Monday, February 29, 2016

Pittsburgh Half Marathon Training: Week 3

In some ways, I still cannot wrap my brain around the fact that I am a fourth of the way through my training and the Pittsburgh Half Marathon is only two months away.  Yikes!  However, with all that in mind, I think things have been going well.

Monday: Rest Day - In having gone on a run with Mike the day before (see last week's training recap), I moved the miles planned for this day to the previous.  I instead went on a nice walk with my wife.

Tuesday: Rest Day

Wednesday: 5 Miles - The plan for this day had been 4 miles, but in thinking ahead and looking at the forecast (snowy and colder), I figured I was better off getting in the extra distance early.  The workout itself was a little odd primarily due to the weather.  I began in torrential downpours, but finished with a clear blue sky.  Oh the unpredictability of weather!

Thursday: 4 Miles - Well, the weather I knew was going to hit during this workout in fact did.  An added bonus to the cold and snow was the arrive of some intense gusts of wind.  In being anything but aerodynamic due to the number of layers I was wearing, the need for extra effort was a given.  However, the run was pretty decent - I survived and felt I had accomplished something good.  In all honesty though, I am definitely looking forward to spring!

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 7 Miles - This is a number I haven't seen in a while!  When I saw on my training plan that I was approaching this distance, I was getting excited.  My long-run days were beginning to distinguish themselves from my traditional base miles.  The only hesitation I had approaching this run was the fact that I would be at a conference with my students and, in previewing the schedule for the weekend, saw little time to squeeze it in.  I accepted the realization that I would have to run in the morning prior to breakfast after a night in which sleep would be a luxury.  However, things turned out way for the better!  Friday night, one of my students, who knows I'm a runner, made a joke to me about going for a run the next day.  When I responded in sincerity that I was planning to get in 7 miles, two of the students asked if they could join me.  It was one of those rare opportunities as a teacher to interact with students in more than just a classroom setting.  While the one student only made it one mile (for which I am very proud of him!), the other, who is actually a cross country runner, kept pace with me the entire time.  We found some great trails around the retreat center and had some good conversation about running and life.  I would call it an extremely successful workout!

Training has been progressing well with only the occasional ache or pain (mainly in my shins and calves).  I'm actually looking forward to longer runs while I await the arrival of milder temperatures and less layering.

Happy Running!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Pittsburgh Half Marathon Training: Week 2

The second week of training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon got off to a rocky start, but ended on a high note.  All is well that ends well, I guess!

Monday: 4 Miles - It would seem that my legs had a case of the "Mondays" during this run.  I could not find the rhythm for my cadence and was more stomping along than actually running.  It wasn't until I was nearing the end of my workout that I realized why I felt so sluggish - all the slushy snow I was trudging through was sticking to my shoes.  It surprisingly added a decent amount of weight!  I also made a fatal mistake from the get-go in my run - I let my watch dictate my pace.  I started too hard and couldn't get myself back on track.

Tuesday: Rest Day

Wednesday: 3 Miles - Those "blah" feelings in my legs from Monday's run held on through these miles.  In between various meetings, I only had about 45 minutes to warm up, complete the run, and then cool down.  As is usually the case when I am crunched for time, I abridged the pre- and post-running activities so I could achieve my distance goal.  While I can get away with this strategy on occasion, I was definitely hurting during the workout, since I didn't account for the amount of effort needed to run through 2-3 inches of snow.  My legs were burning and the miles dragged.

Thursday: 4 Miles - For how poorly my runs had gone earlier in the week, this day made up for it.  The sun was shining, a good amount of the snow had melted away and things just clicked.  I cruised along my route enjoying the fresh air with a vitality in my legs that had been lacking previously.  It was a great day to be a runner!

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 5 Miles - I didn't think Thursday's run could be topped, but this day's workout did just that.  Spring decided to throw us a bone by bringing out a clear blue sky and temperatures in the 60's.  In not having to wear layers for the first time in a long time, I felt light on my feet as I trotted along.  It was just what I needed when I needed it.  If only every day could be this perfect!

Sunday: 4 Miles - While Sundays tend to be rest days, I made plans to run with my friend Mike.  To give you an idea of our friendship, he was the best man in my wedding and he will geek out with me saving my wife from having to entertain my nerdy side.  You can imagine how much fun we had during this workout!  Though slightly cooler than the day before, the sun was still shining away and great conversation and company is invaluable.

Week 2 is in the books and more great miles ahead!

Happy Running!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Pittsburgh Half Marathon Training: Week 1

The first week of training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon in some ways represented both the joys and challenges of running.  In some ways the weather couldn't make up it's mind, but that's Pittsburgh for ya (or should I say yinz)!

Monday: 3 Miles - This day began the official training cycle for this race.  I'd like to say things felt great, but the weather (cold and rainy) put me in a funk.  My legs just didn't want to move no matter how hard I pushed and every ache and pain seemed to flair up.  To top it off, when I attempted to sync my Milestone Pod, it had never recorded any of the run.  I was just hoping that this was not a foreshadowing of how the next 12 weeks of training would be.

Tuesday: Rest day

Wednesday: 4 Miles - The best way to describe how I felt during this run compared to Monday is somewhat akin to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  Though the weather had gotten colder, my body was more responsive and alive.  Even with a slight snow flurry blowing through around mile 2, I bounded along with ease.  But, like my prior run, my Milestone Pod didn't record this run either.

Thursday: 4 Miles - The trend of Wednesday's run carried over to Thursday.  The only challenge that I faced at this point was that the snow had continued overnight and into the next day leaving little room on the berm of the road to actually run.  Traversing through the few inches of powder and maintaining my balance made for a great workout.

Friday: Rest day - 30 minutes on the stationary bike during my planning period at school.  Figured I could do work just as well on that as at my desk!

Saturday: 4 Miles - Well, the weather decided to not play nice by dropping to -8 with windchill.  I had seen the possibility of this happening and just hoped that all the weather predictions were wrong.  No such luck!  I thus resorted to the treadmill letting Sherlock on Netflix distract me through the miles.

Sunday: Rest day

Overall, a good first week and only eleven more to go!

Happy running!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Let the Training Begin!

I am still in the process of wrapping my mind around the fact that it's actually the beginning of February.  The school year is flying by and the weather is taunting me with thoughts of spring.  With a month into the new year under my belt, it also signals the time for training to begin for my next big race - the Pittsburgh Half Marathon!

With this event only twelve weeks away, I'm definitely both anxious and excited to run around my hometown.  While at the Greensburg Half Marathon I had only ever driven past the starting area, this race will be one in which I have run the routes many times thus knowing the ups, downs, and curves of the road beforehand.  I wonder if this familiarity will be a benefit or hindrance; foreknowledge can be a nice resource, but the unknown can be a good motivator.

To help me keep track of my progress, I've decided to do a weekly training report.  In being someone who has tried and failed many times to journal my feelings in a notebook, I think that blogging about how each run goes will be cathartic, especially on the days when things don't go exactly as planned.  I'll also be forced to take the time to reflect on my workouts instead of just moving on to the next scheduled thing for the day - truly being in the moment.  I'm thinking only good can come from this daily activity!

Check back each Sunday as the chronicles of training unfold and we'll see where it takes us!

Happy Running!