Great Birmingham Run training week 1

After hopefully overcoming a stubborn bout of Plantar Fasciitis (PF) in my right heel, I’ve decided to risk running more regularly, with the aim of completing the Great Birmingham Run in October. Last Monday saw the start of the 16-week half marathon training plan I’ve selected. As my running has been severely limited this year, I decided to opt for the beginners’ half marathon training plan I followed last year.

Collage 1

I’ll start with some honesty and with some facts. Last year I weighed 76.6 kg when I started half marathon training, had built up a decent running base and felt reasonably fit. This year I weigh 81.7 kg, have let my trainers gather dust and feel like a sack of potatoes. Let’s face it; the extra weight isn’t going to help my dodgy heel. I haven’t been taking care of my health and I’ve used my heel injury as an excuse to eat rubbish. Not the ideal starting point.

Week one of the training plan is described as ‘getting started’ or in my case ‘seeing if my heel can cope with a 20 minute run’. Without sounding like a Negative Nora, I had quite a few doubts. Enough waffle, here are my thoughts on the first week of half marathon training.

Monday – 10 mins easy jog

The training plan started with a nice and easy “10 mins easy jog”, I dragged myself out of bed, squeezed myself into some running gear, and started to work my way through my PF exercises and stretches. I’ve accepted that most of the initial training runs will take less time than my pre- and post-run exercises and stretches. Once I was happy with my heel, I went to the loo, pulled on my trainers and headed out the door. I managed to run 0.97 miles in 10 minutes, perhaps a little speedy for an “easy jog” but a positive start.

Collage 2

Mum picked me up at 10:00 and we drove the short distance to Chase Farm Shop. Whereas in the past I would have chosen the Traditional Farmers breakfast, on Monday I chose the slightly less calorific Lighter Breakfast. I still felt full four hours later so decided to skip lunch. The rest of Monday was spent preparing for my interview, completing a feature for runABC Midlands, and building up the courage to take the sample of blood I needed to provide for the Thriva team.

Tuesday – Rest

Tuesday wasn’t very exciting. I spent the morning reading through my PhD thesis in preparation for my interview. The highlight of Tuesday afternoon was receiving my Thriva results; my Lipid Profile and Liver Function checks came back fine. Although I’ll go into more detail in a separate review post, I was relieved my dubious eating habits hadn’t given me high cholesterol.

Wednesday – 10 mins easy jog

As I didn’t want to risk inadvertently injuring myself on the morning of my interview, I decided to complete the “10 mins easy jog” scheduled for Thursday a day earlier. After spending a couple of hours working on some more last minute interview preparation, I worked my way through my PF exercises and stretches. Running is a strange old sport. Monday’s “easy jog” felt quite difficult as I set out far too fast (for me!) and paid the price. This time I set out at a more realistic pace, and found the 0.96 miles I covered in 10 minutes far more enjoyable. I spent the remainder of Wednesday reading through the job description and my application form and trying to work out potential interview questions. After checking the trains, I also spent far too long worrying about having to catch four different trains to get to my interview.

Thursday – Rest

I didn’t get a great night’s sleep because I was so worried about the journey to my interview and the actual interview itself. I initially woke up at 06:00, realised I didn’t need to get up for another hour, went back to sleep and then woke up at 07:00 feeling like a zombie. My journey from Four Oaks to Chelmsford involved travelling on four different trains and some of my connections were tight. Fortunately, I enjoyed four relatively stress and delay-free train journeys, and I arrived at my interview 20 minutes early. The interview itself went very well. I answered all of the questions and completed all of the practical tests. The 1.5 hours flew by and I left the interview feeling positive.

Collage 3

The journey back to London was uneventful. The tube journey to Baker Street was a nightmare. I’ve never travelled on such a busy tube train and I started to feel quite panicky. I escaped at Baker Street, and was met by hundreds of people heading to the Adele concert. Great timing Emma! I walked the short distance to my friends flat, let myself in, dumped my bags, had a quick shower, got changed and then met up with my PhD supervisor to chat about my interview. My supervisor abandoned me after a couple of pints so I sat drinking alone waiting for my friend Kate. Seriously, how late do some people work in London!? By the time Kate arrived we were both starving so we headed straight to Hardy’s where I opted for fish and chips and a slightly unusual but unhealthy meringue-based dessert.

Friday – Rest

Friday was uneventful. I travelled back from London and managed to avoid the chaos on the local trains. I got home and started to work my way through the mountain of washing. I was just about to head out to grab some lunch when my phone went; it was the person who interviewed me. Unfortunately, although I was a “very strong candidate” I didn’t get the job because I didn’t have enough modelling experience. Disappointing but predictable! I tried not to think about the £100 I’d spent getting to and from the interview. My mother managed to make me feel a million times worse by telling me that she felt sorry for me. Thanks mother!

Saturday – Jog/walk 20 mins

After switching around my training runs earlier in the week, I decided to attempt my ‘longer run’ a day early. After working my way through my PF exercises and stretches, I headed out first thing in the morning with the aim of running for 20 minutes without stopping. Although – I’m so unfit at the moment – I found running for 20 minutes quite difficult. I managed to avoid walking and found the 1.89 miles challenging but enjoyable. I got home, spent ages icing my right foot and heel, had a quick shower and then headed back to bed for a couple of hours. For some reason I felt shattered. In the evening I headed out for a short walk, half-way through my walk I bumped into some old school friends. Three hours, four pints, one race entry later – I was determined to get a place in the Market Drayton 10k – I made it to bed. Unplanned nights are always great; I needed a good laugh after my most recent job rejection.

Sunday – Rest

Sunday was a much needed day of rest. I woke up feeling dehydrated and had a slightly fuzzy head. I also had a very sore left foot, I have a horrible feeling that I’m heading towards another stress fracture. I spent the morning and early afternoon attached to the sofa watching England beat Sri Lanka in the Women’s Cricket World Cup, and the evening catching up on some well overdue household chores. Not the most productive Sunday!

So that’s the first week of my half marathon training plan successfully completed. Apologies for the lengthy post, I can guarantee next week’s will be a lot shorter. I’ve looked at the training schedule for next week and it looks pretty similar. Fingers crossed the pain in my left foot isn’t anything serious. I’ve started to enjoy running again and I don’t want another injury!

Training totals

  • Runs: 3
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Distance: 3.82 miles

Niggleometer

  • Right heel: 2/10
  • Right knee: 1/10
  • Left foot: 3/10

Have you ever entered a race when you are drunk? I’m just relieved I entered a 10k and not something completely unachievable like an Ironman!

Have you ever sold your unwanted clothes/running gear on eBay? I think I’m getting slightly addicted to decluttering.

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