Pittsburgh Marathon Training Week 3

Boy, oh boy! Old Man Winter finally woke up and joined the game, and he is a miserable SOB!! I’m being perfectly honest – this week was TOUGH! The snow was a challenge, but the ice seriously kicked my ass! I’ve been kind of pouting about this week (which is why I’m so late in posting), but I’m ready to move on!

Monday – Rest. This was pretty much the highlight of my week 😉 !

Tuesday3 miles 35:00 (11:47 pace). There was SO much ice out there, and I’m pretty sure anyone who saw me out probably thought I was practicing my figure skating routine, rather than marathon training. I made sure to take it verrrrrry easy so I wouldn’t fall.

Ice, Ice, Baby

Ice, Ice, Baby

Wednesday Strength! I’m doing a really good job of sticking to the twice a week plan, but I don’t feel like I’m getting anything out of it. I did some research and started a new plan this week. It really encourages you to lift heavier, and gives you a solid plan to follow. I’m pretty clueless when it comes to weightlifting so I’m excited to try this out and hopefully there will be some noticeable results as well! My legs and arms were really feeling it the next day so I hope it’s working!

Thursday – This was supposed to be a 4 mile tempo run, but didn’t even come close! My legs were seriously sore from Wednesday’s workout, and I wasn’t sure how well the tempo would go so I figured even a progression run would be OK. It had been raining for most of the afternoon so I thought the snow and ice would pretty much be gone. It kind of was…almost like a slushie, sno-cone consistency, but still patchy in some places. I got to try out some ice spikes that my dad sent to me, and they were a huge help!


Even with those, I still had to be careful and watch my step and my pace was all over the place. I finished the 4 miles in 45:10 (11:18 pace), so not even a little speedy but…it’s 4 miles in the books.

Friday Strength. Still using the new program; still loving it! I know that it’s still new but I’m really enjoying this.

Saturday Long Run! Based on the “oh my god! Snow is coming! The end is near!” forecasts, I moved my 12 miler to Saturday. I needed to get an early start, so Jennifer and I weren’t able to meet up. That was a major disappointment – we’ve done almost every single long run together since just after Christmas, and I really look forward to them. Jennifer is also the responsible one, and makes sure we stick to our long run paces.  This is key. Typically when I do long runs on my own, the same thing happens: I start out waaaaay too fast (like, faster than race pace) and the second half of my run becomes more of a death march/battle to survive. The overall pace looks OK, but the point is that I’m barely finishing them. When I run with Jennifer, not only do I finish but I finish strong. It’s amazing what happens when you do these runs properly. Seriously.  I was a little nervous that I would revert back to my old ways and I decided that the main goal would be to stick to an 11:30ish pace. No worries about negative splits etc….just run smart and don’t go out too fast.  It was FREEZING cold out at North Park – around 7 degrees, and I thought I was dressed properly, but I could have used an extra layer on my legs. At one point, I literally thought I froze my ass off. The backs of my legs and butt were SO cold, they hurt. I wondered if it was possible to get frostbite even if your skin wasn’t exposed (still don’t know the answer to this). I stopped at my car, and gave a quick check to ensure that my legs weren’t  discolored or looking strange. Everything seemed to be OK, and for a brief minute I debated cutting the run short, going home and doing my long run on Sunday. I was already out there so I pushed that thought out of my mind and kept going. And made a mental note to wear an extra pair of pants when it’s that cold!  I usually hate staring at my watch while I’m running (it’s so stressful!), but I kept a close eye on it to make sure I wasn’t going too fast.  Luckily, Jennifer is rubbing off on me and I was able to maintain a decent pace.

Nailed it. Kind of.

Nailed it. Kind of.

Admittedly, it wasn’t perfect and I was a little faster than I wanted but I accomplished my main goal: run smart and don’t go out too fast. I finished strong and overall was really happy with this run. This was undoubtedly my best run all week. 12 miles 2:15:57 (11:20 pace)

Sunday – This run. Ohhhhhh, this run.  I do a lot of my running in a cemetery. It’s super close to my home, safe (minus the turkeys), and has a good mix of short hills and longer inclines…basically it’s perfect. In theory, anyway. In reality, there was maybe a quarter mile stretch of road in the cemetery that wasn’t buried under a solid sheet of ice. I tried to walk on parts of it, but after I fell I decided I shouldn’t risk it. So I had do to a little more running on the side streets than I wanted, but I still did it. And it was HARD. I don’t know if my legs were tired from my long run and the new strength program, or I was afraid of falling again, but I just could NOT get my legs moving. 7 miles 1:23:41 (11:57 pace).

2-1 hills

You get a picture of the hills, because I’m not posting my splits. They were awful.

My pace ended up being over 30 seconds slower per mile than my long run. It sucked and that’s all I have to say about that. Well, just one more thing: even though this run was awful, I LOVE running in the snow (when there’s no ice). It’s sooo peaceful, and pretty and compared to the day before it almost felt warm 🙂

The elements really kicked my ass this week, but I need to shake that off and refocus for this upcoming week of training.  It’s not like I’m the only person out there who is dealing with shitty conditions…we all are.  Big deal. It’s January (technically February since I’m late posting this), in Pittsburgh. Of course there is going to be snow and ice to deal with, and if everyone else can make it work then so can I! Suck it up, Buttercup!!


6 thoughts on “Pittsburgh Marathon Training Week 3

  1. I’m at the point where I’m absolutely fed up with the ice situation. I can handle and really enjoy snow, but the uneven ice chunks, the skating rink-like conditions and what comes with it just sucks. I just want it to warm up enough to melt some of it away… maybe let me run on one of the city trails again without fearing for my life… lol But hey, another week down! You survived, got all your miles in and are ready to face another week. And good job on that long run alone! I also have the “go out too fast” tendency!

  2. The ice has been a bitch this week, I honestly felt I spent more time dodging ice than keeping pace. I am already looking forward to spring. Way to get in your long run still! You are doing awesome

  3. I think this is about the time where I stop loving winter and start yearning for spring! Seriously…it’s hard to even walk my dog because so many sidewalks have like three inches of solid ice on top. I think the big thing is safety. If I didn’t have a safe place to run, I would definitely try to run on a treadmills or alter my runs to be safe. You stayed safe and got all your runs in, so I think you earned a gold star this week! Also great to hear that you are loving your new strength routine.

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