The week started out with a smoke storm. I found myself missing the humidity of previous weeks, because at least 95% humidity means you can still be outdoors. On the other hand, once the air quality hits the unhealthy zone, I was cautious and stayed indoors on the treadmill until the smoke lifted.
Our air quality was so horrible early in the week that the local news media discouraged vacuuming. Yes, vacuuming – because of how it can kick up dust and possibly ash particles. We couldn’t leave our windows open, which is rough when you don’t have A/C (very few homes/apartments in the Seattle area do). Thankfully, the smoke lifted near the end of the week. Sure, the forecasts warn it will worsen again this week, but I savored those outdoor runs I got.
I’ll be honest though: I had a hard time putting in the mileage this week, between being stuck on the treadmill and how the smoke made me feel. I ran 35 miles this week, which is okay, but not what I would hope to be running for less than two months out from a half marathon.
Monday: 7 miles on the treadmill
You know that sensation at the start of a run when you aren’t fully warmed up and everything feels sluggish, including the passage of time? That sensation is exaggerated on the treadmill, at least for me. The first couple miles were a slog, and then everything clicked into place and I comfortably finished off 7 miles.
Tuesday: 4 mile tempo run (7 miles total) & Pilates
Our air quality had been in the red zone for about 24 hours at this point, and I was beginning to feel the effects, including dry, scratchy eyes. I had problems with my contacts early in the morning, but managed to fix them before a treadmill run.
I did a continuous tempo run for 4 miles, except I slightly changed the pace or incline every 1/4 mile to keep the run interesting. I averaged around a 7:10/mile pace for the 4 miles.
I initially had the intention to go to the gym, but I felt blah from the smoke – a mild headache and itchy eyes – so I opted for gentle Pilates instead.
Wednesday: Strength training
Even though I am a morning runner, I prefer to strength train later in the day. After work, I met Ryan at the gym. I did barbell deadlifts, hip thrusts, TRX rows, lunge stance single arm presses, and box jumps. This was a really fun workout!
Thursday: 5 mile run
I wasn’t sure how bad the air quality was early in the morning (the EPA site had been crashed on and off due to high traffic), so I played it safe with another treadmill run. In terms of treadmill runs, this one felt pretty good. I set the pace to an easy effort (9:06/mile avg) and programmed in rolling hills with the virtual scenery. I listened to a podcast while running. Currently, I’m binging on “On Coaching” by Steve Magness and Jonathan Marcus, and I really enjoyed their episode on threshold training during this run.
Later that day, the smoke finally lifted! I threw open the windows, vacuumed, and we took the dogs on a long walk.
Friday: 13 mile fartlek long run
I ran outdoors! The air quality briefly dipped into the yellow/moderate zone, just in time for my long run. I threw some fartleks into my long run for variety and a different training stimulus. My workout was 5 miles easy, then 2-minute surges to tempo at the start of each mile for 7 miles, then the final mile at a steady, smooth effort (with the contingency of only doing this if I felt good). I did feel good and cranked out the final mile in a smooth 7:29.
Saturday: Strength Training
The air quality worsened again, back into the orange zone. We pushed back our run and just strength trained instead. I did a lot of work with kettlebells, including walking lunges, single leg deadlifts, and snatches. I experimented with the battle ropes, which had me out of breathe within well less than a minute!
Sunday: 3 mile easy run
Ryan, Ollie, and I ran three slow and easy miles before breakfast. We visited Bainbridge Island to see Ryan’s brother and his family, since they were in town on vacation. We really enjoyed our Sunday with them, including a stop at the Bainbridge Island Brewery.
How was your week in running?
Would you rather run on the treadmill or skip a run?