkrun envy. Although I loved reading about personal bests and post-parkrun tea and cakes – I really miss running with other people. While most sensible runners were making the most of the cooler morning, I spent the morning tackling the washing mountain, vacuuming and cleaning. Exciting times! I spent the afternoon watching the cricket and athletics, and the evening gardening. A dull but restful rest day!

Sunday – 30 mins jog

I thought that I’d rather ambitiously set my alarm for 06:00, however, the sun very kindly woke me up at 05:30. I was dressed and sort of ready to run 15 minutes later. The “30 mins jog” was challenging. I was half asleep for the first 10 minutes, struggled for the second 10 minutes and only managed to complete the final 10 minutes by running down a steep hill. Sorry knee! I must remember to drink more before running – my mouth felt like the Sahara Desert throughout the run. I must also try to avoid running across loose metal drain covers. I suspect the loud bang I somehow managed to produce may have woken up quite a few people – sorry! At least I got to go back to bed for a couple of hours after my run.

So that’s the fourth week of my half marathon training plan successfully completed. Once again I was reminded that I’m not that great at running when it’s humid. Next week’s training schedule contains a couple of 20 minute runs and a 35 min run on Sunday. Looking ahead further I’ll finally be running four times a week from week 7 onwards. Hopefully I’ll finally start to feel like I’m actually training for a half marathon.

Training totals

  • Runs: 12
  • Time: 3 hours 10 mins
  • Distance: 32.72 kms


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

Are you a morning, lunchtime or evening runner? I’m still not convinced that I’m a morning runner, I seem to struggle when I’m tired and half asleep.

Have you bought any bargainous running gear recently? Although I love the running gear in Lululemon, I suspect that I’ll always shop in TK Maxx and eBay.


3 thoughts on “Great Birmingham Run training week 4

  1. AnnaTheApple says:

    Wow that’s early for a Sunday run! I know I should wake up earlier than my 8am usual time to beat the heat and sun but I just love catching up on sleep as I get up at 5am most weekdays.
    I’m more of a morning runner though my weekday runs are after work as it’s easier that way. I feel so much less motivated though whereas in the morning I just get up and go.
    I need to get to TKMaxx. I have one literally a 2 minute drive from my house.


  2. Maria @ runningcupcake says:

    That is so early for a Sunday run! We were meeting friends for breakfast on Sunday, and usually I would try and get up early, but in the heat I didn’t want to be all hot and bothered rushing about with the hairdryer, and so I left it for Monday instead (the joys of the holidays).
    I much prefer running first thing, but in the week I run in the evenings.
    I find places like TK Max so messy that sometimes I have a look and then just can’t be bothered to rummage through things. I do like an internet bargain though- I got a few pairs of socks from wiggle coming (well, this is mainly because I have earned my parkrun volunteer 25 t-shirt, and so although it’s free, you have to pay for delivery unless you buy something else, so of course, what was I to do?).


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