Cambridge Half Marathon training week 1

I hope that everyone had a great weekend. I think the highlight of my weekend was the snow and ice finally disappearing yesterday. As a couple of people have said that they enjoy reading training updates, I’ve decided to attempt to produce weekly updates of my Cambridge Half training. As I’ll be moving house and starting a new job next month, I’m hoping that these updates won’t bore you all to tears. I’m also following a slightly more challenging (for me) but more interesting training plan.Collage 1Fortunately, given the amount of snow and ice in Four Oaks last Monday, the first week of the 12-week half marathon training plan my friend and running coach put together for me started with a rest day. The training plan then recommended that I completed a 30 minute easy run on Tuesday, a 30 minute tempo run on Wednesday, 40 minutes of cross-training on Friday, 30 minutes of speed work on Saturday and a 3 mile run on Sunday.

Unfortunately, due to the snow, the reality was completely different. Thanks to the snow and ice, I was unable to complete three out of four training runs.

Monday – Rest

I spent the majority of Monday catching up on boring admin tasks. Although I’m 38, I’m completely useless at ‘adulting’ and prioritising my time. I spent the morning responding to emails and updating my LinkedIn profile and the afternoon searching for somewhere to live in Wallingford. Most sensible people would have prioritised finding somewhere to live. After receiving the text message I’d been waiting for since September, I also booked some last minute train tickets.

Tuesday – Rest

I should have completed a 30 minute easy run on Tuesday morning. Unfortunately, the snow had turned into ice and the pavements were like ice rinks. I’m sure that slightly more dedicated runners would have walked the mile or so to the relative safety of Sutton Park, but I didn’t want to risk slipping over and breaking something. After a slightly stressful couple of hours checking the status of the local trains, I travelled down to London to see my mentor Geoff for the first time since September. It was amazing to get the opportunity to see him again and to say “thank-you”.

Wednesday – Rest

The journey back from London to Birmingham was slightly frustrating. My train was meant to leave Euston at 12:03, but sat on the platform for what felt like ages going nowhere. By the time I got back to Four Oaks, I was hungry and discovered that it was too late for me to accompany my friend to his gym. I should have completed a 30 minute tempo run, but thanks to the icy conditions, I spent the afternoon sulking and obsessively checking the local weather forecasts.Collage 2In the evening I travelled across Birmingham to the University for an oboe lesson. The second I got off the train at University station it started to snow quite heavily. When I got back to Four Oaks, I discovered that the pavements had been coated by another couple of inches of snow.

Thursday – Rest

Another rather mundane and incredibly restful rest day. I think the highlight of the day was my pretty awesome Bambi on ice impression. I tried to walk to Sutton Park, but quickly realised the pavements and side roads between my house and the park were too icy. In an attempt to get the snow and ice to melt, I did some research online and ordered myself a pair of Yaktrax Pro ice grips.

Friday – 40 mins cross training

As I’m not a member of a gym, I decided to make the most of what I’ve got at home – some stairs – and attempted a 40 minute stair session. In theory, my stair session was simple; all I had to do was continuously walk up and down the stairs for 40 minutes. I’m a little ashamed to admit that I had stop for a rest after only 20 minutes, walking up and down stairs is harder than it looks.  Once I’d enjoyed a refreshing cup of tea, I managed to complete my slightly unusual cross-training session.

The rest of Friday was uneventful but incredibly positive. I spent four hours working on my discharge-rich rivers paper, and decided that I’d done enough work to treat myself to a Chinese meal. I then received an amazing phone call. After a lot of stress, it looks like I’ve finally got my accommodation in Wallingford sorted.

Saturday – Rest

I should have completed a 30 minute speed work session, but thanks to the icy conditions, I was forced to miss another training run. I think the cancellation of virtually every parkrun in the area illustrated just how unsafe the conditions were on Saturday morning. I spent the morning catching up some slightly overdue housework. I vacuumed the house, cleaned the bathroom, mopped the kitchen floor, and did two loads of washing. And then I went to bed for a ‘quick’ nap and woke up feeling completely disorientated almost three hours later. Such a waste of a day.

On Saturday evening, I had arranged to meet some school friends for a couple of pints in the local pub. Unfortunately, one friend had some sort of winter vomiting bug and another was stuck down in London, so we decided to postpone our get together until after Christmas. I ended up spending my Saturday evening updating and sharing my sponsorship page on social media, drinking wine and watching rubbish on the TV. After consulting the weather forecast for Four Oaks, I set my alarm for 06:30 and headed to bed at a reasonably sensible time.

Sunday – 3 miles long run

At 06:30 I got dressed and did a quick recce outside. Unfortunately, the pavements were still covered in a layer of ice and were pretty. So much for the milder and wetter weather that had been forecast. After a productive day working on my discharge-rich rivers paper and eating, I found myself dodging random patches of ice just before 19:00. Although I found the three mile run relatively easy, it was so mild I regretted wearing loads of layers, and found myself impersonating a beetroot when I returned home.

So that’s the first week of my slightly more challenging intermediate half marathon training plan not completed.

I don’t think I’ve ever missed the first three training sessions of a training plan, but I didn’t want to risk slipping over and breaking something during week one. My coach told me I’d made the right decision. Hopefully the snow and ice will now stay away until I move to Wallingford and have access to a nice warm gym.

Next week’s training schedule comprises of four runs and looks quite challenging  interesting. Thanks coach! I’ve got to complete a 30 minute easy run tomorrow, a 30 minute tempo run on Wednesday, a 30 minute speed work session on Friday and a 5 mile long(ish) run on Sunday. Monday and Thursday are what my coach calls rest, recovery and rebuilding days. In addition, my coach has allocated 40 minutes of cross-training on Friday. I’m sure I can find something slightly more enjoyable than the 40 minute stair climbing session I completed on Friday.

Training totals

  • Runs: 1
  • Time: 0 hours 32 mins
  • Distance: 3 miles


  • Right heel: 2/10
  • Right knee: 4/10
  • Left foot: 3/10

Do you attempt to run outside when it’s icy or do you stick to the treadmill?



10 thoughts on “Cambridge Half Marathon training week 1

    • Emma says:

      Thanks Anna. I think seeing loads of other people braving the snow during the recent ‘Snowmageddon’ made me feel like a bit of a wimp. I just know from past experience I would have fallen over and got injured.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Emma says:

      Thanks Lacey! I’m not usually this motivated when it comes to running; I think the fear of letting the people down who have sponsored me is helping. As for adulting. I can’t help but think that at the age of 38 I should be a bit more organised.


  1. Maria @ Maria Runs says:

    I think you were very sensible indeed. I think I didn’t run for a whole week (eg I did parkrun and then nothing until the following parkrun)- like you I’d rather not risk falling and breaking something, and the pavements were so icy it wasn’t worth the risk.


    • Emma says:

      I’m sorry you had to miss a week’s worth of training too. I kept seeing photos of people running on what looked like incredibly icy surfaces, and wondered how they were able to run. I’m probably one of the few people I know who is pleased we won’t be having snow on Christmas Day.


  2. Secret Runner says:

    Ditto, although in Liverpool we didn’t get the same amount of ice, it was still really icy by me. I’m doing the Couch to 5k plan so missed a whole week’s training because of the stuff!


    • Emma says:

      Hello Secret Runner. After a couple of bad experiences, I avoid icy pavements as much as possible. It’s not worth the risk. I’m sorry you had to miss a week of the Couch to 5k plan, that must have been pretty frustrating. Have you managed to get back on schedule?


    • Emma says:

      I’m not at all brave when it comes to running in the snow. Having long legs seems to make me completely uncoordinated, even walking to work can be challenging. I can just about cope with running slowly in fresh snow, once it gets slightly slushy/icy I struggle to stay upright. I’ll always miss training runs rather than risk slipping over and injuring myself. If I had a dreadmill I’d definitely use it!


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