Great Birmingham Run training week 10

After successfully completing week nine of my half marathon training plan, I looked forward to tackling a series of four slightly more challenging training runs during week 10.Collage 25Week 10 of my training plan consisted of of a 35 minute run on Tuesday, a 45 minute run on Thursday, a 20 minute ‘recovery jog’ on Friday, and then a slightly scary looking 75 minute jog/walk on Sunday. Monday, Wednesday and Saturday were rest and recovery days. Although the training plan gave me the slightly confusing option of jogging or walking, I was determined to run continuously for 75 minutes on Sunday. I’ve entered the Great Birmingham Run not the Great Birmingham Walk!

Monday – Rest

My left foot and right knee were virtually pain free when I dragged myself out of bed on Monday morning. My longer run hadn’t turned my niggles into more serious injuries. What a relief! I then remembered that it was a Bank Holiday and realised that the sun was shining. Great news, I would be able to meet up with some friends for a drink later on. Unfortunately, although my foot and knee felt great, as lunchtime approached my stomach started to feel decidedly dodgy. I had to cancel my early afternoon drinking session.

By the late afternoon I felt a lot better so decided to head out for a walk. This turned out to be a bad decision. Have you ever tried walking when you really, really need to go to the toilet? It wasn’t easy. One minute I felt fine, the next minute I urgently needed to go to the toilet. I was about two miles from home so I ended up waddling to the pub. Fortunately I didn’t have an accident and made it to the pub. After using the facilities, I somehow found myself sitting outside drinking a pint of beer. Rather predictably the beer didn’t help to settle my stomach. At least I made it home without needing to make a second emergency toilet dash.

Tuesday – 35 mins easy

When my alarm woke me at 05:30, although I was groggy and slightly dehydrated, I felt well enough to attempt a 35 minute run at an easy pace. I went to the loo, got changed into some of my brighter running gear, knocked back a large glass of water and headed out the door. It was so dark. After a five minute warm-up I felt ready to run. Predictably the first ten minutes or so of the run felt terrible and I felt like walking back home. I’ve realised that the majority of the first mile of my favourite early morning route is uphill. At least it stops me running too fast to start with. Although the first ten minutes of the run were far from enjoyable, once I’d got into my stride I found the rest of the run really enjoyable.

I got home, drank a pint of strawberry milkshake and then spent 30 minutes icing my right knee and left foot. My week 10 training had got off to a positive start. I then had a shower and headed back to bed for a 30 minute power nap. When I woke up a second time I felt mentally refreshed and ready to spend the rest of the day working on the discussion section of my Rivers of the Anthropocene paper. It took me over seven hours to write 2000 words. And I thought my blog writing was slow.

Wednesday – Rest

Another rest day, have I mentioned just how much I love rest days… I spent the morning and early afternoon reviewing a couple of unpublished academic manuscripts. Nothing is more demoralising than reading through other people’s manuscripts when you are still waiting for your own paper to make its way through the academic review system. Comparison really is the thief of joy. In the evening I worked my way through the knee and bum strengthening exercises I’d neglected. My troublesome right knee seemed to cope with some of the more challenging exercises. I then spent an enjoyable thirty minutes playing ‘dodge the wasp’ while I searched for my lightweight running jacket in the attic. Although my running jacket was nowhere to be seen, I found my old heart rate monitor and subsequently managed to pair it to my current Garmin. A runner can never have too many geeky statistics…

Thursday – 45 mins brisk pace

My alarm woke me at 05:30, less then ten minutes later I was dressed and ready to run. After a very quick warm-up I felt mentally if not physically ready to attempt a 45 minute run. Although the training run for Thursday was described as a 45 minute run at a ‘brisk pace’ I decided to start off at a sensible pace. Once I’d completed the first ten minutes or so and had both warmed and woken up, I decided to make an attempt to speed up. Well I thought that I’d increased my pace. The Strava statistics and heart rate monitor readings for the run suggest otherwise.

In the afternoon I spent what felt like hours listing more of my unwanted junk on eBay. It took me over three hours to photograph and list ten items. Not the most productive use of my time. I had originally planned to sort through some of the clothes I’ve got stashed away in the loft. Unfortunately, I was greeted by dozens of wasps when I switched the loft light on. I’d already been stung by a wasp once this summer, and didn’t to be stung again so I decided to postpone my loft sorting.

Friday – 20 mins recovery jog

I decided to give myself a bit of a lie in so turned off my alarm clock. I must have needed the extra sleep as I didn’t wake up until 08:00. Not ideal when I had loads to get done before I could nip out for a lunchtime run. In addition, I’d already arranged for my friend to give me a lift to Sutton Park at 12:00. My friend would ride his bike in Sutton Park while I was running. I spent the morning trying to complete a million and one tasks I should have completed before the start of the new month, got changed into some running gear and then waited for my friend to arrive. I’m not saying that my friend is unreliable, but I didn’t start my run until 13:30. By this stage I was feeling grumpy and hungry, not a winning combination.

What should have been a ‘recovery jog’ turned into Emma trying to complete a couple of Strava segments in the fastest time possible. Not very sensible. By the time I’d been running for 15 minutes I was really, really struggling and virtually slowed to a walk. I was wearing a lightweight jacket and felt like I was about to overheat. I’ve never felt so relieved to finish a run. What a contrast to the day before.

I walked back to the Tennis Club and then spent 30 minutes waiting for my friend to return from his bike ride. Although I’d got far too warm while I was running, as soon as I stopped I started to feel quite cold and slightly dizzy. Next time my friend offers to give me a lift to Sutton Park I think I’ll say no. I clearly can’t run on an empty stomach.

Saturday – Rest

If I ignore the couple of hours I spent trying to make my house look respectable in the morning, and the six mile ‘route planning’ stroll around Four Oaks I completed in the afternoon, then Saturday was a successful rest day.  The stroll turned out to be useful, as I discovered that the 7.5 mile route I’d mapped out was no longer an option due to the seemingly never ending pavement works.

Sunday – 75 mins jog/walk

Once again the prospect of having to run for over an hour resulted in me not sleeping very well, at least I knew that I could have a long post-run nap. Not surprisingly I felt really tired when my alarm woke me at 05:30, getting out of bed was a monumental struggle. I went to the loo, got dressed into one of my more garish running outfits, knocked back a couple of glasses of water and headed out the door. After a quick warm-up I felt more or less ready to attempt to ‘jog’ for 75 minutes. I think it took me two minutes to realise that it was actually really windy – I’m not a huge fan of running in the wind. It took me slightly longer to realise that I’d left my handheld water bottle at home. Not the most positive start!

I followed the same route I’d completed the previous week, and allowed myself a short walking/recovery break when I’d been running for 30 and 60 minutes. The run wasn’t very enjoyable as it felt like I was constantly running into the wind. I also felt slightly nauseous, probably the result of eating a load of garlic bread the night before. In addition, the sausage and pasta bake I’d eaten had clearly contained a lot of salt as I felt really thirsty for the majority of the run. I’ll stop focusing on the negatives now. On a more positive note my knee and foot were virtually pain free and allowed me to run for 75 minutes.

As soon as I got home I made myself drink a couple of large glasses of water. I don’t think that South Staffs tap water ever tasted so good. I then spent 30 minutes watching the highlights (?) of Andy Murray’s match while I iced my right knee. Once again I was very lazy and went back to bed for a couple of hours.

So that’s the tenth week of my half marathon train more or less successfully completed. I made some of the sessions more challenging than they should have been, and I still need to learn how to maintain a sensible pace during longer training runs. My far from enjoyable 20 minute run on Friday confirmed to me that I’m an early morning runner. Unfortunately, the Great Birmingham Run doesn’t start at 05:30, so I’m going to have to complete a few more mid morning runs before the big day.

Next week’s training schedule contains four runs and looks quite challenging. I’ve got to somehow drag my tired legs around a 20 minute easy jog tomorrow morning. I’ll treat it as a recovery run. Wednesday’s run looks slightly confusing and is described as ’40 mins fast with warm-up and cool-down’ – I think I’ll simply aim to run at a slightly faster pace for 40 minutes. On Saturday I’ve got to complete a 20 minute jog, and on Sunday I’ve decided to swap my 85 minute easy paced run for the 10k time trial I should have completed the following Sunday during week 12. I entered the Lichfield 10k months ago so it makes sense to swap the training sessions around. I’m confident I’ll finally be able to achieve one of my 2016 running goals – a sub 60-minute 10k.

Training totals

  • Runs: 33
  • Time: 13 hours 55 mins
  • Distance: 139.44 kms

 Races/time trials

  • 5 km: 28:05
  • 10 km: TBC during week 11 or 12


  • Left foot: 4/10
  • Right knee: 4/10
  • Calf muscles: 2/10
  • Shins: 1/10

Have you ever been stung by a wasp or bee while out running? Although my hand was really painful and went numb I managed to complete my run.

Do you ever swap training sessions around or do you stick to a specific training plan? I’m hoping that running a 10 k time trial during week 11 rather than week 12 doesn’t have a negative effect on the rest of my training.


6 thoughts on “Great Birmingham Run training week 10

  1. AnnaTheApple says:

    Urgh wasps are awful!! They just look evil as well, whereas bumblebees look a bit more friendly and happy-go-lucky.
    Well done on a less niggly week! I always find myself swapping and changing my training schedule when things come up. I’ve recently moved most of my long runs to Saturday to coincide with parkuns and make Sundays a bit more chilled with a shorter run. I’m also doing a half marathon when originally I should be running a bit longer but I’d rather do the race!


    • Emma says:

      I’ve been noticing loads more wasps while I’m out running since the wasp sting incident. With my new wasp phobia and already existing fear of stepping on snails – I can’t stand the noise – running is getting quite stressful. I’m hoping that wasps will leave me alone now for another 10 years. I did think about combining my long runs with parkrun, but I’m not sure my current fitness levels could cope. If I ever decide to enter another marathon I might have to think combining more races with training runs. I like the idea of getting a medal for completing a training run. Slightly sad I know.


  2. Maria @ runningcupcake says:

    Wasps are horrible! And the fact they can keep on stinging means they are so much worse than bees. I’ve not been stung whilst running though, just when camping!
    It sounds like a successful week, and some lessons to take away from it.
    I often move things around a bit- especially if I have a race I will move things so that it fits with that. So long as the overall trend from week to week is either faster or further, then a swap here and there should not make any difference.
    Good luck with the 10K!


    • Emma says:

      Thanks Maria, my legs are so tired I’m not quite so confident I’ll get a sub-60 time. I’ll do my best on Sunday. I’ve studied the training plan and don’t think swapping sessions will cause any issues in October. Hopefully if I complete all of my longer training runs I’ll be ready for the half marathon. This wasp seemed to attach itself to my hand, I had to remove it and the sting it had kindly left behind using my t-shirt. They are horrible and aren’t useful like bees.


  3. Helen says:

    Oh god, wasps are the spawn of satan, never been stung but I am legit terrified of them, in fact, I’d probably run HUGE pbs if wasps chased me. I’ve eaten a lot of fly protein though.

    Love that you sat outside the pub with a pint, that’s what I would do. Come down here and do a beer run with me!

    It’s definitely ok to swap runs around and can’t wait to see you smash that 10k.


    • Emma says:

      I reckon that getting chased by a swarm of wasps would be a good way of more or less guaranteeing a PB. A bloke got stung by a wasp during the Lichfield 10k, apparently it flew inside one of his nostrils. Ouch! I went to the pub again and got joined by a slightly strange and very talkative bloke. He didn’t seem to understand the concept of someone wanting to have a quiet drink. After 45 minutes I knew his life history and was far from feeling relaxed! I’d definitely be up for a beer run soon before I inevitably get an injury that stops me running again!


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