Pittsburgh Half Training: Week 2

Happy Sunday! This week was another really great week. While we've been lucking out with the weather, our luck may end this week. The forecast is calling for four to six inches of snow over the next day and temps dipping down to the single digits later this week. My main concern with the weather is my speedwork day. Speedwork is much harder in the snow and ice, and I have one-mile repeats on the schedule. I'm going to try my best!

A few random notes before I get to training:

 Week 2 Grade: A+

Recap by Day

50 minutes lower body and core strength training
50 minutes yin yoga

Medium run: 3 miles, 33:30, 11:09 pace
This was a great morning for a run: 32 degrees with no snow or ice on the trails. I headed to the 31st Street Bridge because I wanted to try a faster pace on an incline. I had no problems at all! I hate to say it felt easy, but it kinda did. I was trying for an 11:15-11:30 pace range, and my pace on the mile on the bridge (two uphills, two downhills) was 10:44! This was a really great confidence booster for me, since I've been worried about the bridge inclines in the Pittsburgh Half Marathon course.
Lulemon White Swiftly Long Sleeve, First Base Tank,
Cranberry Think Fast Pullover & Black Neck Warmer
Athleta Windwarrior Tights, Parkour Beanie
In the evening I did 25 minutes of upper body strength training followed by 10 minutes of gentle yoga.

Speedwork: 3.5 miles, 40:24
Today was my first day of doing half-mile repeats. It was 32 and just starting to snow when I headed out. I ran on the flat area of the river trail between the stadiums and did 3 repeats with .25-mile recovery and 1.5 warm-up and cool-down. Goal was to run each interval in 5:03 or less (10:06 pace or faster). I had no problems and really hit the pace with a 9:57, 10:01, and 10:00. I have always struggled to maintain the right pace in intervals, and I think part of it was due to not being able to see my Garmin in the dark. I would get tired of pressing the light button to see the face and would just run fast, hoping I was hitting my pace. On Wednesday I wore my headlamp, and it was so easy to look down to see my pace. It helps so much! Oh, headlamp, where have you been all my running life?! Of course, another reason why I probably struggle with intervals is that I always try to do them at my goal 5K pace--around 9:30--which is really difficult for me. Keeping a slower pace was much more doable. I think I'm going to try to keep increasing my paces gradually on intervals throughout this training.
Lululemon First Base Tank, Long Sleeve Swiftly, White Pique Think Fast Hoodie,
Deep Zinfandel Speed Tights, Run with Me Toque
 In the evening I did 10 minutes of gentle yoga.

Easy run: 2 miles, 24:54, 12:27 pace
It was 34 but felt like 24. It had snowed a bit the day before, so the trails were slushy. Instead of hitting the trail, I ran across the 16th Street Bridge, on Penn to Downtown and back. It's fun running through Downtown when the city is just starting to wake up. The sidewalks are clear, there are lights everywhere (I didn't even wear my headlamp), but there aren't too many people or cars out yet. One spoiler alert to my first thoughts on the Hansons' method is that I think I may be doing my easy runs too fast. On this run, I really forced myself to slow down and take it easy. When I felt myself putting effort into my pace (usually when there was someone on the sidewalk I wanted to pass), I really tried to put the brakes on and take it easy. (Note: Same outfit as the day before!)

In the evening I was supposed to do strength training, but I had to work late. Plus, I was just worn out from a stressful day and didn't feel like doing anything at night. I did make myself do my plank--really, there's no excuse not to do it since it takes less than two minutes--and then went to bed 15 minutes early and did yoga in bed. I did gentle stretches and twists and then fell asleep in savasana. It felt wonderful!

Friday is usually my rest day, though I typically do yoga as active rest. But I wanted to fit in my strength training, so I did 45 minutes of lower body and core in the morning. In the evening I did 10 minutes of gentle stretches and twists.

Long run: 6.5 miles, 1:18, 12:01 pace
Because the forecast predicted snow Sunday morning, Amanda and I moved our long run to Saturday. We met at North Park and did the standard lake loop, with a bit more tacked on (Amanda did the loop twice for 10 miles). It was 29 but felt colder, and there was some snow and slush on parts of the road. This run felt tough to me. Even though my pace was where I should be for a long run, I think I should have gone even slower because the run really didn't feel easy. I think that on easy runs I need to listen to my body and not my Garmin so that I'm really running at an easy pace. As always, the miles flew by because we were busy chatting. I'm bummed that I forgot to get a picture of both of us, so after I was finished I took a picture of me and Amanda's car, ha ha!
Lululemon Swiftly Long Sleeve, First Base Tank,
Purple Turn Around Long Sleeve, Black Tech Speed Tights,
White Pique Ear Warmer & Neck Warmer

After the run I did 25 minutes of upper body strength and 10 minutes of gentle yoga.

I felt really tired for some reason, so I decided to take a little nap. I put Django on my bed (we have never taught him to jump on beds or furniture and he hasn't learned himself--a good thing!--so I need to hoist him up when I want him on the bed) and we settled in for a nice nap. His long nose kept my legs warm!

Aww, look at my snuggler!

Of course, snuggling with me for naps is the cats' job, so Rasputin had to be a part of it too. He doesn't like the dog, so he laid as far away from the dog as possible...which was pretty much on my neck.

At night, we got takeout from Spak Brothers on Penn Avenue, which has vegan versions of pizzas and subs. I got the Seitan melt, which has shaved seitan to mimic a cheesesteak, buffalo sauce, vegan cheddar cheese, and standard hoagie toppings. SO DELICIOUS! I try not to eat vegan junk food often so we don't go to Spak Brothers a lot, so this was a really awesome treat. We also got a growler of pear cider from Arsenal Cider in Lawrenceville. It's so delicious, but at 10.5% alcohol, it totally knocked me out and I was passed out by about 9. Oops!

Pace run: 3.75 miles, 40:40, 10:50 average
My motto for this training is train hard. I want my training to be as hard as possible so the race feels as easy as possible. This means no totally flat runs, even on easy run days. I think it's especially important that my pace runs not be on all flat terrain. Because the race course includes a lot of bridges, I incorporated three bridges on today's run, for a total of six bridge climbs. I watched my Garmin like a hawk to see what my race pace felt like on the inclines and downhills. I was shooting for a consistent 11:00 pace. On inclines I was doing about 11:05 and downhills about 10:50 to maintain the same effort. While it wasn't easy--and I had to stop thoughts of "How will I keep this pace for 13.1 miles?!" out of my head--it was doable. Once I was off the bridges and back on flat terrain to finish my run, I didn't watch my Garmin as closely and afterwards saw I'd run a 10:35 for the third mile. Flat feels much easier after inclines, so I need to remember that for the race and watch my pace closely coming off of the bridges.
Lululemon First Base Tank, Long Sleeve Swiftly,
Heathered Slate Speed Tights, Ear Warmer
Athleta White Plush Tech Hoodie
I'm ready for week three! Happy running and working out this week!

Have you read either of these books? If you're from Pittsburgh, have you tried Arsenal Cider? Do you nap with your kitties and dogs?

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