Great Birmingham Run training week 9

I hope that everyone is enjoying the Bank Holiday weekend. For once, the weather has been pretty much perfect. Although I found the eighth week of my half marathon training relatively easy, I was incredibly apprehensive about three of the training runs in week nine.  Collage 21Week nine of my beginners half marathon training plan – the slightly scaring sounding “second building phase” – saw me complete a 10 minute recovery run on Monday, 35 minute runs on both Wednesday and Friday and a longer 65 minute run on Sunday. Week nine also saw me rediscover my love of a glass of cold Diet Coke after a run. So much for my self-imposed Diet Coke ban. I guess I can always try to give up again after the half marathon.

Monday – 10 mins easy jog

When I first spotted that Monday wasn’t a rest day, I was a little concerned my fragile feet would cope with running on three consecutive days. Fortunately, my heel felt reasonably niggle-free when I dragged myself out of bed, so I decided to run. It was cold, it was wet and it was windy. My pace probably wasn’t ‘easy’ as I set out far too quickly.  The 10 minute run up and down my road was over before I’d warmed and woken up. Week 9 had got off to a reasonably positive start.

Tuesday – Rest

When I got up on Tuesday, I felt that I really needed a rest day. Luckily my training plan had allocated me a day away from the pavements of Four Oaks. I spent the morning and early afternoon working through a 36 page long application form, it was seriously tedious. As a ‘reward’ I gave myself the night off from cooking for one and treated myself to a curry from the local takeaway. You may wonder why I’m telling you what I ate, all will be revealed.

Wednesday – 35 mins steady

When my alarm woke me at 05:30 I noticed three things. It was very dark outside, I was extremely thirsty and my guts felt somewhat unsettled. I wasn’t overly concerned about the dark or my thirst; I was concerned about my guts. I got changed into some running gear, went to the loo, drank a glass of water, went to the loo again, completed my PF exercises and stretches, went to the loo for a third time and then headed outside.

My run was very nearly quite literally, shit. I set out far too quickly (for me), felt nauseous virtually the whole time and spent the final ten minutes trying not to have an unfortunate accident. Running is actually quite hard when you *really* need the loo. Looking back, I’ve got no idea how I made it home but I won’t be eating chicken korma – yes my guts are pathetic – the evening before I run. The rest of the day was uneventful!

Thursday – Rest

Another rest day. Although I love being able to run again, I also love my rest days. I know I’ve said if before, but my fragile body needs what my old coach used to call ‘rest and recuperation’ days. I was reasonably productive and spent seven hours analysing flow data for an academic paper I doubt I’ll ever finish. By about 17:00 I needed a break from my computer and some fresh air so I popped out for a quick walk. Most sensible people who live in Four Oaks would head straight to Sutton Park. I decided walk the route I use for my longer early morning mid-week runs.Collage 22As you can see from the photos, it’s not the most exciting place to run. I’m actually getting quite bored of running up and down the same three roads, and have lost count of the number of times I’ve run past Streetly Tennis Club. I’ve searched for alternative routes but have yet to find anywhere as flat, heckler free *touches wood* and quiet. I guess I’ll be running a few more loops in the lead up to the half marathon.

When I got home I cooked myself a bland and hopefully ‘safe’ pasta and watched the Diamond League athletics.

Friday – 35 mins steady

After my rubbish run on Wednesday, I made sure that I set out at a far more sensible and sustainable pace. Conditions were perfect and I only had to step into the road to avoid a pedestrian once. I didn’t even see the elderly gentleman walking his noisy dog. I hope last week’s incident hasn’t made him alter his early morning routine. The rest of Friday was productive. I submitted a couple of job applications, washed three loads of washing and made a start on decluttering my ‘normal’ clothes.

Saturday – Rest

I’m not sure what went wrong, but I didn’t wake up until after 09:00. I guess I’m getting old and all the early mornings and lack of sleep finally caught up with me. I spent the morning writing eBay descriptions and then met my friend Anna for lunch. I forgot to take photos of my food, but I’m sure you can visualise my Chicken Caesar salad and chocolate pudding. And I wonder why I’m not losing much weight. The remainder of the day was uneventful and mundane – for example planning potential running routes – I won’t bore you with the details. I made sure I ate a sensible meal, pasta again, laid out my running kit, set my alarm and went to bed at 22:00.

Sunday – 65 mins steady

The extra sleep resulted in me waking well before my alarm, not ideal. I lay in bed thinking about my run for a few minutes and then got up. I got dressed, had a successful loo visit, drank a couple of glasses of water, worked my way through my PF exercises and stretches, headed out the door and started to run.

The first 35 minutes of my run felt so easy, I had to keep forcing myself to slow down. It was surprisingly busy out for a Sunday morning and I spotted a few people doing the ‘walk of shame’. Although the second half of the run was slightly more challenging, I managed to run up the hill that had beaten me a year ago. The final three minutes tested my mental strength. Have you ever had to run past the front door of your house when you are tired and just want to walk? It’s difficult! I completed the 65 minutes, walked for a few minutes, got home, forced myself to a pint of orange nuun, took some dodgy selfies, had a shower and then headed back to bed for a nap.Collage 23So that’s week nine and the second building phase of my half marathon training more or less completed. Will I ever learn to slow down and to pace myself? I very much doubt it. This time last year, I discussed carrying water with me on training runs lasting over an hour. I mentioned the Ultimate Direction hydration pack I’d won in a competition. Fast forward 12 months and I’m still too lazy to carry water with me on my longer runs. I think the hydration pack I won last year is gathering dust in the loft somewhere.

My week 10 – double figures at last – training schedule contains four training runs and looks even more challenging. I’ve somehow got to complete a 35 minute run on Tuesday, a slightly faster (yeah right) 45 minute run on Thursday, a 20 minute recovery run on Friday and what is described as a 75 minute ‘jog/walk’ on Sunday. As I like to plan ahead and to avoid hills, I’ve already planned out a reasonably flat, seven mile route.

Training totals

  • Runs: 29
  • Time: 11 hours 0 mins
  • Distance: 61.20 miles

Races/time trials

  • 5 km: 32:49
  • 10 km: TBC during week 12


  • Right heel: 4/10
  • Right knee: 4/10
  • Left foot: 5/10

6 thoughts on “Great Birmingham Run training week 9

    • Emma says:

      Thanks Maria. I know I need to trust in the training plan! I seem to remember having the same doubts at the same stage last year. After my dodgy run, I’m avoiding eating spicy food the evening before I run. I don’t want to end up doing a Paula in the middle of Four Oaks.


    • Emma says:

      Thanks! I don’t mind running up hills, I’ve been avoiding running down steep hills because of my fragile right knee. You’re right though, running up a long hill certainly focuses my mind.
      I tend to get up early, run and then if I’m back home before 6am, have a shower and head back to bed for an hour. Pretty lazy really. The only time I feel knackered is when I get too much sleep.


  1. AnnaTheApple says:

    Nice work 🙂 glad it’s going well. One rubbish run is always bound to crop up now and again.
    It’s weird but I’ve been sleeping a bit later at weekends too. But I always feel worse for it. There’s a balance somewhere between 5am and 9am for me…


    • Emma says:

      Thanks Anna. Running is so unpredictable. On the mornings I wake up feeling rubbish I’ll generally have a good run. When I wake up feeling great I tend to set out at an unrealistic pace and end up having a crap run.
      I didn’t wake up until 9am on Saturday and felt drowsy all morning. I’m still trying to work out how much sleep I actually need.


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