After successfully completing the first four weeks of my beginners’ half marathon training plan, I was hoping for more of the same during week five – the end of the ‘building’ phase of my training.
Week five looked quite simple – I was to run 20 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday and a slightly longer run of 35 minutes duration on Sunday. All three runs were meant to be completed at an ‘easy’ pace. So how did week five go…
Monday – Rest
I spent the morning trying to sort out some dull admin tasks. HSBC had very kindly sent me three identical credit cards – I only wanted one. As I was reluctant to spend over an hour on the phone waiting to talk to a customer service assistant, I walked the couple of miles to my local branch in Four Oaks. Unfortunately, the lady I spoke to wasn’t able to help me, apparently she couldn’t access the “full system”. As I walked back from Four Oaks I noticed that my right knee was quite painful, and seemed to be making a clicking sound. As soon as I got home I reached for my icepack and sat working with it balanced on my dodgy knee. In the afternoon I worked my way through the personal exercise program my physio gave me last year – my right knee felt fine – I was confident I’d be able to complete my run on Tuesday.
Tuesday – 20 mins easy
My right knee was virtually pain free when I woke up on Tuesday morning, perhaps I’d imagined the pain the previous day. After spending a few hours preparing for a meeting, I was ready for some fresh air and exercise. I got changed into the first set of running gear I could fit into that didn’t pong, and headed to the leafy surroundings of Four Oaks Estate. After I’d completed my warm-up routine, some stretches and had worked out a two mile(ish) route, I was finally ready to run.
I spent the first five minutes of my run obsessively monitoring my right knee and waiting for disaster to strike. My knee didn’t self implode and although I struggled and it didn’t feel “easy”, I managed to run for 20 minutes without stopping.
After walking back to the Tennis Club, I spent a couple of minutes using the timer function on my camera to take some photos of me ‘running’. Although I managed to take a couple of decent photos, once again the vast majority of the photos I took were rubbish. At least my photography session took my mind off my running struggles.
Wednesday – Rest
After spending the morning unsuccessfully trying to track down a 1936 report for my PhD supervisor, I headed down to London Euston on the 13:50 from Birmingham New Street. I met up with my supervisor at his office on Regent Street and we waited for one of my external examiners. After a really productive meeting where we discussed some great ideas for an academic paper, we headed across the road to Pizza Express. The real academics opted for pizzas and beer. As I’m not a fan of pizzas, I selected the unhealthy combination of Calamari to start followed by Grand Chicken Caesar salad. We then headed back across the road to the Regent Street Cinema. I may have had a couple of glasses of red wine and I may have struggled to stay awake during the documentary on James Booker.
Thursday – 20 mins easy
Rather predictably I felt quite peaky when I woke up on Thursday morning. I was reminded that drinking red wine does not aid with my training. I decided to delay my training run until the afternoon/early evening. After spending the morning window-shopping along Marylebone High Street and Oxford Street, I met up with my friend for a light lunch in The Gunmakers in Marylebone. I still felt a little peaky so turned down the option of having a pint with my lunch. After struggling to eat a toasted cheese and tomato sarnie, I headed back to my flat for an afternoon nap. I hoped that I’d feel well enough to complete a 20 minute run when I woke up.
As I did feel slightly better when I woke up, I got changed into some running gear. I drank a glass of disgusting Thames tap water, did some stretches and headed out the door. I’d already mapped out a route in Regent’s Park so negotiated my way past several groups of tourists on Baker Street. The queue of people waiting outside the Sherlock Holmes museum was particularly impressive. I reached the Outer Circle and started to run towards Chester Road and the Inner Circle. Luckily the route I had chosen wasn’t too busy, and I managed to complete my 20 minute run without having to dodge too many people walking. Unfortunately, I struggled to breathe throughout my run and I was reminded why I tend to avoid running in London during the summer.
In the evening I met up with my friend and we headed to the pub for a couple of pints. I was feeling pretty dehydrated after my run so opted for pints of coke rather than pints of beer. We then headed to Casa Becci and although I didn’t feel very well I managed to consume a large plate of Calamari Fritti followed by a huge portion of Penne Amatriciana. I was unable to finish my bowl of profiteroles.
Friday – Rest
After spending a couple of days in London eating and drinking far too much, I was relieved when I arrived back home in Four Oaks. Although I love London I’m a country girl at heart and prefer living minutes away from the countryside. I spent the afternoon producing a draft outline for the academic paper we discussed on Wednesday. I spent the evening watching a variety of rubbish on the TV.
Saturday – Rest
Another Saturday rest day and more parkrun envy. I spent the morning working my way through the mountain of washing that had accumulated during the week and the afternoon reading some of the papers I’d been sent home with following Wednesday’s meeting. Not the most exciting Saturday but a really restful rest day.
Sunday – 35 mins easy
As I wanted to complete what was scheduled to be my longest run so far – 35 minutes – before it got too warm, I set my alarm for 05:30. I woke up before my alarm, got dressed, had a glass of water and headed out the door. It was pretty chilly at 05:30 and I felt quite cold for the first time in weeks. I decided to walk for five minutes in an attempt to warm-up and to wake up. Although I found the first five minutes of the “35 mins easy” quite challenging, I found the final 30 minutes easy. Running is such an unpredictable sport. On Thursday I struggled to run for 20 minutes – three days later a longer run felt effortless.
I got home and attempted to drink some of the Orange flavoured nuun I’d prepared earlier. Apparently nuun isn’t very easy to stomach at 06:15. As I felt a little bit nauseous I sat in the garden for a couple of minutes and attempted to take a post-run selfie. I then headed back to bed for a couple of hours as I’d only got about four hours sleep. I eventually woke up again at 09:30 and my run felt like a distant dream.
So that’s the fifth week of my half marathon training plan successfully completed. I was reminded that I need to monitor my right knee very closely. Although I was really tempted to skip my run on Thursday when I didn’t feel 100 per cent, looking back I’m pleased that I didn’t. Next week’s training schedule contains a 20 minute run, a 30 minute run and a 40-45 minute run on Sunday. I’m definitely going to aim to run for 45 minutes.
- Runs: 15
- Time: 4 hours 25 mins
- Distance: 45.45 kms
- Left foot: 2/10
- Right knee: 5/10
How do you find running in crowded places like Regent’s Park? I actually found having to dodge loads of people quite stressful.
Do you ever feel like missing a training run? Although I know that I’ll always feel better once I’ve been for a run, Thursday afternoon was a real struggle!