Cambridge Half Marathon training week 5

I hope that everyone had a great weekend. Mine was a little frantic at times. Thanks for all of your tips on dealing with life related stresses. When this post is published, I should be about an hour into my new job. I’ve decided to include some of my favourite photos of Four Oaks to remind me of home.Collage 11Following a slightly stressful return trip to Wallingford on Monday, week five of my Cambridge Half training saw me complete an easy 40 minute run on Wednesday evening, a 30 minute tempo run late on Thursday and a 30 minute speed session on Saturday morning. For various reasons, I completely missed my longer 8 mile yesterday. Once again, I found myself walking up and down the stairs at home for 40 minutes on Friday.

So how did my dodgy calf muscles and niggly left foot cope during week five of my half marathon training?

Monday – Rest

Monday was restful but quite draining. My friend very kindly drove me down to Wallingford to check out the room I’ll be renting to start with. For some reason I felt shattered when I got back home. So back to the room. I don’t want to say too much, but although the house is in a great location, there is no shared living room and the room itself was a little disappointing. At least I’ll have more time for reading and blogging.

Tuesday – Rest

Like last Tuesday, I woke up really incredibly gloomy. I’ve said it numerous times but I spend far too much time comparing myself to others. I lay in bed thinking about how little I’ve achieved for someone who is rapidly approaching 40. Most of my contemporaries own their own house, are married with kids and have successful careers. I failed as an academic, and have a PhD not worth the paper it’s printed on. I spent most of the day looking back on all of my career and personal mistakes and worrying about my finances.Collage 12Needless to say, what should have been a head clearing easy 40 minute run turned into another rest day. I know that I always feel better after a run but for some reason, couldn’t force myself out of the door. Sometimes I really don’t help myself.

Wednesday – 40 mins easy

Although I woke up incredibly sorry for myself, again – so much for my New Year’s resolution to be more positive – a text message from my mentor Geoff put everything into perspective. My life may be a filled with uncertainties at the moment, my left foot may be a bit niggly, but I’m reasonably fit and healthy. I spent most of the day writing list after list and wearing out the washing machine. I decided that while I’m not exactly looking forward to leaving Four Oaks, I can make sure that I remember to take everything I need with me to Wallingford.

After a reasonably productive day, I headed out on my 40 minute easy run just after 20:00. Once again, my calf muscles felt a little tight and niggly to start with, but felt okay when I’d been plodding along for a few minutes. I think I actually managed to run at an ‘easy’ pace for the first time in ages. I started off slowly and resisted the temptation to speed up. I felt great when I got home.

Thursday – 30 mins tempo

I had originally planned to get my 30 minute tempo run done and dusted before 08:00. However, limited sleep due to the combination of restless legs, an incredibly achy left foot and some epic over-thinking meant that I completely slept through my alarm clock. After spending most of the day trying and failing to finish my discharge-rich paper, I headed across Birmingham to collect a couple of papers from the university library.Collage 13The train home was full of people returning from a concert. The slightly drunken singing was entertaining to start with, but got a little irritating after 30 minutes. I walked home, changed into some running gear and headed out the door. My 30 minute tempo run was completely pain-free and felt amazing. I sometimes wonder if running at an easy pace doesn’t suit my slightly lanky legs.

Friday – 40 mins cross training

Last week, I vowed to find a more enjoyable alternative to my usual 40 minute stair session. As I don’t think shopping counts as cross-training, I found myself plodding up and down the stairs at home for 40 minutes on Friday afternoon. I suspect that I’ll have to completely abandon my weekly cross-training session next week. At the moment I’m aiming to leave Wallingford early on Friday afternoon so that I can catch the 17:00ish train from Oxford.

Saturday – 30 mins speed work

Following the advice of my running coach, I decided to use my Garmin as a stopwatch rather than as a GPS for the third week in a row. As the top of my left foot wasn’t feeling great, I decided to jog for 10 minutes to get my injury-prone feet and legs warmed-up. The second I started jogging my left foot stopped hurting, I sometimes wonder if some of my niggles are all in my mind. Although my 30 minute Fartlek session felt like hard work, when I got home I quickly realised that I ran further during my 30 minute tempo session on Thursday night. Another speed work session fail.

I spent the rest of the day ironing, packing, buying some last minute bits and pieces, stressing, crying, researching train and bus times and generally getting myself completely worked up. Rather than making the most of my last full day in Four Oaks, I’m so pathetic I kept on thinking ‘this time tomorrow I’ll be on my way to Wallingford’ and ‘this time tomorrow I’ll be in Wallingford’. And I wonder why I started to go grey when I was 16! At least I remembered to map out a route for my 8 mile longer run.

Sunday – 8 miles long run

Predictably, I got zero sleep and lay awake all night stressing myself out about the new job. Most people would see starting a new job and getting their foot back on the career ladder as a major positive, I could only focus on the negatives. I’m all too aware that if I don’t at least start this job, I’ll be letting a lot of people down, especially my mentor Geoff. However, I’m also scared that I’ll fail, again.

So that’s week five of my half marathon training not completed. As I’ll be adapting to working 9-5 for the first time in years and living in a new town, I’m not sure how I’ll find the sixth week of training. I just hope that there are a few street lights in Wallingford!

Week six of my half marathon training plan starts with a rest day, this is probably a good thing as I have no doubt I’ll be feeling tired after starting my new job. I’ve then got to complete an easy 45 minute run around an area I’m completely unfamiliar with – at the moment I’m checking out roads with streetlights on Google maps, a 30 minute tempo run on Wednesday, a 40 minute speed work session on Saturday and a slightly longer 8 mile run on Sunday. It will be good to reach the half-way stage of my training.

At the moment I’m planning on returning home on Friday afternoon, so although I may have to forfeit the weekly cross-training session, weather permitting I’ll be able to do a couple of runs in Four Oaks.

Training totals

  • Runs: 14
  • Time: 8 hours 24 mins
  • Distance: 46.96 miles


  • Right heel: 2/10
  • Right knee: 3/10
  • Left foot: 6/10
  • Calf muscles: 3/10

15 thoughts on “Cambridge Half Marathon training week 5

  1. jancanrun says:

    Hi Emma, this is the first post I’ve read of yours. First off congrats on doing the training for the half marathon, secondly well done on getting a new job near to Wallingford – it is a lovely part of the country. I learned to run at the old age of 56, by using the Couch to 5K plan and the associated forum. And the first lesson was there’s no such thing as a fail/failure. It is sad to read you describe yourself as one, and as someone who has little between the ears a PhD sounds an amazing achievement to me. I do hope this new job, gives you some encouragement and well done on thinking of your running routes in your new environment. I wish you all the best in your new world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Emma says:

      Thanks for taking the time to read my blog Jancanrun, I’ve given your blog a follow so I’ll be updated whenever you post. Congratulations on completing the Couch to 5k plan, I’ve completed it a couple of times and found it a great introduction to running. Wallingford is in a lovely part of the country and I enjoy walking over the River Thames on the way to the office. I suspect the only factor stopping me feeling more enthusiastic about the new job is the cost of living in Wallingford. Unfortunately, my failures as an academic combined with the fact I feel that I’m back at the bottom of the career ladder means that I do feel like a failure. Hopefully, working again will make me feel more positive about myself.


      • jancanrun says:

        Hi Emma, Iovely to meet you. Good luck on your new role and your new place. Agreed Wallingford not the cheapest part of the world at all. But it is a lovely place and hopefully will soothe your worries and fears. And I do hope you get back some happiness and satisfaction in your work. I’m at the other end of the working life and retired early after some personal and work issues. With the rather dubious benefit of age and hindsight, I now think it is not what we’ve done that counts, more how we went about doing it. And whilst my career ended in a way I wouldn’t have wished, I now think I left my job, my way. Since then, I have health both mental and physical, a supportive husband and a life that encompasses good solid friends. So I hope that you are finding your new way. I will follow you and watch and see how you get on. Btw I wimped out of running today migraine and rain not a good combo!


  2. Maria @ Maria Runs says:

    I hope the new job started well- it is totally natural to be worried about a big change like this, and about starting a new job anyway.
    If you need new routes, you could look on strava as lots of people keep their profiles public so you can see the sorts of routes that are possible-(eg look at the flybys and you can see their routes usually).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Emma says:

      Once I’d tracked down the rest of my team on Monday morning, the new job started well. I suspect it’s going to take me a bit of time to get out of ‘academic mode’ and back into working mode, but I’m sure I’ll feel more confident after a couple of months. Thanks for the Strava tip. I’ve found a couple of potential routes and will need to dig out my head torch.


  3. AnnaTheApple says:

    Absolutely normal to feel stressed about a) moving and b) starting a new job. HUGE life changing events. Don’t beat yourself up about getting worked up over it. You’re fully allowed to. Cry, stomp your feet, scream and shout and let it all out. I know I did! Moving back home to my parents was a huge stress (and still is at times) – but you get through it. You’re a strong lady – I know you don’t think you are – but you can do this. Hope it goes well. Focus on the good stuff you can control.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Emma says:

      Thanks Anna. I’ve definitely done a fair amount of crying this week. The actual job itself is fine and Wallingford is very nice but incredibly expensive. It’s very much a case of London prices without a London wage. Unfortunately, where I’m living at the moment is not so great. Hopefully, I’ll find somewhere a better i.e. a house with a living room and somewhere I can actually chill out after work. At the moment I get home from work, make myself something to eat, chat to my housemates (if they are around, most evenings they aren’t) and then spend all night in my room.


    • Emma says:

      Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, I’ve given your blog a follow so I’ll be updated whenever you post. Cambridge does seem to sell out really quickly. I would definitely recommend pre-registering on the site so you can enter before entries go on general sale. The new job seems to be going well at the moment.


  4. AJ says:

    I also have those times of feeling like a failure as I’m in my late thirties and am not married or have kids, etc. I usually use my running to get myself back to a better mental space. I hope your new town has a nice place for you to run!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Emma says:

      Thanks for reading and for commenting on my blog AJ. I’m sorry you also have times of feeling like a failure. It’s not a great feeling! Although I’ve been feeling slightly more positive since starting my new job last month, it only takes one negative comment from a family member to make me feel like I’m a failure. The latest area I’ve failed in is buying a house; apparently now that I’m working I should be getting myself on the property ladder ASAP. Wallingford isn’t great for running but I’ll be able to run along the Thames when it gets lighter in the evenings.

      Liked by 1 person

      • AJ says:

        Ugh I know that feeling! I bought a small condo years ago, but I’ll never be able to upgrade to anything bigger around here on my own. If I have to go to one more house warming of a beautiful big place,I might crack!
        I’m hoping for some morning light soon so that I can get back to running before work. Running along the Thames sounds lovely compared to my sidewalk run🤣


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