Royal Parks Half Marathon training week 3

I hope that everyone had a great weekend, after spending all of last week in a far too warm office; I personally really appreciated the slightly cooler weather. I have a feeling that when this post is published, I’ll be experiencing a dose of Monday morning office related blues.Collage 10The third week of my half marathon training plan suggested that I completed an easy 30 minute jog on Monday, a steady 50 minute run on Thursday, a 20-25 minute speed session on Friday and a slightly longer 70-75 minute run on Sunday at a comfortable pace. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday were meant to be rest days.

So how did I cope during the third week of my half marathon training? Did I manage to motivate myself to run after work? Did the mini heatwave on Monday have an impact? Did I complete all my training runs? Did I end the week injury free?

Monday – 30 mins easy jog

Before I talk about Monday, I need to rewind slightly to Sunday evening. After a slightly lengthy journey to Wallingford, I reached my house at 21:30, opened my bedroom door and discovered that my bedroom had been converted into a sauna. Seriously, it was so hot in there; I knew I’d struggle to get any much sleep. After spending what felt like all night trying to sleep, I woke up at 07:00 feeling shattered.

My first day back in the office was difficult. There’d been a desk move, I struggled to remember my password – luckily I wasn’t locked out after more than three incorrect attempts – and I had over 350 emails to wade through. I just about managed to get through my first day back without getting too stressed out. It was so hot during the walk back to my shared house, I decided to postpone my run until it got a little cooler.Collage 11After spending two hours catching up on emails and Casualty, I rather reluctantly got changed into my running gear, did some stretches and headed outside. It still felt pretty toasty so I started my run at a sensible pace. I’ve no idea why, but I decided to increase my pace. I felt great until the heat and humidity hit me and I wanted to stop. I think it’s safe to say the final 10 minutes of my run were anything but enjoyable. It took me about an hour to feel well enough to have a shower and to get ready for bed.

Tuesday – Rest

I definitely needed a rest day. By Tuesday afternoon, I was feeling mentally and physically exhausted. I emailed my mentor Geoff’s ex PA and unfortunately received some not so positive news. The post work pint (of coke) and meal with a colleague was just what this doctor ordered.

Wednesday – Rest

I had a bit of a scare midway through my morning walk into the office. I’ve no idea why, but my injury-prone right knee suddenly felt incredibly painful. Fortunately, it only lasted for a couple of seconds and Wednesday was a rest day.

The rest of the day went something like this; work, lunch break, work, afternoon snack, more work, walk home after work, nap, TV, shower and then bed. Not very exciting or blog worthy, but I suspect this is the reality for most people who work in an office 9-5.

Thursday – Relaxed run walk run with a colleague

Thursday was not a great day. The office was busy and I found the noise a touch overwhelming at times. Even listening to music didn’t help to drown out the noise. I’ve no idea how people manage to concentrate in large, open plan offices as I really seem to struggle. I escaped at a reasonable time and walked back to my shared house alone. Much as I enjoy walking back with my colleagues, I needed some peace and quiet and some time on my own.

I should have completed a 50 minute steady run, but made the decision to support a colleague who is just getting back into running on a run walk run session. I felt that missing one 50 minute training session would be acceptable, I also wanted to give my slightly niggly right knee a rest. If run walk run is good enough for Jeff Galloway, it’s good enough for me. There was more walking, and talking than running, but I really enjoyed our run along the River Thames and back into Wallingford.

Friday – Rest

My Friday was peaceful and productive to start with because I was quite literally the only person in from my team. I felt sorry for my two colleagues out doing fieldwork because the rain before lunch was quite epic. I got soaked walking the short distance to and from the canteen. Thanks to the wonders of flexible working, I left the office at 15:00 and arrived back home in Four Oaks three hours later. The training plan said “20-25 minutes speed session”, my head said “Chinese takeaway”. I’m a little ashamed to say that I let my head win and the speed session didn’t take place.

Although my Friday evening was quite dull, I enjoyed chilling out watching the athletics on the TV. I was thrilled to see local athlete Matthew Hudson-Smith grab gold in the 400m. I also loved watching KJT win silver in the heptathlon. How athletes can be virtually world-class in seven different events is a mystery to me. It’s so impressive. Once the athletics finished, I plucked up the courage to send an email to my mentor Geoff.

Saturday – Rest

As I lay in bed experiencing parkrun #FOMO, I reminded myself that Sutton Park parkrun is due to start next week. Although the course is so challenging there’s a danger it’ll take me longer than 30 minutes to complete the 5k, I’m going to make sure I attend the inaugural event.

My Saturday was productive but boring; I’m sure that other people have far more exciting weekends. Following a music lesson, I spent a couple of hours doing some presentation preparation for the hydrology conference I’m attending next month. I made myself iron my work clothes, picked loads of blackberries for mum, and then treated myself to an afternoon nap.

Once I’d tracked down my running coat and worked out where I was going to run, I spent the majority of the evening chilling out, watching the athletics. Dina Asher-Smith was amazing and Jakob Ingebrigsten completely blew my mind. How can someone be so talented at 17 years old?

Sunday – Rest

I’m a little ashamed to report that I didn’t even attempt my long run. After a terrible night – I hate the way I over think virtually everything – my alarm woke me at 05:00, I debated running, decided I didn’t feel like running for over an hour, and went back to sleep. I woke up again a couple of hours later feeling incredibly guilty.

Mum picked me up and we headed to the Chase Farm Cafe for a late breakfast – I opted for the Farmers Breakfast which tasted amazing but was a little small for what it cost. Sunday afternoon was a little soggy – we needed the rain – so I spent the time I had left catching up on some paperwork (and Holby City) before packing my gear together for the journey back down to Wallingford.  Collage 12So that’s the third week of my half marathon training not completed. I must do better this week. I need to sort my head out, at the moment I’m letting myself, my sponsors and Geoff down.

Week four of my half marathon training plan contains four runs. As I want to complete the inaugural Sutton Park parkrun, I might end up running five times if I squeeze in a run when I get home from work on Friday. I’ve got to complete a steady 45 minute run tomorrow, an hour long easy run on Wednesday, a steady 45 minute run on Friday and a longer 80 minute run at a comfortable pace on Sunday. I have a feeling that the reality will look slightly different.

Training totals

  • Runs: 9
  • Time: 6 hours 10 mins
  • Distance: 36.44 miles

Fundraising total

  • £300 (+£25 from last week)


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

How do you bounce back from a not so successful week? If I don’t get my arse into gear next week, I may as well DNS the half marathon in October.

Do you watch much sport on the TV? I’m going to miss the athletics; there have been some amazing performances.


7 thoughts on “Royal Parks Half Marathon training week 3

  1. Maria @ Maria Runs says:

    I’ve loved watching the athletics too- it’s been so exciting (although I think I did end up having a little sleep in front of the triathlon last week!).
    I think if you miss a few runs, don’t stress- that all or nothing mentality is the bad one to be in because then one small set back will stop it, whereas in reality if you miss a few runs here or there but most of your training has still taken place, then you’ll be fine on race day. Draw a line under it and move on to the next week.
    How exciting that you are getting a parkrun closer to you 🙂


    • Emma says:

      I only watched the athletics and a tiny bit of a cycling road race, I didn’t see the triathlon. I must admit I found the marathon coverage quite dull at times.
      I need to keep reminding myself I’m not going to instantly lose my fitness if I miss a few runs. I have a feeling I’ll be missing a couple more this week.
      After a lot of false starts – we nearly got one setup back in 2010/11 – I can’t wait to try out the Sutton Park parkrun route. I’ve heard it’s quite challenging.


  2. Anna Smith-James (@AnnaTheApple88) says:

    I haven’t watched any of the athletics… I just haven’t been lured into it really. Though I did see a clip of the girl who got the nosebleed during the marathon!
    Don’t worry about some missed sessions. They’re bumps in the long road of the grand scheme of things. Sounds like you made solid choices when you really weren’t up for it.


    • Emma says:

      The lady with the nosebleed was seriously impressive. I’m pretty sure I’d stop running if blood started pouring out of my nose. I can’t believe she went on to win the gold medal.
      I have a feeling there are going to be quite a few more bumps in the road.


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