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.
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