PGH Marathon training -Week 12 of 16

The focus this week was more on strength and speed and less on distance.  I ran my first race of the season: a 10 miler with a tough climb right at the beginning to prepare me for the tough climb up Mt Washington at the middle of the Pittsburgh Marathon (only one month left to go!). I’ll post the race recap later this week, for now let me just say that I managed to win my division and bring a trophy home πŸ™‚

My mileage was very low this week considering that it is week 12, just 23 miles. This is partly because I did a 10 mile race instead of a longer run, partly because I wanted to rest my legs before the race so I could perform well, and partly because I am doing a lot of cross training. I hope this works out, because I have my first triathlon scheduled for June, which means that I have to start spending more time cycling and swimming πŸ™‚

The bike ride on Thursday was particularly special. My wife had foot surgery last November, and this is the first time she is able to ride since then!! It was a bit unfortunate that it was a ridiculously windy day, which made the ride really hard, but I think she still enjoyed it. I will let her tell you the details.

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PGH Marathon training – Week 7 of 16 – Getting rid of heavy legs

As the training intensifies, my legs are starting to feel fatigued. So, I’ve been reading a lot about heavy legs and I decided that my legs needed some rest, and some long easy-pace runs. That was my focus for this week. I cancelled one of my scheduled runs, and I slowed down my pace. Also, I did my first brick workout of the season looking forward to my first (!) sprint triathlon in June.

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Sun’s out runs out!!

Slow pace and long distance

With my first ride of the season, a very intense long run, and two HIIT workouts, last weekend was a killer. And I could feel my legs (rightfully) complaining. So, I decided to do a little flushing, with long low-intensity intervals to freshen up my muscles. First thing I did is schedule a rest day for Tuesday, and cancel an easy run I had scheduled for Friday. Also, I replaced a scheduled tempo run with an easy pace five miler. Finally, I slowed down my pace for my long run on Sunday to 7:49 mins per mile instead of my 6:50-7:05 pace from previous weeks. I hope this flushing pays off. Next week I plan to bring the focus back to speed.

Brick workout

A so-called β€œbrick” consists of a full bike workout followed immediately by a full run workout; in other words, it’s a session in which each part could stand alone as a complete workout

I’ve only attempted to do two brick workouts before this season, and I haven’t been very successful. The first time, my legs felt completely exhausted after I started running and had to walk half the way (some people say that this feeling is the reason why they are called “brick workouts”). The second time it didn’t really count because I did a stationary bike workout instead of an actual ride. So, I guess this week I did my first successful brick workout ever!

I chose to do an approximate sprint-distance brick with a 12.6 mile ride followed by a 3.0 mile run. I managed to keep my transition in under 4 minutes. Which is not bad considering I had to walk up to my apartment to change my shoes, leave my bike, get out of my thermal clothes (winter wind on the bike is no joke), and kiss my wife. In fact, I did much better than I expected. It looks like I will definitely  be able to finish my first triathlon (scheduled for June) in under 1:30, and maybe even under 1:15.

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My first successful brick workout

Menu of the week

  • Mexican-style steaks and lentils
  • Baked pork chops with mashed sweet potatoes and arugula salad
  • Chicken fajitas and refried beans
  • Teriyaki turkey burgers with fresh veggies

 

PGH Marathon training – Week 5 of 16

It is week 5 already, which means I need to start increasing my mileage (of course this had to coincide with the coldest week of the season thus far).

This week, I did a tough workout to improve the endurance of my leg muscles: three 10 milers on three consecutive days at an increasing pace. With most the running packed at the end of the week, I had a lot of room  for cross-training earlier on. So, I did three consecutive  days of strength training focusing on different muscle groups.

Three 10 milers on three consecutive days

It is a pretty simple workout. First, run 10 miles. Then, run another 10 miles at a slightly faster pace the next day. Finally, run another 10 miles at an even faster pace on the third day. I attempted this workout for the first time last fall and it was a killer. The first two days went great, but my legs were exhausted on the third day and I had to slow down considerably.

This time I took it a bit more seriously. My target paces for each run were 7:40 min/mile, 7:20 min/mile and 7:00 min/mile, respectively.

On the first day I went a little faster than planned, I ended up doing 7:31 min/mile. Moreover, the course was hillier than I anticipated and I could feel some muscle fatigue already. On the second day I was just on target doing 7:20 min/mile, despite crazy winds and really low temperatures. At night, my calves were sore. I started to worry a bit, but there was not much to do at this point other than foam-rolling and getting a good night sleep. I’m happy to report my legs were strong enough to achieve a sub-7 pace on the third day!!! I’m feeling good about Pittsburgh!

Menu of the week

I’ve been doing most of the cooking for the last few months, since my wife’s surgery. Now, she is recovered enough to be able to cook, which means that there is more dish variety. This week, she prepared two meals and I prepared another two. We had:

  • Turkey ground meat and zucchini lasagna
  • Chicken with mushrooms and boiled cauliflower
  • Beef stew with carrots and potatoes
  • Pan fried salmon, quinoa with vegetables, and roasted beets

Both the zucchini lasagna and the salmon were really awesome!!