Saturday, January 28, 2017

Pittsburgh Marathon Training: Week 3

After 5 and a half months, I'm beginning to think that the lack of sleep from having a little human in the house is starting to catch up to me.  And if I wasn't entirely convinced of this fact, this week's workouts confirmed it.  I am getting a lot of practice, though, running on tired legs!

Monday: 3 Miles - To put it bluntly, the week didn't start well.  Though I had the day off from work, sleeping in just wasn't in the cards.  When the little one is loving life and all smiles, spending time with her trumps the extra shut-eye.  When I finally hit the road, my legs felt like lead; each step was clumsy as a stomped along the route. The impact that quality sleep has on running became painfully clear.  I was definitely glad that the mileage for the day was so short.

Tuesday: 6 Miles -Even as I began this run, I knew that my legs hadn't fully recovered from the previous day's suffer-fest.  I intentionally slowed myself way down figuring that 6 miles was the same distance whether I was going at 8:45/mile pace or 9:30.  While the ache in my legs was still present, it wasn't unbearable.  I figure things could always be a lot worse.

Wednesday: 3 Miles - It would seem treadmill runs are starting to become a staple in my workout regimen.  In having learned my lesson from the previous week, the iPad made its appearance to keep me distracted for the short distance.  Now if only I could figure out why the distance reported on my treadmill and foot pod is so off from my watch....

Thursday: Cross-training - Many moons ago, I downloaded the Nike+ Training app in the hope it would motivate me to take cross-training seriously.  Well, with slight trepidation at what I was about to get myself in to, I started my first workout that seemed like it would compliment running well.  Wow, am I out of shape!  In having zero upper body strength, any of the exercises that didn't involve my legs were performed with the finesse of a fish out of water.  At the same time, we all have to start somewhere, right?

Friday: 6 Miles - In finally getting around to reading the fine print for my training plan, I realized that the word "pace"appearing next to the Friday workouts meant that these runs were to be done at marathon speed.  In not really having an exact pace in mind yet, I decided to go the route of using last year's race pace.  As I would come to discover, not doing speedwork for several months does make jumping back into it a little challenging.  I think I may revisit some of those time prediction calculators to see if they can offer a better guesstimate as to what I should be running.

Saturday: 8 Miles - Before heading out of my run yesterday, I made a trip to my favorite local running store, Up-N-Running.  I've been going to them for my shoes since I was in high school and I was in desperate need of a new pair.  While I was picking up the newest version of my shoe, the Brooks Ravenna 8, the owner, Ed, invited me to join them the following morning to take part in their group run.  Though a little hesitant, I took the plunge into trying something new...and I loved it!  As the newbie, I was introduced to everyone, which went a long way to making me feel welcome.  Then, once everyone seemed ready, we headed out into amazing weather.  Great conversation made the run even better as the miles glided by.  To top it off, someone had made chocolate chip cookies - what better way to finish a workout?!  I'm thinking this may become my new Saturday routine.

Sunday: Rest Day

I feel like this week has served as a great reminder that while not all endeavors may begin as desired, change for the better is still possible.  I'm really looking forward to hitting the road with Up-N-Running in the coming weeks as the mileage climbs and the heart of training season approaches.

Happy running!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Pittsburgh Marathon Training: Week 2

With the second week of training for the Pittsburgh Marathon underway, I would say it was "non-traditional."  Each run was a bit different keeping things interesting.

Monday: 3 Miles - Between the baby not being in the best of moods and the roads developing a nice layer of ice, I decided to take my run to the treadmill.  While the workout wasn't terrible, I did realize that listening to a podcast just doesn't serve as a big enough distraction compared to watching a show on the iPad.  What would we do without technology?!

Tuesday: 4.7 Miles - Most people when sick decide to lay low until things get better.  Runners, on the other hand, don't always think clearly in these types of situations.  Setting out on my workout, my stomach wasn't feeling so hot.  And, of course, the pain reached its climax when I was at the farthest point in my run  The remainder of the miles thus became speed work in a mad dash for home.  This was made especially exciting by a number of black ice patches.

Wednesday: 3.3 Miles - I felt much better today even choosing to make up the portion of the previous run I hadn't completed.  The ice had also finished melting lowering the risk of injury to just the occasional speeding car.

Thursday: Rest Day

Friday: 5 Miles - With the sun shining, the chilly weather didn't seem so bad.  I decided to take the miles easy so I could enjoy the elusive vitamin D and keep my heart rate in recovery mode.  I also realized today while looking at my training plan that the next many Friday miles will be at marathon pace - yikes!

Saturday: 11 Miles - I joined up with Steel City Road Runners for the workout prior to the Pittsburgh Marathon Injury Prevention workshop.  Having never run through the Shadyside neighborhood of the city, it was nice to explore somewhere new.  I also got the chance to go past one of my favorite places in the city - Phipps Conservatory.  Even though I couldn't see the flowers, it's always a welcome sight.

Sunday: Rest Day

As I finish up this week of training, the routine is starting to set in.  I'm also being reminded of the sheer amount of food I crave when making my way to 26.2.  It's probably not good that I'm making up the extra calories with chocolate-covered pretzels....

Happy running!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Pittsburgh Marathon Training: Week 1

The first week of training for the Pittsburgh Marathon has arrived!  Going into the week, I'm actually feeling more confident compared to my past races.  I know that my base is pretty solid setting the stage for a good foundation to build on over the next 18 weeks.  Now to just avoid the injury bug....

Monday: 3 Miles - While I would love to say that things got off to a great start in my marathon training, my own laziness sabotaged this run.  Or more specifically, how I concluded my last workout two days prior caused me issues today.  When I either join in a group run or if the weather is just blah, I tend to short-change my post-workout stretching.  What inevitably follows is excruciatingly tight muscles the next time I lace up and hit the road.  I'm pretty sure my different leg muscles were competing with each other for who could be the most knotted and tense; for the record, the shins won.  To atone for breaking one of the basic commandments of running, I did a little extra yoga and foam-rolling to see if I could coax my body into feeling better for my next workout.

Tuesday: 5 Miles - It would seem that the running gods were still miffed with me and thought that some rain would be in order as additional retribution.  The miles ticked by slowly as the steady cold droplets soaked my gloves and any exposed skin.  My coat also somehow kept tapping the lap button on my Garmin making for some bizarre splits (100 feet anyone?).  I figure runs like this are not so much about getting miles on my feet as building the mental toughness to push through the hard times.

Wednesday: 3 Miles - Something odd happens when I run several days in a row - my runs get better!  Though I would expect tired legs to plague workouts that are several days removed from the last rest day, I instead feel limber and energized.  These miles today just felt great.  If more of my training runs follow this pattern, it's going to be a good cycle.

Thursday: Rest Day

Friday: 5 Miles - Up until today, the weather has been unseasonably warm.  Now, it's not as amazing as last year when I was wearing a shirt and shorts for my Christmas Day run, but it's not too far removed from that.  So in order to make up for the decent temps, a cold front decided to pay a visit but was nice enough to at least provide some sunshine.  So bundled up, I ventured into the frozen frontier (okay, it wasn't that bad) knowing the reality that more of my runs than not would probably be in these conditions.

Saturday: 10 Miles - Along with my friend Mike, I decided to do my long run for the week at the Pittsburgh Marathon Training Kick-off, where I would do 8 miles with the group and then my two additional afterward.  While the weather was even colder than the day before, the appeal to get free stuff and explore the city on a quiet Saturday morning was just too good to pass by.  After giving some thought to it, I decided to join up with the 9:00/mile pace group in knowing the chilliness would slow my down.  For the first four miles, we trotted along with the occasional quick-stepping over icy patches.  As we looped back past the Steel City Road Runners Garage, I noticed that the 8:30/mile group was getting ready to head back out after taking a short break.  Feeling warmed up and ready for a little more speed, I jumped into this new pace.  It definitely hit the spot for what my legs were craving!  I finished the workout strong ready for more great Saturday long runs.

Sunday: Rest Day

While the week may not have started in the way I would have liked, I'd say it concluded pretty well.  And as I make my way through the workouts ahead, I'm going to try my best to be grateful for the miles regardless of how they turn out.  I'm hoping this attitude helps me to keep things in perspective and remember that I don't hit the pavement for the PR or medal, but the love of the run.

Happy running!

Thinking of signing up for the Pittsburgh Marathon?  Use discount code FOX17 to save $10 on either the half or full registration!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Tuesdays on the Run: New Year, New Training Cycle

If you haven't realized by now following the sheer bombardment of New Year tweets and resolution declarations, 2017 has arrived in all its glory.  For some, the start of another year signals renewed commitments to healthier lifestyles.  For others, January marks the opportunity to leave the past in the past and begin anew.  And for the crazy ones of us out there, this first week of the new year commemorates the beginning of spring marathon training - woohoo!

It's hard to believe that in 18 weeks I'll be towing the line on Liberty Avenue with 26.2 miles ahead of me.  Back when I signed up for the Pittsburgh Marathon in August, the experience felt so far in the future.  But, as each week ticked by, the excitement for this new adventure mounted.  I knew with each workout I was building a solid base that would have me in the right place when training began.  That's not to say I didn't hatch many a Pokemon during my runs...

Now, while I enjoyed running just for the love of it these past few weeks, I do feel more comfortable with training plans.  They give exact instructions and structure to each workout speaking to my organization-loving inner teacher.  The challenge I always find, though, is determining what of the plethora of available plans fits my goals/ability-level/flexibility/propensity to avoid speed work/etc.  While I would love to have a coach, the budget with the wee one in the house just won't allow it.  I also don't have enough experience and knowledge-base to design my own plan (but may try some day).  Up to this point, I have tried both Nike and Runner's World for plans having found both to possess strengths as well as shortcomings.  Wanting something new, I scoured the webpages of my running club (Steel City Road Runners) for its guidance.  Lo and behold, I was pointed in the direction of Hal Hidgon, whose plans I had heard of but never investigated.  After doing a short comparison between his novice and intermediate plans, I found the latter to be more in line with my base and experience.  I saved the link to the Intermediate 2 page knowing I'd be revisiting it many times over the next several weeks.

And so it begins!  Over the next 18 weeks, I'll be posting my progress so you can follow along for the trials and tribulations of marathon training.  Many lessons will be learned, including a few more than once.  By writing the outcome of each workout, I'm hoping to form the habit of reflecting on my runs and get a little more out of the training than just sore legs.  With that, it's time to buckle down and get ready for the fun.

Happy running!

Thinking of signing up for the Pittsburgh Marathon?  Use discount code FOX17 to save $10 on either the half or full registration!

I'm joining PattyErika, and Marcia for this week's Tuesdays on the Run.