Great Birmingham Run training week 11

Thanks once again for all of the lovely comments and feedback on my last training update blog. I know that I’ve said it before, but my family really don’t understand my obsession with running. I’ve now given up trying to explain why running is awesome!collage-26Week 11 of my Great Birmingham Run training plan consisted of a 20 minute run on Monday, a 40 minute run on Wednesday, another 20 minute run on Saturday and a 10k race or time trial on Sunday. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday were rest days. I was determined to complete the Lichfield 10k on Sunday in under an hour. Anything over an hour would be classed as a failure. You can’t beat a bit of self-induced pressure.

Monday – 20 mins easy jog

When my alarm woke me at 05:30, the last thing I felt like doing was going for a run. I could tell that getting out of bed and walking was going to be ‘interesting’. I gave myself a stern talking to and eventually got out of bed. Although my legs felt really stiff they weren’t actually painful. I hobbled to the loo, got changed into some running gear, successfully navigated the stairs, drank a couple of glasses of water and headed out the door. After an extended 10 minute warm-up in the rain I felt ready to run. The first ten minutes of the run were challenging. My tired legs meant that for once I ran at a sensible pace. Although the second ten minutes felt slightly easier, my legs still felt really tired. Week 11 was off to a steady if not very enjoyable start.

In the afternoon I decided to be brave and caught the train into Birmingham. Less than an hour after leaving home, I found myself in Up & Running for the launch party of their new weekly social running group. For the millionth time I was reminded of the awesomeness of the running community. After spending an hour chatting about running, we were ushered outside for a group photo. Although the 5 k run was optional I decided that my foot and knee could cope with a second run. We ended up running at quite a fast pace alongside the Worcester and Birmingham Canal towards Birmingham University. Have I mentioned that I have a slight phobia of canals…? collage-27After a quick sit down and drink, we headed over the road to The Botanist for a free non-alcoholic cocktail and some healthy nibbles chips. The running related chat continued for another hour, and I eventually left the pub with an invitation to join another running club, tips on how beat the infamous “hill of doom” that is located towards the end of the Great Birmingham Run and very stiff legs. I can’t wait for the next social run.

Tuesday – Rest

My legs and calf muscles clearly hadn’t appreciated my additional evening run, walking was challenging when I first got out of bed. I spent the morning and early afternoon working on my Rivers of the Anthropocene paper – hopefully it’s nearly finished – and the late afternoon sorting through some paperwork. In the evening I worked my way through my physio exercises and resisted the temptation to injure myself attempting level one of the ’30 Day Shred’. As my calf muscles still felt really, really tight I braved my foam roller for the first time in a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, I’d forgotten how hard using the foam roller correctly can be, my weedy arms struggled to support my weight.

Wednesday – 40 mins fast with warm-up and cool-down

After managing to complete a super speedy transition from my bed to my front door, I once again found myself outside completing my warm-up in the dark. The training schedule wanted me to run ’40 minutes fast’ with a warm-up and cool-down. I completed a five minute warm-up and then headed out on what felt like quite a fast (for me!) paced run. Although it was still relatively early the pavements were quite popular. For the first time in weeks I actually saw someone else running in the distance. I felt quite jealous of the female runner who had a male accompanying her on his bike. It would be pretty amazing to have such a supportive partner.

Anyway, back to the 40 minute run. Although I really did try to run at a slightly faster pace, my legs felt like lead and my calf muscles felt quite tight. As I didn’t want to risk injuring myself, after 15 minutes of struggling I decided to run at a more sensible and sustainable pace. Once I relaxed and started to enjoy my run, my pace actually increased. I was reminded that running is meant to be a stress reliever, not a cause of additional stress and anxiety. I finished my 40 minute run and spent ten minutes trying to cool-down – although it was still only 06:30 it was very humid. I think I eventually stopped sweating about an hour later.

Thursday – Rest

I was relieved that Thursday was a rest day. My right knee was feeling niggly and my calf muscles were tight. I spent most of the morning making the five mile return trip to check on mum’s house. I miss my car! Once I’d made sure that the Aga hadn’t spontaneously combusted and that the plants had all been sufficiently watered, I decided to mow the lawns. It took me well over an hour to mow the lawns, when I’d finished I felt shattered. The remainder of Thursday was a lot more restful.

Friday – Rest

Another rest day and more time for my knee, foot and calf muscles to recover. As my right knee was sore after my session with the lawnmower, I spent an hour watching the Paralympics with an icepack balanced on my knee. Not quite the productive start to the day I had planned. After spending far too many hours sitting working on my computer, I realised that I was getting yet another headache. I got changed into some gym gear, rolled out my yoga mat and worked my way through several of Jasyoga’s five minute reset videos. Unfortunately, my headache was quite persistent so I abandoned my yoga mat and went for a short walk in Sutton Park. In the evening I treated my right knee to a second session with my icepack and then worked my way through a selection of my knee strengthening exercises.

Saturday – 20 mins jog

As it was raining heavily when my alarm initially woke me at 05:30, I decided to give myself a Saturday morning lie in. I knew that the rain would keep the majority of the dog walking brigade inside. I eventually got out of bed at 07:00 and was starting my warm-up in the rain ten minutes later. It was cold! My run was very similar to Monday’s 20 minute slow run. The first ten minutes were challenging, I found myself questioning my decision to run my slightly more challenging 2 mile route. Although the second half of the run was easier, I was aware that my right knee wasn’t enjoying the downhill finish so I slowed down.

Sunday – 10k race or time-trial

I should have been completing an 85 minute run at an ‘easy pace’ but decided to run in the Lichfield 10k instead. I’ll be writing a review of the Lichfield 10k in a separate post so I won’t waffle on here, but in summary. It was warm, I set out at a ridiculous pace, struggled from the halfway point, walked a few times and staggered across the finish line in just under an hour. collage-28So that’s the eleventh week of my half marathon training successfully completed. Fortunately, there are only another five weeks to go. I made the mistake of running twice in one day, I won’t be doubling up again in the near future. If I ignore what happened during the Lichfield 10k, I think that I got slightly better at maintaining a sensible pace. At least I finally managed to achieve one of my 2016 running goals – a sub 60-minute 10k.

Next week’s training schedule contains four runs and looks quite scary. I’ve got to somehow drag my very tired legs around a 20 minute recovery jog tomorrow morning. I’ll have to assess how I feel in the morning. I’ve then got to aim to complete a 55 minute ‘steady run’ on Wednesday, another 20 minute jog on Saturday and then an 85 minute run on Sunday. Looking at the training schedule I suspect that the rest days on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday will be the highlight of the week.

Training totals

  • Runs: 36
  • Time: 15 hours 15 mins
  • Distance: 152.43 kms

Races/time trials

  • 5 km: 28:05
  • 10 km: 59:27


  • Left foot: 5/10
  • Right knee: 4/10
  • Calf muscles: 4/10
  • Shins: 1/10

Would you ever attempt a running streak? My legs felt really tired after my runs on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I’ve got no idea how (or why) people start and then maintain running streaks.

Are your family supportive of your running? I guess I notice the complete lack of support more because I’m single and don’t have a supportive partner.


4 thoughts on “Great Birmingham Run training week 11

  1. AnnaTheApple says:

    Nice work on the week. I don’t ever run twice in one day or more than two days in a row as that’s just asking for an injury for me as I’m so fragile!
    Congrats on the sub 60min 10k too! I personally don’t think 10ks ever feel good. Just a pain train the entire time.


    • Emma says:

      Thanks Anna. I don’t think I’ll attempt to run twice in one day again, I’m far, far too injury-prone. I’m still debating writing a quick review of my latest 10k pacing fiasco. I should do really so that I can hopefully avoid making the same mistakes a third time! I’ve decided that I don’t like 10k races, they are double the pain but only half the enjoyment of parkun.


  2. Maria @ runningcupcake says:

    Nice work on the 10k!
    I would not do a running streak- I can run for 3 or maybe 4 days at a pinch, but the final run will be slow and not that enjoyable, and I don’t see the point. I think it’s asking to get injured. The people I know who do that sort of thing end up doing lots of 1 mile runs, and to me it’s a waste of a hair wash! I like the distance challenges (virtual runner did one last year in October /November) where you up your mileage for a month, but with that you still have rest days so it’s more sensible.


    • Emma says:

      Thanks Maria. After Sunday I now know how not to pace a 10k! The training plan has had me running on three consecutive days, by the third day my legs have felt like lead and I’ve been unable to run at a respectable pace. I don’t understand the obsession with maintaining a run streak, like you say is there any point in running for a mile. I hated my 10 minute training runs – I’d spend more time getting ready to run and warming-up than actually running. Even 20 minute runs are starting to feel like more effort than they are worth. I like all these virtual runs and challenges, I quite enjoyed receiving an extra ‘bonus’ medal for completing the marathon distance during April.


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