On the 4th of November 2018, I will line up for the Soweto Half Marathon in South Africa. Soweto is a tough and challenging race but it also has such an amazing vibe. This will only be my second Half Marathon but I am really excited and looking forward to taking on those Crazy Hills!
A month ago I committed to 6 goals as part of my 14-week training cycle for Soweto. When I trained for my first Half Marathon the focus was on making the distance and getting to the Finish Line. However, for Soweto I really wanted to take a more holistic approach to my training and become stronger as a runner and healthier as a person.
This is how my first month went:
1 – Focus on Nutrition. I set a goal of losing 5 kg by November but with the main focus being to establish healthy eating habits. Using My Fitness Pal App to track what I am consuming, I am ecstatic to say that in just one month, I have lost 3 kg!! (This is after staying the same weight for over two years even with all the running). I am over the moon. I have set the app to calculate my caloric intake to lose 0.5 kg a week. For me, it works out to around 1,400 calories. What I love is that when I exercise, the extra calories I burn get added to my daily intake. This is what I think is making a difference:
- Recording what I eat makes me think twice about having a second helping or eating an empty snack.
- I have 3 main meals a day with 2 snacks, mid-morning and afternoon. I usually start the day with cereal/oats and berries. I also make sure I have a healthy lunch box and keep it simple – soup or salad. I have some healthy snacks at the office so I am never “forced” to eat something I know I shouldn’t! By the time I get home, I am not starving but I’m definitely ready for supper. I find having a cup of rooibos tea after supper also prevents me from mindless snacking.
- I weigh in once a week and on this day I ditch the calorie counting. After my Long Runs, I indulge in one (or two) treats but I STILL record everything so I don’t go overboard.
Balancing the macros has been tough. I’m taking in too much fat (sometimes 54% instead of 20%). In September, I have to focus on reducing this fat %. [August Score: 10/10]
2 – Increase Fluid Intake. I set a goal to drink 2L of water a day. But I am lucky if I manage 1L. I am really struggling as I simply seem to forget to drink. But now that the days are warming up, I think it will be easier to hit my target. [August Score: 3/10]
3 – Run With Purpose. In my Six Goals Post, I wrote “My tempo runs can be faster. My hill runs can be stronger. I need to allow myself to feel the pain and burn a bit more.” I am very proud to say I really pushed hard this month, doing 3 runs/week without fail. When I started my training, I had an on-off cold that I just couldn’t shake off. But I SHOWED UP for each run and pushed HARD whilst juggling tight work deadlines as well as family and social commitments. [August Score: 10/10]. Here is a quick summary:
Easy Runs: My first run was pretty slow and tough (5 km in just under 40 min) but I was so happy to have officially started training again. I started this month really determined and enthusiastic and I didn’t want anything to get in the way. So much so, that one evening I had a dinner to attend after work and I made sure I got the run done first, then quickly changed in the car, and rocked up in my heels!
There was a period (mid-month) that I started feeling very run down from my mysterious cold and long working hours. I also felt disappointed with the quality of my runs. I felt I was putting in all the work but not getting the results I deserved. Anyway, down and glum, one day I decided to run early morning instead of after work. The sky was beautifully blue and the air was crisp and clean. With so little effort, I was running taller and moving faster to a new 5 km PB! That was the motivation I needed to keep going, even if feels like a struggle sometimes.
Speedy Runs: These runs have been so much fun. I did a Fartlek Run one day with the kids, dogs and hubby in tow! My fastest Fartlek interval was 05:06 min/ km which I was pretty proud of.
I also did my first ever Mile Trial and it happened to be on our tenth wedding anniversary. 🙂 My 10:25 min/mile apparently just sneaks me into the “moderately fit” category!
On my Tempo Run this week, I managed a new PB. Again, it was another morning run and for the first time I played music while I ran. Jordin Sparks’ “Battlefield” was perfect for my tempo intervals.
Hill Repeats: Soweto is all about the HILLS so my Coach has me doing a lot of these! Gaborone is so FLAT that it’s hard to get any real inclines in so when hills are on the menu we run at Mokolodi which is perfect for hill practice.
Long Runs: I have managed all but one of my Long Runs. All of these are done as a group which makes it so much more fun. We all start together but go at our own pace and usually have a smoothie or coffee together afterwards.
The last Long Run was 10 km and as there was a race on that weekend, I decided to use the race as a training run. Aside from the usual race jitters, I was more relaxed than usual and set off at quite a fast pace. I decided to maintain this and see how far I could push it. My race pace was 07:14 min/ km. I am definitely pushing myself a lot more!
4 – 10, 000 Steps Per Day. This is hard! Things are good on days when I workout – always over 10, 000. My range is between 1,621 and 18, 903. When I average things out for August it comes to 7,155 steps/day. I’m quite happy with my average score as I thought it would be a lot worse! However, with such a sedentary job I need to keep pushing myself to be more active in the evenings when I am not running. Let me try for at least 5,000 steps on the days I am not running. This plus my increasing weekly mileage will hopefully push my overall daily average to 10, 000. [August Score: 7/10]
5 – Improve Flexibility and Balance. I finally returned to pilates classes and in the last two weeks I have managed two classes/week. My initial goal was just one class/week. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I grab the kids when I get home, drop them off in the kids play area, and then head to class. I realise I have lost so much core strength and flexibility but at least I have started again and my goal is to remain consistent. [August Score: 10/10]
6 – Improve Strength Training. In my Six Goals Post I wrote, “I know how much better a runner I can be if I improve my form”. If I know this, why am I struggling to do strength training? This month I did close to nothing. So… let me re-commit to one Grid/Shape class a week. Coach Nicola has also given me a great 25-min strengthening routine if I don’t make it to gym. For September, let’s see if I can do 3 days/week of strength training whether it is gym class or my coach’s routine. [August Score: 0/10]
There you have it – it hasn’t been a bad month at all. I am so pleased about my running, nutrition and starting pilates again. But I really need to work on my strength, water intake, and steps! I will get there – I am in such a good head space and so glad my training is focused on overall health. In numbers:
[Soweto Training Cycle: 86 km | 2018 Mileage: 498.25 km| August Gym Time: 4 Days]
I am joining Running on Happy, Coach Debbie Runs, Train with Marc, and Crazy Running Girl for the Coaches’ Corner Link Up! I am also linking up with Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five 2.0 linkup!