Pittsburgh Marathon Training Week 8

Week 8 is over and we are officially halfway there (wooo-ah! Livin’ on a praaaaayer….no? Ok, then)!!!  Holy crap! I try not to remind myself of that and to just focus on the week at hand but, I definitely started to get some butterflies and nerves when I realized it was week 8. I’m the type of person that does better when I break things down into smaller time frames, so I really try not to look to far ahead (unless it’s for scheduling/logistics purposes) otherwise I will start a major freak-out.  This was another strong week, and required a little bit of tinkering to get the miles in but I am happy to report that they are all done! I had a Sunday day trip to my brother’s house planned, which meant I had to shift all of my runs/weights around to fit it all in. This resulted in me doing my NROLFW two days in a row (total no-no), but it was that or nothing AND doing my first running double. Since I don’t go “totes hard at the gym, yo” I figured this would be ok. We are  also getting close to peak week(s) here, and I have an 18 miler coming up this weekend. Can’t. Wait.

Monday – Rest Day. Nothing hugely exciting….

Tuesday – Outside run!! 5 miles 58:00 (11:41 pace) . It was raining,  but that was OK by me!! For one, it wasn’t snow!!! And two, I honestly love running in the rain. There is something so calming and peaceful about it. It was still a little chilly out, but IT WASN’T SNOW! My legs were still a little tired and heavy from the beating they took over the weekend (10 mile race/16 mile long run…Rocky Balboa style) so I was in no hurry to go fast.

Wednesday – Strength! I’m pretty sure I say this every week, but, I’m still not seeing the progress in the mirror and I know that’s all on me. Which is fine. The good stuff though, is that I’m seeing the progress in other ways. Each week I’m able to increase the weights I’m using, and even if it’s only 5 pounds it’s something; AND I was able to do 10 REAL pushups. That was a first for me. I’m not sure that my form on those was 100% perfect, but my trainer said it was so they count.

Last one didn't count, fool

Last one didn’t count, fool


Thursday – Double up with my “speed” in the morning and weights in the afternoon. This was supposed to be a 5 mile progression run, but turned into a 4 mile regression run.  This is one of those ones that felt tough from the get go. I was on the treadmill and had to stop about a mile in because my stomach just decided to wake up and join the party. I got started again and the pace just felt hard and I was only at a 5.3 speed. I had to slow it down and then finally walk which I haven’t done in forever. My basement is always nice and cool, but it felt HOT and that started to irritate me. I told myself just to forget about the pace, and just get the run done. I kept the speed at about 5.2 for a while then put it back up to 5.3 and just kept alternating those speeds until I was done. Between the bathroom break and walk break, I wasted a good bit of time and I had to stop at 4 miles or risk being late for work.  4.25 miles 49:00 (11:29 pace) Weights in the PM!

Friday – This was a true “double” and a major first for me. Because I would be away Sunday, I needed to do my long run on Saturday; which meant that my Saturday run was moved to Friday. The only problem was that Saturday’s run called for 10 miles. Ruh-Roh. That is certainly NOT the type of mileage I am capable of before work, and it’s definitely not happening after work so the only other option was to split the miles up and do some in the morning and some at night. I started out on the treadmill Friday morning, and was a little apprehensive since yesterday’s run had gone oh-so-well, but told myself just focus on getting something in. Do a minimum of 3 miles, but, do more if you can. 4 is good…5 would be AWESOME! I turned Law and Order on and got to work. 3 went by quickly enough, so I told myself that 1 more mile was totally doable. I passed 4 miles and told myself that I went this far…might as well just go for 5. Of course, the last mile is the longest but I finished it strong. Imagine my surprise/delight  when I went to record the run in my planner that I was only scheduled for NINE miles! WAHOO! I know it’s only 1 lousy mile, but mentally, that was huge. Knowing that I only needed 4 more instead of 5 left me feeling very confident!  I came home, and the sun was shining so I got dressed and headed out to finish 4 more miles. I wanted to keep these easy so I wore my heart rate monitor, and thanks to the article that Jen posted I figured out where I should try to keep my heart rate for this run. *For a really awesome & thorough post about training by heart rate, read Nichole’s post. I’ve read it once and am re-reading it to make sure I get all of the info. I am almost positive I’m going to give this type of training a shot after this marathon. Go read it now. Well, finish reading this, THEN go read that post.*  Until I was running, and then I forgot the numbers, but I decided that keeping things in the 140s-150s would be acceptable. I was able to do that, and again, it helped me mentally – it was easier/more fun to try to keep my heart rate down that it was to watch my pace get slower 🙂
I think I did it right.

I think I did it right.

I knocked out the 4 miles and was surprised when I saw that my pace was still in the 11:30s. To be honest, I was just worried about surviving this so to see that I was still holding a somewhat decent pace was icing on the cake! AM 5 miles 56:55 (11:09 pace)/PM 4 miles 46:24 (11:35 pace).

Saturday – I moved my long run up and Jennifer was awesome enough to meet me out at North Park for the second half of my 14 miler. The plan was that I would run 7, then meet Jen and we would do 5 miles at race pace with a mile warm up and cool down. I took the first 7 nice and easy, and again used my HRM to make sure that I was truly keeping it easy.

Nailed it. I think.

Nailed it. I think.

I knew that if I went out too fast, that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with Jen and she might have to leave my body in a snow pile somewhere.  I parked at the JC Stone Field and ran to the boathouse, cut through the parking lot and back to the field. I suck at math so I seriously misjudged my turnaround point and had to run a little extra to get that 7. I refueled with a Gu and Jen and I got to work on the last 7. My Garmin also decided to have  some type of seizure and kept beeping and flashing so we had to stop so I could reset it. Thanks to that, my times are mileage are a little wonky but luckily I was able to get the data from Jen. We finished the warm up and starting cranking out the miles. Splits were 10:39, 10:39, 10:55, 11:02 & 10:48… I don’t want to say they were easy but I felt very strong the whole time. We climbed the hill behind the boathouse, ran to Ingomar, turned around and climbed the hill again all at race pace miles, and really cranked it up for the last two tenths of a mile to simulate a fast finish. Yeah. We’re kind of a big deal. Kidding….sort of. We ran a mile cool down to our cars and passed Nichole along the way! I know I say this all the time, too, but it so nice to actually know some of the other runners out there and cheer each other on when we pass. Love it. I also have to say, that without a running partner, I NEVER would have attempted this kind of run; putting race pace miles into a long run sounds terrifying but was actually a lot of fun. Hopefully we are able to sneak a few more of these into our weekend runs because they are awesome!!  We also tried to take a picture after, and there was a guy stretching by his car, so we tried to discreetly take our selfie and we were soooo busted. You kind of had to be there, but it was hysterical. 1st 7 miles 1:21 (11:23 pace). 2nd 7 miles 1:18 (11:09 pace).

So, I tried two new-to-me things this week and really enjoyed them both. I really see the value in adding doubles to a training schedule, but if I were to add those to a training plan in the future I would probably start out on a smaller scale like 2/2, 3/2, etc. 5/4 (or 5/5 like I planned) was a little extreme, but necessary. 

I can tell that we are elbows deep in training because my hunger levels are off the chart. I am trying to make sure that I eat lots of good, healthy foods but…Girl Scout Cookies. I also really need to start nailing down my fueling strategy for race day, but I HATE feeling like a pack mule on my runs carrying all kinds of crap. I know that on race day, I’m going to leave the water bottle at home and rely on the water stations since there are so many on the course, but I still need to carry my gels. And that means using my runner’s fanny pack. Oh goody. I can’t wait.

This should accentuate my muffin top nicely. Wonderful.

This should accentuate my muffin top nicely. Wonderful.


8 thoughts on “Pittsburgh Marathon Training Week 8

  1. I was with you on the Bon Jovi, I started to sing it outloud at work and got some crazy looks. You are really on point for your training. It’s all downhill from here to the race. You gonna be at NP on Sunday?

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one that broke into song, 🙂 !
      I am ready to really buckle down and put my nose to the grindstone for these next few weeks while I tackle some big long runs!! I’m skipping NP this weekend – Jen and I are going to run in Oakland to get a feel for the 2nd half of the course! I am equal parts excited and terrified because I have never run in Oakland and don’t know what to expect!

  2. Great week of runs! And I’m just like you- I LOVE running in the rain! I actually set a record in cross country in HS when it was raining! Even now I have my best races when the weather’s not so perfect. It’s so exhilarating and refreshing! (Plus, it’s better than running in humidity..that weather right before it’s about to rain is the worst!)

  3. Awesome week! Your training plan keeps getting tougher and tougher, but you keep nailing it. Nice work on all the runs! I’ve been thinking of trying run commutes when the weather gets nicer, which would be just short of 4 miles each way, so it was interesting to hear how the double worked for you. I think I’m going to give it a shot. About carrying fuels, if you don’t have pockets I remember reading a tip on Kristy’s Pgh Runner blog. She would pin gels to the front of her shorts with safety pins and then just pull them off if she needed them. Not sure if they would flop around, but might be worthwhile to investigate?

    • Thanks!!! I keep wondering if I’m doing enough to get me ready for this race, and some days I still have my doubts! Definitely give doubles a try – running to and from work sounds like a fun idea! I always say that when the weather gets nicer I’m going to leave my car at work, run home, and then come back to get it later…I may try that this spring!

      Pinning gels to my shorts is a really good idea – I might have to try that if I end up not liking the fanny pack (I have to at least try it…it was 30 bucks and we know how cheap I am)!

  4. Hey, I happen to love Livin’ on A Prayer! I even have Bon Jovi’s greatest hits album. Don’t tell anyone. Oh and my appetite is through the roof too – pass the cookies.

    You owned this week’s workouts with having to juggle them around and strength train two days in a row and put in all those end of the week miles like that. And your trainer? Your trainer looks tough to impress.

    I’m glad you found my HR post helpful! That makes me happy because I honestly don’t know sometimes if I’m giving out information people actually want. ha!

    For gels, my SpiBelt has gel loops on it and I just load that up and use the pocket for my iPhone.

    • The number of Bon Jovi songs on my iPod rivals the number of Hall & Oates songs I have downloaded… I won’t tell if you won’t! 😉

      I was so excited to see that you posted a HR article – post more, please!! I am incredibly interested in it, especially after seeing how much success you’ve had! And yes!!! Pass the cookies! And pretzels, and cheese, and kettle corn, and….anything salty and delicious!

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