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?
Wow you’re doing an amazing job on your goals girl! 🙂 I would really like to work on my pull up game this month and try to figure out or at least narrow in on some foods that kind of make my stomach go bonkers. How did you do your low carb runs? Did you feel like bonking at all in any of them?
Thank you, Emily! Narrowing in on food sensitivities is a good goal! After I figured out mine last year (high-lactose dairy, cruciferous vegetables, some legumes) and it made such a difference. Good luck with yours!
My low carb runs went well! I didn’t bonk on any of them, which was good – although I was hungry and ate well afterwards!
Looks like you have had a great start to marathon training. Fall is my favorite time of year, although I spend it dreading the winter. I try to just appreciate and soak in the summer but know that cooler days are right around the corner. September is nice because the weather is still pretty warm usually!
Thank you, Lisa! September weather is always so nice! I do dread the darkness of winter though – summer has such nice long hours of daylight!
I used to say june was my favorite (for my birthday) but then I switched to loving fall even more than that since I had gotten engaged, married and then my son was born all around the same time of year over the course of a few years. So those moments took over as favorites!
Those are good moments! Fall is the best time of year for exciting things to happen it seems!
I have a few months that I’m not the biggest fan of, but they all have their highlights, or so I keep telling myself. I’m going back to my priorities > goals thing. I’m getting too focused on numbers again, and it is getting me down. But you are, as always, kicking ass and taking names!
Thank you! Yes, stay focused on priorities over numbers! Numbers can be beneficial but it’s so easy to get wrapped up in them.
My favorite month is October. It’s football season, we have a ton of road races here, my birthday’s in October, and cooler weather. I’m excited because September is almost here which means Halloween is coming and it’s almost Fall!
You are doing a great job so far with marathon training, I’m glad you’ve been able to stay injury-free throughout training so far and get a lot of quality workouts in. I also love the bullet shorts from saucony and probably need to invest in a few more pairs for the Fall racing season (although the 3 pairs I do have aren’t showing any wear bc they are truly great shorts).
October is a great month also – perfect weather! Thank you! The Bullet shorts are so high quality that the don’t wear at all – but they’re great to have on hand! I think I just saw on Saucony’s website that they have them on sale right now in some of the colors.
I love enduropacks spray! I add it in my water during runs if I’m not feeling like a flavored water. I also do most runs without fuel, and when I do add it in my run improves 100 percent. I’m doing that train low/race high thing so I’m hoping it helps get me over that wall!
It really does make the difference on no-fuel runs as well! I can’t stand flavored electrolyte beverages except during races so I love how it is flavorless. I hope your training is going well, especially with train low/race high!
September is one of my favorite months, although I wish it were a little bit cooler. I love September because everyone seems to come back to life: students are back in school, lots of events are popping up around the community, and the anticipation of fall is in the air. I think my absolute favorite month is November. It is like October’s more chill cousin: still has the beauty of fall but without all the craziness, as race season is winding down, Halloween is over, and it’s almost time for Thanksgiving which means good food, family, and friends.
Great job with your goals! I think summer is a difficult time of year in terms of diet. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel you on things like sugar/red meat cravings. It’s weird because summer is supposed to be the healthiest season but I find myself eating the worst during the summer months!
Thank you! November is a great month also – cool weather, Thanksgiving, and just a relaxing month in general. Summer is tricky for food cravings – I didn’t succumb to ice cream as much as last summer, but burgers are irresistible in summer! Thank goodness that all the vegetables are good as well, so it balances out.
Sounds like a great month for working on your goals! I am trying to find my marathon outfit, maybe I will try those shorts you mention.
This month I am focusing on staying rested and recovered for the marathon come October! Also hoping to build a little more speed and endurance in these last 6 weeks.
These are all such great goals and you are dong great at holding yourself accountable. Do you have any tips for becoming more consistent with core? I just hate doing abs! I’m glad you said minimize, not eliminate 🙂 Sometimes those desserts are good for the soul 🙂
Thank you! I’ve found that Pilates at least once a week helps me stay more consistent. It’s more laidback and relaxing than traditional core work and the stretch feels so good (almost like yoga)- but it also provides a seriously tough workout for the core!
Great training week 🙂
And best of luck at the marathon you’re training for!! I cannot wait to read your recap on that.
It’ll be a great motivational read for me before my marathon in December.
Desserts- I’m not a big fan of desserts after dinner every day, only occasionally…but I did buy all the ingredients to bake the brownie fudge pie. yum. Just writing about it makes me want to eat it right now! (but gotta make it first..)
Thank you! I hope your marathon training is going well! Occasional desserts are what I prefer as well – although with all the birthdays and anniversaries in September it’s easy for them to become more frequent. Brownie fudge pie sounds so decadent and tasty!
You have it all planned out… now you just have to put it in action 🙂