Great Birmingham Run training week 6

Once again, I hope that everyone had an awesome weekend. I can’t believe that I’ve more or less successfully completed a third of my half marathon training.Collage 12The first couple of runs looked relatively simple. I was to run for 20 minutes on Tuesday and 30 minutes on Thursday. Both runs were to be completed at an “easy” pace. The third run, however, looked slightly more challenging. The training plan gave me the option of running for between 40 and 45 minutes at a “very easy pace”. Although I found running for 35 minutes last Sunday relatively easy, I was concerned that I would struggle to run for an additional 10 minutes. So how did I find the sixth week of half marathon training?

Monday – Rest

Fortunately, week 6 started with my favourite component of any training plan – a rest day. Have I mentioned just how much I love rest days? I’ve never really understood why some runners find taking a day off from running so difficult. Once again I spent the morning catching up on emails and planning out the week ahead and the afternoon job hunting. Exciting stuff!

Tuesday – 20 mins easy

Like last Tuesday, I struggled to drag myself out of bed at 05:30 to get my 20 minute run completed before Four Oaks woke up. I eventually headed out on my run after 08:00. I probably should have stayed at home as my run was rubbish.  Once again, I managed to get my pacing completely wrong and set out at an unsustainable pace. Just to add to my woes, it was windy and I felt like I was running constantly into the wind. After 15 minutes I walked for a couple of seconds and then felt like I’d failed. Not the most positive start to week 6.

The rest of Tuesday was so mundane and uneventful; I won’t bore you all to tears with the details.

Wednesday – Rest

Another rather mundane and generally restful rest day. Once I’d spent most of the day working on job applications and my latest academic masterpiece, I felt like I needed to get out of the house. Thirty minutes later I found myself walking around the top end of Sutton Park.Collage 13Although it rained and I got soaked to the skin, walking helped me to relax and forget about my job hunting woes for a couple of hours.

Thursday – Rest

I should have completed an easy 30 minute run on Thursday, however, when I woke up, my right heel felt a little niggly after my epic walk in Sutton Park. Looking back, my walking shoes probably weren’t quite supportive enough. As I knew my heel just needed a bit of time to recover, I decided to be sensible and swapped my run for a rest day.

Friday – 30 mins easy

For some reason, I really struggled to sleep on Thursday night/Friday morning. I remember checking twitter at 02:30, not ideal when my alarm was set for 05:30. When my alarm woke me, I felt really tired – you can tell I haven’t had children! – and doubted I’d be able to run for 30 minutes. After lying in bed debating missing my run, I decided to get up and run. I got dressed, worked my way through my PF stretches and exercises, went to the loo, turned on my Garmin and headed out on my run. I was sensible and set out at a very steady pace and found running for 30 minutes quite easy. Running can be so unpredictable.

After spending the rest of the day working on a job application, reading about recycled water, vacuuming, sleeping and replying to a couple of blog related emails, I settled down to watch the athletics. How amazing was Mo Farah in the 10,000m? I don’t think I’ve ever watched such a stressful race, there was so much drama towards the end. I’d love to be able to run 5k in his winning time of 26 minutes 49 seconds!

Saturday – Rest

I spent the morning and early afternoon watching the athletics on the BBC. I also spent a bit of time preparing for my violin lesson. I’m sure that most sensible people spent their Saturday evening either watching sports or spending time with friends and family. Unfortunately, I had a violin lesson I couldn’t miss and found myself sharing a train with loads of slightly merry football supporters. At least my violin lesson prevented me from enjoying a few too many pints of Stella, before my long (for me) run the following morning.Collage 14Birmingham University is very quiet at this time of the year. After my violin lesson I went for a quick stroll around the campus and tracked down another Big Sleuth bear. A delayed train meant that I missed the men’s 100m final. I don’t think I missed much.

Sunday – 40-45 mins very easy pace

I woke up feeling great at 05:30. After lying in bed for a minutes telling myself that I could run for 45 minutes, I got up, got dressed, had a successful loo visit and spent 30 minutes working my way through my PF stretches and exercises. By the way, although it’s only the sixth week of training, I’m already fed up with doing the same old stretches. I made myself drink a glass of water and orange nuun, switched on my Garmin and headed out the door.

Conditions were perfect and I was sensible and made sure that I set out at a steady pace. Although I found running for 45 minutes a lot easier than I thought I would, I felt tired during the final five minutes and wouldn’t have been able to carry on running for much longer. Rather worryingly, the ache in my left foot made itself known throughout the run. Please don’t be another stress fracture.

I returned from my run, did a few half-hearted stretches, drank some more orange nuun and iced my right foot. By the time I’d had a shower it was getting quite late, so I reluctantly made a start on the mountain of washing that had accumulated during the week. I spent the rest of the day watching the men’s and women’s marathons and random track and field events. I think I’m going to have to ban myself from watching athletics during the daytime.

So that’s week six of my half marathon training more or less successfully completed, only another 10 weeks to go. I was reminded that I’m definitely an early morning runner – slightly concerning given that the Great Birmingham Run starts at lunchtime – and that I need to remember to cool-down and stretch after every run.

Next week’s training schedule comprises of four runs for the first time and is described as a “peak training week”. Hopefully my right heel will cope with the extra run… I’ve got to complete a steady 20 minute run on Monday, a steady 30 minute run on Wednesday and a 10 minute “easy jog” on Friday. On Sunday the plan gives me the option of running without taking any sneaky walking breaks for between 50 and 55 minutes. Although I’m not as fit as I was 12 months ago, I’m going to do my best to run for 55 minutes.

 Training totals

  • Runs: 18
  • Time: 6 hours 0 mins
  • Distance: 33.70 miles


  • Right heel: 4/10
  • Right knee: 2/10
  • Left foot: 6/10

Have you ever had a really good run when you’ve not felt great? I seem to run better when I’m not feeling 100 per cent.

What are your favourite track and field events? Mine are the sprint hurdles and the pole vault.



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