Cambridge Half Marathon training week 4

I hope that everyone had a great weekend. I’m feeling a little stressed out at the moment because this time next week, I’ll be starting my new job.Collage 8Following an incredibly restful New Year’s Day, week four of my Cambridge Half Marathon training saw me complete a rather challenging and not very ‘easy’ run lasting 40 minutes during Storm Eleanor, a 30 tempo run with incredibly tight calf muscles on Thursday evening, a ‘naked’ 30 minute speed session on Saturday morning and an abandoned longer run yesterday. Due to my lack of gym access, I found myself spending 40 minutes walking up and down the stairs again on Friday.

So how did my fragile body cope during week four of my half marathon training?

Monday – Rest

After my late night six mile run, I started 2018 feeling tired but hangover free. As the weather was pretty depressing all day, I had an incredibly quiet and relaxing New Year’s Day. The perfect rest day and a great start to 2018.

Tuesday – 40 mins easy

I’ve no idea why, but I felt incredibly gloomy when I woke up. I made the mistake of comparing my fundraising with a couple of other runners I follow on social media. This pointless exercise left me feeling like a failure as both a friend and as a fundraiser. I’ve said it before but comparison really is the thief of joy. I cheered myself up a little by ordering some bits and pieces from Myprotein and by writing some running goals for the year ahead.Collage 9I was feeling so sorry for myself; I didn’t head out on my 40 minute ‘easy’ run until the evening when Storm Eleanor had made an appearance. Stupid of me when I know running generally makes me feel better. My calf muscles felt a little tight and niggly to start with, but once I’d warmed up they felt fine. When I got back and checked my Garmin stats, I discovered just how much Storm Eleanor had assisted my run.

Wednesday – Rest

Although Storm Eleanor had helped my run, she also kept me awake most of the night, and I woke up on Wednesday morning feeling tired and incredibly grumpy. I also had such a bad headache I decided to postpone my 30 minute tempo run until Thursday. I spent the morning trying and failing to be productive before I eventually gave up and went back to bed for a quick nap. I woke up a couple of hours later feeling slightly disorientated but headache free. Once I’d woken up a little, I reintroduced my calf muscles to my favourite foam roller. While it wasn’t a very enjoyable experience as I’m useless at inflicting pain on myself, my calf muscles did feel much better afterwards.

Thursday – 30 mins tempo

I had originally planned to get my 30 minute tempo run done and dusted before breakfast. The combination of yet another night of limited sleep – I wish I could stop stressing myself out about everything at 02:00 – and another headache meant that I decided to delay my run until the evening.

After spending most of the day faffing around and making packing lists, I got changed into some running gear and spent an enjoyable 30 minutes or so working through some stretches. My run was anything but tempo paced until I bumped into Ellen, the lady I ran the majority of the Lichfield 10k with last year. Although we only ran together for 15 minutes, it was great to have some company. Ellen definitely made me run faster than I probably would have done.

Friday – 40 mins cross training

Once again I found my 40 minute stair session physically and mentally challenging. The 40 minutes felt like forever, I nearly gave up after 10 minutes and during the final 20 minutes decided that I’d rather be outside running. I had a bit of an injury scare when my right knee started to make a slightly dodgy creaking noise after 20 minutes. I think that I also I managed to break the bottom step. Next week, I’m going to spend the 40 minutes doing something a little more enjoyable.

I was feeling a bit miserable about my niggly knee when I received a text message from my mentor that put everything into perspective. I can’t go into details, but his text prompted me to make an appointment to hopefully give blood on Wednesday.

Saturday – 30 mins speed work

My first attempt at my weekly 30 minute speed work session lasted less than 10 seconds. Even though it didn’t look very cold outside, the pavements were icy and I nearly slipped over a couple of times. I decided to postpone my run for a couple of hours.  Collage 10My second attempt was a little more successful. Following the advice of my running coach, I used my Garmin as a stopwatch rather than as a GPS. I jogged for 5 minutes to get my legs warmed up and then started my Fartlek session. Running ‘naked’ helped take the pressure off and I worked out that I ran approximately 3 miles in 30 minutes, a definite improvement on last week’s rather sluggish speed work session.

Sunday – 1 mile hobble

I made the difficult decision to abandon my 6 mile long run after less than a mile. My right knee felt quite painful and I was aware that I was running like a wonky donkey. I didn’t want my knee niggle to turn into an injury, so I hobbled back home feeling sorry for myself. Once I’d stopped sulking about my aborted run, I spent the rest of the day making packing lists and stressing out about my new job.

So that’s week four of my Cambridge Half Marathon training not completed. That means I’ve only got a house move, a new job, some niggles and another 8 weeks to negotiate.

The fifth week of my half marathon training plan contains four runs and one cross-training session. I’ve got to somehow complete an easy run lasting 40 minutes tomorrow, a 30 minute tempo run on Wednesday, a 30 minute speed work session on Saturday – I’d love to make it to Walsall Arboretum parkrun one last time before I move, and a slightly longer 8 mile run on Sunday. Today and Thursday will be my much needed rest and recovery days, and I suspect that as my friend is away, I’ll be walking up and down the stairs at home for 40 minutes on Friday. I suspect that this cross-training session will be more challenging than some of my mid week training runs.

Training totals

  • Runs: 11
  • Time: 6 hours 44 mins
  • Distance: 37.58 miles


  • Right heel: 2/10
  • Right knee: 7/10
  • Left foot: 4/10
  • Calf muscles: 4/10

Not a running related question, but do you have any tips for coping with life related stresses? At the moment I’m getting myself really worked up about my new job.

Do you ever run without your GPS at home? I’m starting to suspect that I run better without my Garmin.  


10 thoughts on “Cambridge Half Marathon training week 4

  1. AnnaTheApple says:

    The stair session sounds really tough! I struggle to do things like that unless I’m watching something on my phone or listening to music/poscasts! Well done!
    No advice I’m afraid asides from taking your mind off it with a book? Or something that you enjoy and quietens your mind. Conversely something I find thinking it through in lots of detail can help. Like mentally exploring all the possibilities and bad things that could happen and finding solutions to them if they were to happen so you know you’re covered for anything. Hope you’re ok!


    • Emma says:

      The stair session is definitely tougher than running. I do play music on my computer which helps. It’s just a shame it makes my dodgy knee play up. If I had room and wasn’t about to move, I’d treat myself to some sort of exercise bike. After seeing the room/house, I know that (a) I want to find somewhere better ASAP as there is no living room and (b) I’ll be hiding away in my room most evenings. I’ve packed loads of books to read and will take my old laptop so I can blog/watch TV. I’ve done so much over-thinking I’ve worn myself out. I’m such a muppet, I’m more worried about where I’ll be living than the actual job.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Laura @ Laura : Fat to Fit says:

    Stairs session sounds tough but I bet good for cross training. Hope the niggles are nothing more than niggles sounds like you’re doing the right things by easing back slightly rather than getting injured. Reading/colouring or journalling always helps to take my mind off things.


    • Emma says:

      Thanks Laura, the stair session is tough. Although it’s good for cross training, I’m a little concerned my knee always starts to niggle half way through. I’m definitely keeping a close eye on my niggles, I don’t want to end up with yet another ‘proper’ injury. I hadn’t thought about colouring so thanks for the tip. I might treat myself to the cats colouring book I spotted when I was shopping last week. At the moment I’ve made sure I’ve packed loads of books, I’ll also be taking my old laptop so that I can blog.


  3. Maria @ Maria Runs says:

    You did well to go out again after the pavements were so slippery first thing- there seems to have been loads of ice recently so a lot of my runs have been rather gentle as I have not wanted to slip on the ice.
    Good luck with the move. I’m not the best at dealing with stress (I’ve been called a duck because although I may appear calm, under the surface I am frantically paddling away)- lists help me a lot because otherwise I spend a lot of time worrying I have forgotten. But also to put something in perspective, I think “will this matter in a year’s time?” and if it won’t, then I try not to worry about it.


    • Emma says:

      I’m just back from another slightly slippery run; the pavements were fine in some places but really dodgy in others. I almost slipped over a couple of times. I really hope we are nearing the end of the icy conditions.
      I’ve reached the conclusion that I’m not good at dealing with ‘change’ at all. I’ve got so much respect for people who relocate to another country, I’m struggling to move less than 100 miles away. Even driving down to Wallingford on Monday triggered a mini panic attack. I suspect I’ll travel home to Four Oaks most weekends to start with. I’ve started making lists.
      I like the idea of thinking “Will this matter in a year’s time?”, thanks for the tip. As I’ll have come to the end of my temporary contract, probably not!


  4. pursuingtheprocess says:

    Hope you’re feeling a bit better now; stress is nasty at the best of times.

    Dealing with it may entail anything that helps you feel relaxed; reading, walking, running a bath – these acts of kindness can help you wind down. Meditation could be what you need, also.

    Keep up the hard training for your run and good luck – you got this.


    • Emma says:

      Thanks for the really helpful relaxation tips. Unfortunately, I’m still feeling stressed. I think I’ll feel a bit better when I hopefully finally get everything on my ‘must buy’ list tomorrow. I’ve never tried meditation but have heard it can be helpful.
      I really hope that I have got this!


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