Training for the Pittsburgh Marathon: Why I Can’t Wait to #RunHomePGH

I'm an Official Run Home Blogger

I announced it on Twitter, but it needs to be said here too: I’m an Official Pittsburgh Marathon blogger! I’m thrilled, of course. I’ve already been sharing my training updates here on the blog, but now I get to share them with a broader audience! My hometown audience!

I’ve been asked to share why I chose the Pittsburgh Marathon, why I’m choosing to #RunHomePGH — their theme for this year.

It’s quite simple: If I only ever run one marathon, I want it to be my hometown marathon.

Training for the Pittsburgh Marathon: Why I Chose to RunHomePGH

On the one hand, making the choice was easy. Pittsburgh is in my heart, my soul, my being. I bleed black and gold. I get homesick for Pittsburgh every time one of my ‘Burgh friends posts a picture on Twitter or Pittsburgh Dad uploads a new video. Living in Ohio, I make a concerted effort to take my children to the city so that they can, on some level, understand why I love it so much.

Combining my love of running with my love for Pittsburgh made sense. The decision to “run home” was driven home when I ran the Inaugural Pittsburgh EQT 10 Miler in November. Running through the streets of the city with the sun shining down, the people cheering, the love of all things Pittsburgh flowing through me with each step made it abundantly clear: I had to run the Pittsburgh Marathon.

On the other hand, choosing Pittsburgh was hard. 26.2 miles in and of itself is big and daunting and more than I’ve ever run. With two half marathons under my belt and a series of smaller races, I am 100% committed to running. But deciding to run a full marathon felt too big. Choosing Pittsburgh on top of that — a hilly course to put it lightly — felt like I was setting myself up for failure. When people in my life made comments about how “crazy” I was when I finally bit the bullet and registered, I started to doubt myself.

I’m over that now.

Capris and Snow? February Is Drunk.

I CANNOT WAIT TO RUN HOME. To my home. Through my home. With my people. Past my people. For my people, with my Pittsburgh and Ohio family somewhere in the crowds, cheering me on. I cannot wait to cross that finish line, accomplishing something no one thought I could do, something an old physical therapist told me I’d never be able to do. And if we’re honest, something I didn’t think I would ever do.


I’m still a bit nervous: that’s a lot of miles, a big giant hill. But I don’t doubt that I can do it. I’ve started working hill routines into my weekly training along with using the very hilly Salt Fork State Park for some of my weekend long runs in order to incorporate lots of hills in with lots of mileage. I won’t be the first one across the finish line. I don’t think I’ll be the last one either, but even if I am, I’ll do it with a smile on my face. Or maybe a grimace at first but eventually a smile. Right? At some point? Come on, fellow marathoners, tell me that this won’t kill me!


Now that you know why I’m running, I’ll offer a brief update about my training: I just finished my eighth week of training, leaving me ten weeks left to figure this whole running all the miles thing out. The 56 degree weather on Saturday made for a very awesome, but equally hard run. I am feeling the mid-training exhaustion that everyone talks about, that I experienced with half marathon training, too. I’m going to pull one run out of my training this week and substitute in a day of cross-training — or maybe straight up rest. I have no desire to push myself to the point of injury.

Dreadmill Woes

As far as pace goes: Things are looking pretty slow as I start working in hills. I keep struggling with this, mostly mentally — and mostly because I read so many blogs by so many really, really fast running women. So, when I’m running slow for me, which is really slow for them, I start getting down on myself. And then I shake it off and get over it and remind myself, once again: I’m running my own race. And then I duck and shuffle up the next hill. Because hills.

Over the next two weeks, my plans include working more on a killer hill near my house, passing the 13 mile mark in my long runs, and working really, really hard on hydration. I was doing so well with that but totally fell off the water horse. Time to hope back on! Here’s hoping that the Polar Vortex leaves me alone so I can stay outside and away from the dreadmill!

Snow for Days -- or Weeks! OR MONTHS!


Are you training for the Pittsburgh Marathon? Be sure to check out the other Official Run Home Bloggers:




The Land of Nod, design for kids and people that used to be kids

8 Replies to “Training for the Pittsburgh Marathon: Why I Can’t Wait to #RunHomePGH”

  1. How crazy exciting!! That is an AWESOME reason to run Pittsburgh!

    And ugh hills. The thing about hill training is that you feel so slow while you’re doing it, but it will only make you stronger and faster in the end!

  2. Congratulations! It’s so exciting! Running over those bridges with the skyline on the horizon was my absolute favorite part, and I reared up on many occasions. You are going to do awesome!

  3. Hey Jenna,
    Your blog is totally an inspiration for this first-time half-marathon runner. I wish you all the best for your training. And as an Ohio University grad, I actually get a bit homesick hearing you talk of Ohio! See you on race day in Pittsburgh.
    Jessie of Let’s Run the Day

  4. I feel the same way about Pittsburgh and about running 26.2 on the hills of Pittsburgh. I’m excited and scared and every other emotion. Best of luck on your training and let’s pray for the end of the polar vortex. BUT we can always say, remember the year I trained for the Pittsburgh Marathon during the Polar Vortex?

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