Week 6 of 8 – Pittsburgh Base Building

This week kind of hit me like a freight train.  I wasn’t sick, but I wasn’t myself.  Because I had weekend plans with Heather and Laura, I didn’t want to push myself through workouts that might jeopardize my time with them.  Working out when I’m on the brink of being sick is a big struggle for me.  Do I run and hope it doesn’t wear me down further to the point where I do get sick?  Or do I take an extra day off and hope I feel better, but am not too far into the sickness rabbit hole where its inevitable that I get sick?  In this case, I opted to rest because if I did end up sick this weekend, it would affect something planned for a few weeks now.

Monday – Rest
After my first “big” workouts back to back since the marathon and the coldest day of winter yet (in the ‘teens!), I had no qualms about taking a rest day.  In the future I’d prefer a recovery day, but there was no way I doing anything other than snuggling up on the couch.  In fact, Dunkin was too cold to stay outside for more than 10 minutes, too!

Tuesday – CrossFit
Training this season, I’ve decided to participate in regular CrossFit classes instead of endurance classes like when I was training for Chicago.  I love what the endurance classes teach me, but I’ve learned so much between that and all my physical therapy so this time, I think it’s more beneficial for me to work on a little more intense strength training.  In a month I’ve already noticed huge gains (ugh – I hate that term.)

Practice: front squats, 4 sets of 6 squats, using a heavier weight each set.  I started off at 33 lbs, then 45 lbs, then 55 lbs, and finally 65 lbs.  Hello new PR (easy to say when you’re actually doing lifting this time around!) This was the first time I felt comfortable doing front squats; I kept my weight in my heels and even Chris said I’ve improved.

Workout: 6 rounds for time –  8 deadlifts, 5 power cleans, 3 front squats, and 5 burpees.  I switched to a lighter bar with 10 lb plates to make 44 lbs.  This seems to be my go-to recently for anything that involves multiple movements.  I finished in 11:43 (the goal was anywhere from 8-13 minutes).  During this, another thing finally clicked for me — the power cleans!  I’ve always struggled getting my body under the bar and elbows up fast enough.  I don’t know what it was on Tuesday, but they finally were moving fast!  It felt so good to finish a workout where instead of being told “try this, remember that, don’t forget these things”, I was being told “that’s right!”

Wednesday – Rest
I’m disappointed I rested on Wednesday.  While I was sore from CrossFit, it wasn’t the typical kind where running feels unbearable.  It was also rather mild outside compared to earlier in the week with temperatures in the mid 30s and the sun seemed to stay up just long enough to tease me when I got home at 5:30.  I debated it with James for a few minutes before settling into the couch for the night.  I just felt so weird Tuesday; I was out of it enough to leave conditioner in my hair after showering, couldn’t get out of bed on Wednesday morning, and opted for tea instead of coffee.  Who am I?

Dunkin RunThursday – Easy Run (50 minutes)
I finally felt a lot better and had ample energy to get outside for a run when I came home.  I headed out without a plan, but apparently Dunks had one.  He took every opportunity to sniff so there were lots of pit stops!   We did a lot of little loops and crossed busy streets with lights instead of the stop signs (I don’t trust drivers) and it ended up being really fun.  Our average pace keeps creeping down, we’re always around 10:00/mile now!

Friday – Rest
After work, I traveled to Rochester to meet up with Heather and Laura for girls night and a race on Saturday morning.  I got in around 6:30 and was promptly handed a beer (duh).  We ended up having a late dinner out with more beer (duh) and as soon as we got home, we all retired to bed.  I think the conversation went something like this, “I’d love to chat, but I’m so exhausted.  Leave at 9am tomorrow?  Night!”

Saturday – Freezeroo #3 [Pineway Ponds Park 5 Miler]
My last race was the Turkey Trot 8k on Thanksgiving, six weeks ago, and I finished in 42 minutes.  I had barely been running at that time, still somewhat coming back from my post-marathon recovery.  Looking at this race, I threw out 40 minutes as a goal with no real basis other than I’ve been running more and dammit, I want to be faster so 40 minutes sounded good.  I’m happy to report that I ran a really strong race, stayed in control, targeted the hills with gusto, and met my goal!  In 2013, PRs came really effortlessly for me but I got injured.  Now that I’m having to work for my goals (but am a better athlete overall), seeing improvements is so much more rewarding.

To top off the race, we went out for a great diner breakfast and enjoyed the fact that for once we all had a great race.  I think in the 2 years I’ve known the girls, there hasn’t been one race we’ve all been at that went well for all three of us at the same time.

Stolen from Laura's IG.
Stolen from Laura’s IG.

Sunday – 35 minutes recovery-ish
I’ve been doing a lot of research on heart rate training but there’s so much information and differing information, too.  Some people consider anything under 85% to be easy and recovery, but others consider it to be under 70% or 75% of your maximum heart rate.  Based on what I’ve read, I’m going to call the recovery zone for me as under 75% of my MHR (maximum heart rate).

On the calendar, I had a 90 minute long run which I figured was a little out of my league at this time.  After Saturday’s 8 miles in total (longest since Chicago) and 5 of them at a pretty decent effort, I decided to see how I felt but sticking the best I could to my recovery heart rate and knowing I’d be back within 60 minutes.

Sticking to my heart rate was easier than last week’s run on the same route due to conditions, but my legs were struggling.  It’s hard to go that slow and feel good.  My legs felt better picking up the pace, but then I was exceeding 80% MHR and ugh — see what I mean, this stuff is hard!  My legs want to do one thing, but I know for my own recovery and improvement, I have to adhere to the plan.  I cut the run at 35 minutes because it was windy, rainy and I was unhappy with being soaked.  I have waterproof gear but it’s awfully not waterproof.

I finished the week with just over 15 miles of running, an hour of CrossFit, and about 8 miles of purposeful walking.  Despite starting the week a little slowly, I’m really happy with what I’ve done!  Trying to go sub 1:40 for the half in May is feeling much closer than it was at any point last year.  With the upcoming week bringing temperatures in the low to mid 20s, it’ll take a little more motivation but hopefully I’ll be able to get back into the 20 mile per week range to really get where I want to be at the conclusion of this base building time frame.


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Just a 20-something homegrown Buffalo sports loving, distance running, gin drinking kind of girl.

5 thoughts on “Week 6 of 8 – Pittsburgh Base Building”

  1. Definitely better to take the rest now and fight off any sickness that could linger, I definitely had to do that this week too! So glad you came out, and LOVE that we all had good races! It just makes it that much better! You’re well on your way for the year of big gains and PR’s!


  2. Nice job on your 5-miler! My training plan has had me running a lot of 5 mile tempo runs, so now that I’m familiar with the distance, I kind of want to find a 5 mile race to do at some point. My family typically does one in Idaho every year, so maybe if I’m still feeling it in the fall, I’ll try it out.


  3. Great job on your race this weekend! I hope you are not getting sick :-/ Rest up, and feel better! You still had a good week!


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