Training Tuesday: Pittsburgh Half Week 1

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The post below is part of a series of posts about the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon weekend of events for which I have been selected to be a 2019 Pittsburgh Marathon official blogger. I’ve received my race registration fee in exchange for promotion of the event. All opinions are 100% my own.  This post also contains affiliate links. 

Time to make things official and start numbering my weeks to the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon weekend of events! In 2019, I’ll be earning my 2nd Steel Challenge medal (running the 5K on Saturday and the Half-my 4th Pittsburgh, 5th overall- on Sunday).

2019 Pittsburgh Half Marathon Training: Week 1

Being back to a “normal” routine felt super odd, but I was happy for it. I was home all week and my only hurdles to training were my brain and a little bit of snow. The mental game is going to be my biggest threat this round of training. I’ve put pressure on myself to get a course best and knock a few minutes off my overall half PR (achieved in October in Myrtle Beach). It might not be possible due to life changes (including traveling for work) and an injury, but I’m giving it my best!

Monday 2/11: Speed Work (based on my RunCoach plan), 3.28 miles in total

After getting my Ready. Set. MOVE. box, a Zwift pod, and new bands for my FitBit Versa (my originals rotted after about a year of use), I was amped to hit the treadmill for some speed work. This is so not me, so I took full advantage! I’ll post more about Zwifting another time, but I was not prepared adequately to use it for this run. 

So the plan called for a .5 mile warm up | 100m x 3 | 3 rounds of 5 minutes up pace followed by 3 minutes of walk/jog | .5 mile cool down. I was nervous because I was sweating pretty badly after my warmup. Maybe I do have a cold and not sinus issues, blargh! But when I hit a 9’06” average pace for my 3 100s, I felt on top of the world. The 5-minute rounds were all at a PR pace, two were even shaving over six minutes off my current PR, whoa. I had to walk the recoveries but decided to do them at a decent incline to imagine I was actually on the Pittsburgh course. All in all, this one rocked! Nike+ put the whole thing at a 12’19” pace.

Tuesday 2/12: CrossFit at Richard G Snyder YMCA

When an easy looking WOD appears on the board, I should know better. This one kicked my butt something fierce. I had to say a few prayers to get through it because my knee felt like it was giving out and you guys, I scale these things. (For example, instead of HSPU – handstand push-ups – I sit and lift dumbbells overhead. I had to go from 15-pound weights to fives to survive this one.) It was tough, but exactly the welcome back I needed after two weeks away.


Wednesday 2/13: 2.01 miles, 12’33”/mile

I had a meeting at the YMCA so I decided to get my miles in after that. It was just two miles, conversational pace. About 0.3-miles in, I realized I forgot my knee brace and it didn’t feel good. I’m stubborn, so kept on running. Being at the YMCA in the morning, there are some people who come in to walk to avoid the sideways snow. With 0.5-miles left, I happened to get a treadmill neighbor who had been smoking before getting on the treadmill. My asthma was not happy but I kept pushing. This one was tough but check, done! (No pictures because I needed to get to work.)

Friday 2/15: 3.10 miles, 12’53″/mile

gorgeous day in Kittanning called for my first trail run in a long time! Remember earlier when I said I’m thinking this is a cold? Yup. I was so congested and all the sudden out in the fresh air my nose decided it was done being stuffed. Awful! The trail was a bit muddy, I pressed on. I wasn’t too happy but remembered that my long runs need to be slower than my race pace so this is actually pretty on point.

Loving my goodr sunglasses from the Ready. Set. MOVE. Box!


That’s week one in the books for me! It’s hard for me to believe I’ve done this four (well, five) other times, but it’s even harder to believe I didn’t always do this. The past six years of training for Pittsburgh runs (including a break to have twins) has been a true blessing. God’s put some inspiring people in my path, worked me through trials, and given me this platform to share my journey. Even if I don’t PR, I’ve done what I set out to do – run the race with perseverance!

Hope you’ll stay tuned to see how the rest of my journey to the finish line goes. Come back every Tuesday for a wrap-up of my training, follow me on Twitter and Instagram for inspiration and updates on all things running and mom-life.


PSST! If you’ve read this far and are ready to sign up for the Marathon or Half, make sure you do and let them know I sent you by using WILLISDSGPM19 as your code when you sign up. You’ll save $10 when you do! Register here.


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