I ended the eleventh week of my Great Birmingham Run training with a slightly disastrous run at the Lichfield 10k. My confidence was low and I seriously considered quitting running.Week 12 of my Great Birmingham Run training plan consisted of a short 20 minute recovery jog on Monday, a 55 minute steady paced run on Wednesday, another 20 minute jog on Saturday and finally, an 85 minute long run on Sunday. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday were rest days. Although the long run on Sunday looked challenging, I was determined to run continuously for 85 minutes.
Monday – 20 mins recovery jog
When I got out of bed first thing on Monday morning I could hardly walk. The 10m walk to the bathroom was a challenge. The Lichfield 10k had destroyed my legs more than I’d realised. I decided to postpone my 20 minute recovery jog until later in the day. After spending the morning packaging up my latest eBay sales and then causing an impressive queue in the local Post Office, I walked the couple of miles to the local shops to get some lunch. As the walking seemed to help to ease the stiffness in my legs, I decided to head out for my run later in the afternoon.
Once again I failed to run at a sensible pace. What should have been a ‘recovery jog’ turned into a speedy (for me) run. In my defence, by the time I headed out on my run it was so humid I felt better when I ran faster and generated some breeze. I also speeded up to get away from a lady walking a slightly scary dog. The humid conditions were energy sapping – as soon as I got home I made myself drink a couple of large glasses of water. I then spent 30 minutes icing my right knee and left foot. Week 12 of my half marathon training was off to a positive start.
Tuesday – Rest
The highlight of my rest day on Tuesday was getting caught outside in a thunderstorm in the afternoon. It suddenly went dark and then the rain made an unwelcome appearance. I got soaked to the skin because I was a muppet and was too scared to use my umbrella. Once I’d recovered from my traumatic experience, I spent an hour working through several of the slightly less challenging Jasyoga reset videos.
Wednesday – Rest
I should have completed a 55 minute steady paced run on Wednesday morning. Unfortunately, when my alarm woke me at 05:30, I discovered that I’d got a migraine. Not being able to see properly was not ideal, and I accepted that running would be out of the question. Luckily I felt a lot better by the evening, and was confident I’d be able to at least attempt a 55 minute run on Thursday.
Thursday – 55 mins steady
After spending the majority of Wednesday trying to sleep through my migraine, I was dressed and ready to run before my alarm went off at 05:30. Unfortunately, when I looked out the window I discovered that it was dark and very, very foggy. Not an ideal combination. As I didn’t want to run later on in the day when it was forecast to get very warm, I decided to risk heading out for a run. Running in dense fog and not being able to see more than 10 metres in front of me was an interesting experience. I decided to be careful and ran at a slow but sensible pace. Although I found running up the same stretch of road several times slightly tedious, the run was incident free. At the end of the 55 minutes I felt as if I could have carried on running.
After lunch I spent a couple of hours listing more of my unwanted running related paraphernalia on eBay. Hopefully some of it will sell. I then spent the rest of the afternoon preparing for a meeting I’ve been asked to attend on Monday. Reading about the potential implications of Brexit on the water sector was pretty disheartening.
Friday – Rest
I was really relieved that Friday was a rest day. Once again my right knee was quite painful and had clearly not reacted well to running for 55 minutes. In addition, the location of the previous stress fracture in my left foot was also quite tender. As a result I spent most of the morning sitting at my computer with icepacks balanced on my right knee and left foot. In the afternoon I dug out my foam roller and spent 30 minutes or so trying to massage out some of the knots in my calf muscles. Although, by the evening both my dodgy knee and calf muscles felt a million times better, my left foot still felt sore. I didn’t think what I was experiencing were just ‘phantom pains’ and for the first time I wondered if I’d make it to the start line in October.
Saturday – 20 mins very easy jog
As I decided to give myself a bit of a lie in, I didn’t head out on my 20 minute run until it was almost 08:00. What should have been a ‘very easy jog’ turned into quite a fast run when I noticed that there was a group of people running behind me. For some reason my competitive instinct kicked in and I was determined not to be overtaken. I wasn’t overtaken and I made it home without inuring myself.
Sunday – 85 mins easy pace
When I mapped out the route for my final training session of week 12, I made sure that I gave myself the best chance of running continuously for 85 minutes. At 05:30 on Sunday morning it was dark outside and so quiet it was quite creepy. Every footstep I made seemed to echo around the neighbourhood, I was concerned that my plodding would wake up half of Four Oaks. Although it was cold enough for me to regret opting to wear a short sleeved running top, I found running in the cooler conditions really enjoyable. I set off at a sensible pace and made sure that I didn’t inadvertently start to speed up, I told myself that I could increase my pace when I’d been running for an hour. This new and more sensible approach undoubtedly worked as the 85 minute run felt easy.
I got home, drank two pints of strawberry milkshake and then sat in the garden analysing what I’d just achieved. Although I had wanted to run for 85 minutes, I had questioned whether I was capable of running for over an hour without stopping. The Lichfield 10k had dented my confidence quite a lot and had made me question myself as a runner. After chilling out – literally as it was still cold – outside for a few minutes I spent 30 minutes icing my right knee and left foot. I then had a shower and headed back to bed in an attempt to get some more sleep.
So that’s the twelfth week of my half marathon training successfully completed. I’m thrilled that I’ve managed to nurse my fragile body through 75 per cent of my training plan. There are only four weeks of training to go, two of those weeks are cutback weeks.
Next week’s training schedule contains another four runs and looks pretty challenging. Once again I’ve got to drag myself around a 20 minute run on Monday morning. I’ve then got to complete a 60 minute ‘brisk’ run on Wednesday, a 45 minute ‘easy’ run on Friday and then a longer 100 minute jog on Sunday. After this morning’s successful run I’m feeling quite confident I can run for 100 minutes. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday are what I like to think of as rest, recovery and rebuilding days.
- Runs: 40
- Time: 18 hours 15 mins
- Distance: 180.78 kms
- 5k: 28:05
- 10k: 59:27
- Left foot: 6/10
- Right knee: 4/10
- Calf muscles: 4/10
- Shins: 1/10
Do you find yourself speeding up when you see other runners? With my injury-prone body and lack of fitness I need to learn how to let other runners overtake me!
Do you have any links to foam rolling exercises you are willing to share? My calf muscles are really, really tight at the moment, so I know that I need to make more effort to torture myself.