After Pittsburgh, I’ll have 1 week rest and then 6 weeks to train for my first (!) triathlon. So, I decided to incorporate some swimming and cycling to my training starting now. I’ve been swimming for a while, but this week I did my first ride of the year, and it went great (which is good so I don’t have to feel bad about slacking a bit on my running).
I planed my bike ride for Wednesday afternoon, but the weather was awful and I didn’t have time to do it before dusk. So, I rescheduled it to Friday and joined my wife at the gym instead. However, I was feeling tired and not very motivated Friday and I decided to ditch it all together. Fortunately, the weather on Saturday was absolutely perfect and I couldn’t resist going out for a nice hour-long ride.
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.
Monday — Morning: swim workout. Afternoon: Les Mills Grit™ 30:00 min HIIT class
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!!
There is something about hills that I just can’t resist. Inspired by my trip to San Francisco last week, I decided to write a post with some of my favorite hill workouts in State College, PA. Get your heart beating and your quads burning!
Don’t forget to leave a comment if I missed your favorite hill or if you try any of these workouts!!
1. Research Drive repeats (400s)
This is my favorite hill workout. If you start doing it once every 2-3 weeks and don’t get faster and stronger I’ll return your money, guaranteed!
Length — 4.5 miles (with 2.5 repeats, you can add more)
Elevation gain — 241 feet
Concept — 400 meters uphill sprints
Road type — Bikepaths and sidewalks
Where — Loop from the Haymarket Park on Bristol Ave
Description — The course starts from the parking lot of the Haymarket Park. Begin with a 1.5 mile warm-up on a 2-3% incline up the bike path to the top of Research Dr. Research Dr is a Λ-shaped half-a-mile-long quiet little street. Jog down northbound to Bristol Ave, catch your breath, and sprint back up to the top as fast as you can. Jog down southbound to Whitehall Rd, catch your breath, and sprint back up again. Repeat as many times as you have it in you (or you think it is safe). Finish up with a flat cool-down jog back to the starting point.
Kicker — For an extra challenge, take a good break between repeats and sprint as fast as you can on your way up. My PRs are 1:04 on the northbound climb and 1:48 on the southbound climb (strava.com/activities/456096972/overview). Can you beat them?
My job involves short trips once in a while, and easy-pace running is a great way to explore the locations, take some pics, and get in some miles while on a tight schedule. This week’s trip to San Francisco was particularly busy. I was interviewing with different potential employers holding interviews in different hotel suites spread across downtown. I ended up accumulating 93,651 steps in 4 days, and enjoying a few trips up Nob Hill.
In terms of running, I was able to squeeze in a couple of short early-morning runs, and a longer leisurely run along the bay shore and across the Golden Gate Bridge. Overall, I found San Francisco to be a wonderful and very interesting city for running:
Some of the steepest hills I’ve encountered
Remarkably nice running weather in early January
Like in any big touristy city, crowded roads can be a bit of a hassle
I didn’t get to do as much exploring as I would have liked to, but I loved the parts I did explore. It was a wonderful experience and my biggest disappointment is that none of the places interviewing me are based in San Francisco. I completely recommend it!!
Is there a half-a-mile without a climb in this town?
On my first two days in town, I was busy from 8 to 8 and completely exhausted after that. So, the only time for running was early in the morning, and I had to run around my hotel near Union Square. I’m very glad that the neighbourhood is full of super-steep streets like the ones you see in movies. I am a sucker for a nice climbing workout, and I didn’t want to leave town without going up a few of its famous hills!