Great Birmingham Run training week 6

After ending week five of my half marathon training with a really enjoyable 35 minute run, I was hoping for more of the same during the sixth week of my training.

Collage 15

The first two runs of week six looked simple – I was to run for 20 minutes on Tuesday and for 30 minutes on Thursday. Both runs were meant to be completed at an “easy” pace. I was given the option of running for between 40 and 45 minutes at a “very easy pace” on Sunday. After feeling great during my 35 minute run the previous Sunday I felt confident I could run continuously for 45 minutes.

Monday – Rest

Week six started with a rest day. I love Monday rest days! I spent the morning sorting through the huge pile of academic papers I’d acquired during my PhD. Three hours and a massive pile of papers for the recycling bin later I’d completed some long overdue decluttering. I spent the afternoon drafting out some ideas for a couple of blog posts and an article for a running magazine. Throughout Monday my dodgy right knee felt slightly niggly so I treated it to regular sessions with my icepack.

Tuesday – 20 mins easy

When I woke up on Tuesday it was raining. This pleased me more than it probably should have done – I love running in the rain! By the time I’d got changed into some running gear – I decided to test out my latest running skirt purchase – and reached Four Oaks Estate, the rain had stopped and it felt really oppressive and humid. As it looked like it was going to rain again I spent ages warming-up and stretching – I was desperate for the rain to make an appearance. Unfortunately, it didn’t.

The first half of my run was a struggle, so much for running starting to feel easier. It was humid and I was grumpy. The shorts underneath my running skirt that were supposedly guaranteed to “stay put” were doing the opposite. I was constantly pulling my shorts back down to cover my arse – not easy during a run. The second half of the run felt slightly easier. I’d stopped feeling mardy and had given up worrying about my shorts. The timer on my Garmin reached 20 minutes and I slowed to a walk, five seconds later it started to rain again – typical!

After walking back to the Tennis Club, I spent a slightly miserable 20 minutes or so waiting for my friend to return from his bike ride. Although I’d got really warm while I was running, as soon as the rain started I felt quite cold. I regretted letting my friend borrow my waterproof jacket. I was really relieved when I finally escaped the rain – you can’t please some runners!

Wednesday – Rest

If I ignore the three hours I spent gardening in the morning, and my eight mile afternoon stroll around Sutton Park then Wednesday was a really restful rest day. Sorry knee!

Collage 16

Thursday – 30 mins easy

After the success of my recent early Sunday morning runs I was dressed and ready to run relatively early(for me) on Thursday morning. I’d suspected for some time that I was rapidly turning into more of a morning runner and wanted to put my theory to the test. Although the temperature was perfect at 05:30 it was really windy. I hadn’t run in what I call “proper wind” for some time and had forgotten how tiring running directly into the wind can be. Although the first five minutes of the so-called “30 mins easy” run were quite challenging – why do I always struggle when I first start running? – the final 25 minutes were far more enjoyable.

I made it home and knocked back a glass of strawberry milkshake. Not the ideal post-run drink but it definitely quenched my thirst. Once I’d recovered from my run I was really lazy and headed back to bed for an hour. When I eventually woke up again at 07:30 my 30 minute run felt like it had never happened. Had it all been a bad dream? Luckily I had the Strava stats and smelly running kit as evidence.

Friday – Rest

Another so called rest day filled with an alternative form of strength training and cardio exercise – lawn mowing. It took me well over an hour to mow the lawns at mums. When I finished I felt shattered. On a more serious note I decided that unless my knee settles down, I’m going to have to stop volunteering my gardening services until after the half marathon. My knee was pretty painful after my stint in the garden.

Saturday – Rest

Another rest day on a Saturday and more parkrun envy. I spent the morning doing loads of washing, the vacuuming and some blog related admin. In the afternoon I made the fatal error of starting to watch the Olympics – there were too many sports to watch at once. In the end I decided to opt for a sport I don’t follow the Rugby Sevens. In the evening I met up with some friends for a couple of pints. For once we were sensible and only stopped for a couple.

Sunday – 40-45 mins very easy pace

My alarm woke me at the slightly antisocial time of 05:00. Thirty minutes later I was ready to tackle the most challenging training session in my half marathon training plan so far – a 40 to 45 minute run at a “very easy pace”. I was determined to run for 45 minutes – anything less would have been a failure. No pressure then! Once again the first five minutes or so of the run were challenging – my breathing was all over the place and the pint of water I’d consumed before heading out wasn’t settling very well.

Fortunately, once I settled into my stride I found the rest of the run relatively easy. Once again the wind was a bit of a pain in the arse – luckily I was running into the wind on the downhill sections of my circuit. On the final loop of my circuit I started to wish that I’d got some music or a podcast to listen to. I also made the fatal error of speeding up – so much for maintaining a “very easy pace”.

So that’s the sixth week of my half marathon training successfully completed. I discovered that I’m definitely a morning runner and was reminded that I need to drink more after each run. My headache after my run on Thursday was really difficult to shift.

Next week’s training schedule contains four runs and is described as the “first peak training week”. Exciting! I’ve somehow got to complete a 20 minute run on tired legs tomorrow, a 30 minute run on Wednesday and a 10 minute run on Friday. On Sunday I have the option of running continuously for between 50 and 55 minutes. I’m definitely going to aim to run for 55 minutes.

Training totals

  • Runs: 18
  • Time: 6 hours 0 mins
  • Distance: 61.06 kms


  • Left foot: 3/10
  • Right knee: 5/10

Do you listen to music while you run? Now that my Sunday runs are getting longer, I think it’s time for me to invest in some decent headphones.

How many miles do you wear your trainers for? I realised that I completed my 200th mile in my trusty Brooks trainers on Sunday. I don’t want to end up with an injury because my trainers have lost their supportiveness.


3 thoughts on “Great Birmingham Run training week 6

  1. Maria @ runningcupcake says:

    I think the rain is good once you have started (unless it is freezing cold as then I just get cold and never warm up again), but it makes the first few steps out of the house very hard to get motivated for.
    I always used to listen to music, but now I listen to podcasts if I am on my own, or I just run with empty ears at parkruns or club runs.
    I do track the miles for my trainers on Strava now, but I tend to go on feel more- if they feel less springy then I look at getting new ones. I have tried recently to have two pairs that I rotate, so that they dry out between runs, and also to make them last longer.


  2. AnnaTheApple says:

    Nice week of training!
    Last year I suffered really badly with headaches after my long runs during the summer. Awful! But now I try and drink during the run and it really helps.
    It’s funny isn’t it during summer because I remember wishing for rain exactly like you did when I was about to run. It is so nice and cooling. But during winter? Nooooo!


  3. Helen says:

    Well done on week 6, sounds like a pretty good week.

    I don’t think run and lazy belong in the same sentance at all – going back to bed after a run, especially early morning is NOT lazy!

    I thought of you yesterday, I bought a running trail skirt in Decathlon. I’ll tweet you the details – it has cool purple shorts.


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