Pittsburgh Marathon Training – Week 2

Another training week completed! It’s only Week 2, so very early in the training cycle but I’m feeling REALLY good! I know not every day or week will be perfect, so I will definitely take it while I can! We have been dealing with the cold temps off and on all winter, but this is the first time since real training started that I had to deal with the other side of winter – SNOW!  After realizing last week that I’m losing some of my hill fitness, I made it a point to make sure all of my runs were outside this week, and…Mission Accomplished! Running in the snow/slush/ice is definitely an adventure.  I finished with 23 miles for the week…still on the lower side, but I’m steadily increasing and feeling stronger every week!

Monday – Rest. After Monday being my rest day every day for almost the last 2 years, the Tall One has finally stopped asking me “Are you running today?”. I think he gets it. Maybe.  I worked on this week’s training schedule and on my blog post…Peanut supervised:

Keep working, slacker.

Keep working, slacker.

Tuesday – It has almost become habit to run my easy/recovery days first thing Tuesday morning on the treadmill. I decided to break that and run after work, outside, in the elements. It was beautiful outside – not too cold, with snow lightly falling…it just really made me happy to be out in the fresh air, doing something I love! The snow definitely makes you adjust your stride a bit, and I could feel my legs burning in spots that they usually don’t.  This would have been the perfect opportunity to try out Shaun’s trick of winterizing your running shoes. Except I don’t have an old pair that has enough miles left on them  – I try to get my money’s worth and run those bad boys  into the ground (literally) before getting new ones. 3 miles 33:26 (11:08 pace).


Wednesday – Strength. I switched up my routine a little and wasn’t really happy with a lot of the moves I selected. It would have been really easy for me to say “eff it. I don’t like this, I’ll rework the plan and try again on Friday”, but…I didn’t. That is a major win in my book.

Thursday – Speed Day!! Unless there is some kind of major weather event, I will always do my speed work (and long runs) outside – I just perform better out there.  The plan was a 4 mile progression run. As I made my way home, I took a peak outside and it looked like most of the slush and ice had melted. What that really meant is that it was all black ice. Yee-haw. 

Not bad. Not great either.

Not bad. Not great either.

This was definitely not my best work, and if I’m going just by my perceived effort, I could/should have done much more. BUT. I stayed upright the whole time (there were a few close calls) and finished with my body/face intact so I consider that a win. I vented a bit on Daily Mile and Nichole gave some great perspective.

Sometimes, you just need some perspective.

Sometimes, you just need some perspective.

Friday – Strength. I went with the same routine as Wednesday, and instead of whining about it I tried to keep a positive attitude, focus on my form, etc and ended up (almost) enjoying it. My arms were jello by the end and I had a hard time even picking up my hairbrush after so you know it was a good one!

Saturday – Long Run. 10 miles 1:55 (11:28 pace) I usually spend Saturdays hiking up and down the mountains hills in my neighborhood, but the threat of snow on Sunday prompted to me email Jennifer Friday afternoon to see if we could switch days around. I don’t mind cutting a 6 miler short (or attempting it on the treadmill), but I will not sacrifice the long run. I think that’s a Marathon Training Commandment, or something.  Luckily, Jennifer was fine with the switch and we met out at North Park for 6.5 miles for her and 10 for me.  It snowed a little overnight, so there were some slush puddles and snowy spots to deal with so we slowed down a bit to accommodate those. Overall, this was great – the first 6.5 flew right by and I set off for 4 (technically 3.5) on my own. I managed a good negative split over the last bit and that is exactly what I was looking for.  In a perfect world, the Race Day Plan is to run with Jennifer for the first 10 miles of the race until the Half/Full split at around 11:00 min miles, and after the split (and climb into Oakland) try to start chipping away at that pace to get into the 10:50’s. I don’t know how well this will work, but that’s the plan and the more comfortable I get with running progressions I think the better off I will be.  Theoretically, at least.

Everything looks so pretty covered in snow!

Everything looks so pretty covered in snow!

Sunday – Man, I totally botched this! When I looked on Friday, the forecast said 1-3 inches of snow Sunday morning and another 1-3 that afternoon/evening. Well…throughout the day Saturday those times kept getting pushed back. First it was supposed to start early, then around 11, then 1, then 4….etc.  Total Fail Whale on my part, but it can be tough to predict that kind of stuff so far in advance.

Fail. Whale.

Fail. Whale.

It was a perfect winter morning for a run – not too cold and windy just a nice brisk day. I tackled 6 miles worth of hills in 1:08 (11:15 pace) and was pretty pleased with this. I wasn’t sure what to expect since my legs were a little tired from the day before, but I figured this would simulate the later miles of the marathon really well so I tried to keep my form, and breathing even and controlled on the uphill and use the flat and downhill to recover and that’s exactly what I did. Winning!  There were still a few icy/slushy spots to deal with, and I had to stop a few times for cars to pass, but nothing to complain about!

This elevation profile always reminds me of the Jack Rabbit at Kennywood!

This elevation profile always reminds me of the Jack Rabbit at Kennywood!


How’s your training going?

What’s your favorite ride at Kennywood? I LOVE all of the roller coasters, and really miss The Pitt Fall! I loved those few seconds at the top, depending on what side you sat on, you got some spectacular views!


7 thoughts on “Pittsburgh Marathon Training – Week 2

  1. Another good week in the books. I was going to say Sunday was the perfect day for the long run. I even thought I may run into you an Jennifer at North Park when I was running. This week looks like it’s going to be some tough running in crappy weather

    • Sunday really was perfect for a long run – I’m bummed I switched things around, but at least I got all of my miles in! This week is going to be brutal. Mile first mile last night resembled something closer to figure skating than running thanks to all of the ice!

  2. Ah, you’re not a fail whale. Heck, they’ve flat out and predicted snow before that never ever fell. You do what you feel is best this time of year. There’s a reason people that run Pittsburgh can call themselves “Runners of Steel” – it’s because we’ve had to deal with this freakin crazy weather just to make it to race day! haha. You had another solid week overall.
    OMG Kennywood! Love it! we always get season passes we’re there so much. Second home over the summer for sure. I’m old fashioned but I adore the carousel there. I’m so glad they still have that piece of history going. I ride it every single time I’m there. Did you hear there’s going to be a 5k/10k race there this year? My kids want to do it so bad!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s