Another month has passed, which means it’s time another monthly goals check-in. September is my favorite month and I feel like I spend most of August eagerly anticipating it. Both Ryan and I have our birthdays in September, our wedding anniversary is in September, and I love the weather at the start of fall.
August 2016 Goals Check-In
PR in the Marathon
The first four weeks of training for the California International Marathon training went well. This was an introductory phase with a focus on re-introducing speed back into my training. I did several progression runs, harder but shorter long runs (12-14 miles), fartleks, and hilly runs.
I had a few marathon pace workouts which gave me an idea of what my marathon pace could possibly be, but that’s just one 6 mile and one 10 mile workout (plus warm up and cool down miles). The next several weeks still have a lot to tell in terms of gaining fitness and figuring out what my marathon pace will actually be once training becomes more specific and fatigue sets in.
Improve Fueling and Hydration
I did two low-carb long runs and two fueled long runs this month. The low-carb ones went really well! Once my long runs become longer than 2:30 hours or high-quality, I’ll start using mid-week long-ish runs as my low-carb runs and use those very long runs to train my stomach to handle fuel.
I cannot extol highly enough how great of a product Enduropacks electrolyte spray is. I used it in half marathon training this past spring, but I trained in milder weather then. I sweat more than normal – and thus lose a decent amount of salt and other electrolytes – on summer long runs. Enduropacks spray in my water bottle has prevented that parched feeling on a run or that weird, off feeling that comes from losing too much sweat on a long run.
Improve My Running Form and Stride
I need to continue to diligently work on this area. I haven’t incorporated any hill sprints into my routine yet, although I have done strides and drills at least twice a week – once after an easy run and once as a warm up for speed workouts. I know that’s better than nothing, but I know that this area of weakness still needs more work.
Core strength has been a priority in training for the past couple months and it has certainly paid off. Actually, core strength is consistently a priority for me, which is why it’s one of my goals. I mix up my core exercises with Pilates, functional weight lifting, and core specific strength training.
A stronger core has certainly improved how I feel during backpacking and on speed workouts and hilly runs. Yesterday, for example, I was able to complete a challenging fartlek run after a weekend of backpacking without my core feeling trashed. That’s a noticeable improvement!
On a tangential note, yes, that red tank and black shorts are my go-t0 uniform for running right now. The shorts are Saucony Bullet shorts (which I have in multiple colors) and the tank is an incredibly breathable and lightweight Athleta Chi tank. The tank is even available in extra long/tall sizes which I appreciate. (Not affiliate links, just highly recommended products.)
Focus on Nutrition for Peak Performance
I mentioned in my training recaps recently that I’ve been craving red meat more. That’s fairly normal for me when I increase my training load. I’ve learned in the past not to ignore that craving. I’ve dealt with low iron levels before. While the last time my low iron turned out to be pseudo-anemia, I don’t want to ever flirt with actual anemia.
I’m also aiming to minimize added sugar this time around. Minimize – not eliminate! Birthdays, celebrations, and special trips will still warrant treats. Although for my birthday this week I’m wanting to indulge in a glass of sloe gin more than a cake.
During my last round of marathon training, my sweet tooth got the better of me at times – which for me is a signal that I’m not eating enough or enough of the right foods.Interestingly enough, as I have been tracking what I eat this training cycle, I kept my sweet cravings under control. At most, I crave dark chocolate and fresh fruit.
Of course, I still have my beloved 88% dark chocolate – that’s too good to give up. Recently any baking (homemade bread and a pie when we had wild blackberries) has been done with honey or pure maple syrup, rather than refined sugars.
My goal is to minimize inflammation and keep my blood sugar steady. This is part of training nutrition, and part for health reasons. In terms of training, I do want to reach a healthy racing weight and feel energized and strong during training. For me personally, that means limiting sugar and fueling up on lean protein, whole grains, nuts/seeds, fruits, and vegetables. In terms of health, minimizing sugar is one of the best steps right now that I can take to manage my endometriosis/hormonal disorder. Even though I’m medicated for those, diet is always a factor.
Lift Heavier Weights at Least Once Per Week
Check! Now to work on my pull ups and maybe lift twice a week (ideally) before marathon training becomes too demanding of my time and energy.
I find that I like to stick with a weight lifting routine for 4-8 weeks and then mix it up. Varying it too frequently feels like hodgepodge to me and I benefit more when I consistently do the same exercises and focus on increasing weight or reps.
Grow My Coaching Business
As I say each month, I love working with runners to help them achieve their goals. What’s most exciting right now is how I have runners across multiple distances: 10K, 10 miler, half marathon, and marathon.
Are you searching for a running coach? I’m currently taking new athletes! You can learn more about my coaching services here or email me at lauranorris(at)thisrunnersrecipes.com
What’s your favorite month of the year?
How did you do on working towards your goals this year?