Trust the Process: 2016 Running Goals Check In

Trust the Process: Goals Check in for March 2016

Achieving goals, like anything in life, ebbs and flows. Some months (like last month), you accomplish several large goals, while other months focus on the little things. While these little things may seem insignificant, the fine details always add up over time—you just have to trust the process.

New to This Runner’s Recipes? Catch up on my 2016 Running Goals, January check in, and February check in

Michele at NYC Running Mama shared a post earlier this week on learning to trust the process. You should certainly read it for yourself (she’s an incredibly talented runner and writer), but I’ll share a passage that resounded with me:

“It’s about staying consistent. Working hard. Following your training plan (slowing down on the easy days, taking days off when you need to). Aiming high but only reaching for what’s within your grasp. Keeping your head down and working hard but occasionally looking up to enjoy the view as you are climbing your way up. Staying the course even when you get bumped back a few steps. Trying to be just a little bit better than you were yesterday.”

That’s what these months of seemingly fewer accomplishments truly are: times in which we learn to trust the process. The process that includes easy runs, strength training, recovery, and building self confidence; the process that makes the pursuit of goals all the worthwhile. At the end of the day, a finish time is merely a finish time, but who you become and what you learn in the process matters.

Trust the Process: 2016 Running Goals Check In

So how did I do with my 2016 goals in the month of March?

Run a Sub-1:40 Half Marathon

As many regular readers know, I ran a 1:38:40 at the Lake Sammamish Half Marathon on March 5, so this goal is completed. PRs are never fluke races, but I love the half marathon and want to break that mark again. Of course, I don’t like racing during marathon training, because I always like to taper and then push myself to my limits in the race.

Trust the Process: 2016 Running Goals Check In

Maybe late fall half marathon will happen, although with a shorter and less intense training period now that I’m already in the sub-100 minute zone. Or maybe I’ll emerge on the other side of the marathon with no desire to see another finish line for the remainder of the calendar year. We shall see.


PR in the Marathon

Marathon training starts on Monday! What? How did that happen? Since perhaps preparing my marathon training plan is the most progress I made on goals since the last check in, I’ll share more about that then any of the other goals.

I signed up for the Jack and Jill Downhill Marathon way back in November, when July 31 seemed forever away. Yes, July can be hot, but this is mild Seattle and the race begins in the mountains, where it’s usually cold in the mornings, even in the summer. If it is hot, I’ll worry about that on race day; weather is completely beyond my control so no point in worrying about it.

The race begins at 2500 feet, which thankfully isn’t high enough elevation to affect running and we consistently hike at higher elevation often, so my lungs should be okay. The course then gradually loses 2000 feet, which appears barely noticeable on the map but I know that hill running and strength training will be vital for not trashing my quads. The gravel/dirt trails will decrease the impact of running downhill at least.

If there’s a marathon for me, it’s the Jack and Jill Marathon. It’s scenic, on a non-technical flat trail rather than roads, and small – just like the Lake Sammamish Half which was my favorite race so far. Big city road races are not for me, as much as I enjoyed the Portland Marathon

Based on my 1:38:40 half marathon time, many race equivalency calculator predict I could run a 3:25:xx full marathon. Ha! Yeah, right. As with half marathon training, I plan on running based on effort, doing a specific endurance test a bit out from the race, and seeing where I end up. Finish time matters less to me than enjoying training and running a strong race.

I do not want marathon training to consume my life, but I also don’t want to cross the finish line and wish I had trained and raced to my potential. Marathons are a once a year (at most) event for me. I want to train with my best effort without letting family, work, and hiking fall out of balance, to trust the process, and to enjoy the journey.

Hike the Snoqualmie to Stevens Pass Section of the Pacific Crest Trail.

Ryan and I honestly have not given much thought to this since we talked about it last year. Right now we’re just waiting for the snow to melt so we can resume longer hikes. There’s several 10-20 mile hikes in Snoqualmie Pass and Stevens Pass that are calling our name. Even if we pull off one 20 mile hike this year, I’ll be happy!

Trust the Process: 2016 Running Goals Check In

Master Nutrition and Hydration for Races

Besides following a cookie cutter training plan, one area where I struggled in marathon training last time was my day to day nutrition. I probably was not eating enough—not intentionally, but because I was burning a lot of calories with running, hiking, and strength training and couldn’t merely rely upon hunger. Undereating has significant ramifications for marathon training, including increasing your likelihood of overtraining, negatively affecting athletic performance, and/or hitting the wall during the race (not to mention, more seriously, health isssues).

So, this time around, I’m following a loose nutrition plan. I’ll follow the carbohydrate recommendations from Matt Fitzgerald’s The New Rules of Marathon and Half Marathon Nutrition and emphasize eating enough fat as well (protein isn’t as much as an issue for me, even though I eat meatless roughly 60% of the time). I plan on writing a whole post on marathon nutrition planning soon, so I won’t go into more detail here.

Grow My Coaching Business

March produced many exciting new opportunities for coaching! I took on more new athletes, successfully launched the first round of my Master Your Fueling and Hydration e-Course, and began working on a very exciting new project.

Fall marathons are wildly popular, and runners benefit enormously both from training with a coach and receiving the support of other marathoners. So, starting in June and extending through fall marathon season (so all fall marathoners have the chance to train, whether they’re running an earlier race like Portland or Wineglass or a later race like MCM or NYCM), I will be offering a marathon training camp for all levels of marathoners to provide coaching and community. The full reveal will happen later this month and sign up will begin in late April/early May, so stay tuned for more details. Needless to say, I’m extremely excited about this project!!

Expand My Pilates Practice

Over the past few months I’ve tried new Pilates videos (and love the ones by Pilatesoloy) and incorporated Pilates usually twice a week into my training. This month, I want to aim to extend the duration of my practice, preferably to at least an hour a week.

Freelance Writing

I published another article for Women’s Running: 6 Reasons Bad Races Make Good Runners.  I also wrote a guest post over at Run to the Finish, which while that’s not freelance writing, the post is one of my favorites I’ve written so far: Master the 10K.

Linking up with Thinking Out Loud and What’s New with You

How are you doing in accomplishing your goals? Do you trust the process? 
Have you ever run a net downhill race? What tips would you have?

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22 Responses

  1. I am excited for all of your new projects and to follow your training! I wish I was training for a marathon for the fall so I could benefit from your wisdom lol. I have to pick a fall half though, I am considering a few, but can’t decide just yet (need to see how my cycle falls – so annoying!). I am jealous that the weather for you in july can be decent – the races here drop to only early morning 5k’s by june. It gets way too hot and humid.

    1. Thank you! There’s still plenty of time to sign up for fall marathons besides NYCM lol 😉 Excited for what half you decide for fall! The race calendar out here is a lot different than so much of the country – racing is a year round option and then there’s definitely a trail running season as well. Last July’s weather was awful with the heat wave but we are still getting snow in the mountains which should mean a cooler summer.

  2. You are so driven and I love it. Send some of that over here for the moment and help me grow a bit, please. I have run a net downhill race (for phoenix) and my biggest pieces of advice would be to work on glute activation in order to take some of the pressure off your quads, ITB and knees as well as NOT TO GO OUT TOO FAST. Sooooo many people go out too fast (particularly if it starts on a downhill, I don’t know if your race does), and they may not tap out due to not having enough energy at the end, but their legs are shot.

    1. Thank you! Yes, I thought of Phoenix with downhill marathons! Going out too fast wrecks me at any race so already my plan is to start a bit slower than whatever ends up being my goal pace since it does start on a downhill. And definitely working on my glutes all the time, so thank you! 🙂

  3. Its so important to remember to trust the process. We can’t always be accomplishing goals, there needs to be time to back off and build in between. Even the times that are a struggle should be a learning opportunity! Looks like you had a great month focusing on recovering from your half and getting ready to start training again!

  4. Awesome job on your goals–your drive definitely helps push me! I know I need to trust the process, but mentally, that’s the toughest part for me. Whenever I do easy runs, I worry I won’t be prepared and that every single run needs to be close to my goal pace. However, I am taking your advice and following your plan when it comes to my easy runs, so don’t worry! I did a 10 miler last April that was a net downhill race, and it helped that I didn’t start out too fast. It was tempting to do so, because the first mile was all downhill, but I conserved my energy in order to tackle the hill at mile 9 and finished strong.

    1. Thank you so much, Jen! Trusting the process is such a tough part for us all – there are always those worries and doubts that sneak up. And thanks for the advice 🙂 Starting out slow helps me in races, so I’ll definitely be keeping it easy for the first few miles of the marathon 🙂

    1. NYCM always looks like such a once in a lifetime experience when I watch the race, so that is so exciting for you! Especially since it’s your hometown. 🙂

  5. In 2008, in an effort to qualify for Boston I ran the Tuscon marathon which starts up high and comes down drastically in the first 6 or so miles and then flattens out. It was by far the worst marathon I have ever run because of that downhill. My legs were trashed and ended up seizing in the mile 20s, and I had to walk in. IT SUCKED. I ended up qualifying at home in Vancouver, a beautiful course that is not easy at all. But it felt so much better on my legs to have different muscles working at different times.

    1. Ooofff that sounds tough!! Yes I’ve heard Vancouver is tough (I looked at the course when considering marathons and omg the hills on that thing look killer), but you are so strong and fast that it doesn’t surprise me that was a BQ course for you 🙂 The downhill is very gradual on this one, I think based on the map and the reviews I read said the drop was imperceptible most of the time. So let’s just hope that July 31 first me doesn’t hate early November me 🙂

  6. Excited to hear that your coaching business is going well! I think your fall marathon boot camp is such a good idea. Because you are right, there are sooooo many fall marathoners out there, many of them first timers, who could benefit from that community. When I was training for my first marathon I really valued having the input and support of so many new blog friends – many of whom are still blog buddies to this day. I am excited to NOT do a marathon this fall, lol. I still need to decide what exactly I want to do, but the good thing with shorter races is that I have plenty of time 🙂

    1. Oh thank you! I’m really hoping it will help runners! I’m excited to see what you choose for fall races. That is the nice thing about shorter races – especially with a good base you can sign up for even a half just 8 weeks out and even less for shorter races. Not MONTHS like it is for a marathon 🙂

  7. Many times I can struggle with the concept of “trust the process”. Although with some changes I have made this year to my overall training (as in everything…not just running); I am working VERY HARD to trust the process. I am not (necessarily) trying to place at any event that I participate in; I want to cross each and every finish line injury free and (mostly) having fun. 🙂

    1. It’s a constant struggle for most runners, I truly believe – based on my own experience and what many are saying in the comments. But seeing the results of your hard work, especially enjoying the races and staying injury free (both of which are huge – some runners can win races, get PRs, and still never achieve either of those), will definitely build confidence in the process 🙂

  8. congrats on your goals! i loved that 6 reasons bad races make good runners article, all of it was so true and has me motivated for my next race (as the last few were on the bad side). good luck with your marathon! thanks for linking up with us 🙂

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