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!
At the beginning of August, I committed to 6 goals as part of my 14-week training cycle for Soweto. August went really well – I managed all but one of my runs; I worked hard on eating well and lost 3 kg; and after a long hiatus I returned to pilates classes. However, I didn’t do as well on strengthening exercises, drinking water, and reaching my 10,000 steps goal on days I wasn’t running. Let’s look at how September went:
1 – Focus on Nutrition. In terms of actual weight loss I was disappointed. I managed a meagre 0.6 kg loss meaning I have my work cut out for me in November if I’m to hit my 5 kg target. As positives though, I’ve been consistent using My Fitness Pal App to track what I am consuming. Last month I was overdoing my fat intake but with a few tweaks and food substitutions I have made some improvements. This was my best day:
I am also a lot more conscious of what I am eating which is a huge thing for me. Sometimes though, I have to estimate calories when I haven’t prepared the food myself. So it is quite possible that in such cases I may be underestimating the caloric value? Or maybe I am just building muscle as my training intensifies? I am not too concerned as I have done well where it counts which is making healthier food choices [September Score: 8/10]
2 – Increase Fluid Intake. For the first half of the month, I still struggled to reach my 2-litre daily goal. But in the last 10 days, I have managed 1.5 – 2 litres on most days. It’s not been easy but I am getting there! [September Score: 5/10]
3 – Run With Purpose. I missed three runs this month, one because of work commitments and two (including a 16 km Long Run) because of a bad stomach bug. But otherwise I did quite well and I can really feel some improvement. [September Score: 8/10].
Speedy Runs: There has been a lot of speed work on the plan this month and I have had a lot of fun. My favourites were the Out and Back Pace Workout and Lactate Threshold Interval Training. For the pace workout, I ran out for 15 minutes and the goal was to make it back 1 – 2 minutes faster. It was such a thrill chasing down those minutes.
It was my first time doing Lactate Threshold Interval Training and I was very pleased with some of my 200 m interval splits.
Hill Repeats: We continued with our Hill Runs at Mokolodi and I did one of the runs at the fastest pace I have managed so far. It was a Goldilocks run where everything from the weather to my legs felt “just right”. 🙂
Long Runs: My first one this month was a 14 km run where my watch recorded my “fastest very long run”! I felt incredible and although I started at a pace that was faster than usual I managed to hold it comfortably for the full duration of the run.
As I was doing a 40 km Hike on one of the Saturdays, I squeezed in the scheduled 10 km Run for a Thursday when I had the day off work. It was a tough run and a good reminder that there is nothing like “just a 10k!”.
I did a 16 km Long Run on a cloudy and blustery day. I spent the first 4 km running with Elisa but I was alone for the remaining 12 km which made it quite a tough mental game for this chatterbox. 🙂 But I ran strong and improved my last 16 km time by FIVE minutes. It was such a great feeling and it’s moments like this that show me that I am improving.
My last Long Run of the month was a 16 km Trail Race in the Magaliesburg Mountains of South Africa. We had long chosen to mark our tenth wedding anniversary with a trail run. It was amazing but what a tough challenge with hills upon hills upon hills. But very good training for my Soweto Half Marathon and a well-deserved lunch at the end!
4 – 10, 000 Steps Per Day. This continues to be hard. I can’t move much than I’m already doing at work and the fact that I work through lunch doesn’t help. However, at home I’ve tried to be much more active. I also sort of cheated and squeezed in a 9-hour 40 km hike which greatly improved my average step count this month!
My watch died after 35 km but at least it captured all the steps up to that point. So it is with great pride that I say my range this month is between 1,496 and 51, 097 (!!). The long runs this month also helped. All this brings my average for September to 8, 805 steps/day which is 1,650 MORE daily steps than last month. [September Score: 8.5/10]
5 – Improve Flexibility and Balance. I have remained consistent with my bi-weekly pilates sessions and I’ve already noticed a few changes – I can now do more movements than I could when I started in mid-August showing I have a bit more core strength; I’m running taller and I am a lot more conscious of my form and breathing. When I started feeling tired on one of my Long Runs, I consciously corrected my posture and it immediately made a difference. Also, pilates breathing has really helped give me the needed kick during my Hill Repeats. I’ve also really just loved relieving stress through pilates after a long day at work and relaxing my tense muscles after a run. [September Score: 10/10]
6 – Improve Strength Training. Last month I scored 0/10 for this – this month was not much better but I put in a good effort the last week with one strength class (hey, every bit counts!). My 40 km hike and trail run also turned out to be great workouts for my glutes! Some improvement but there is room for a whole lot more. [September Score: 2/10]
[Soweto Training Cycle: 215.63 km | 2018 Mileage: 627.88 km| September Gym Time: 6 Days]
Also, in case you missed any of this month’s posts, here are the links, enjoy 🙂
- Seven Lessons from an Obstacle Course Race
- Soweto Training Eating Plan
- Five Benefits of Hiking for Runners
- BDF Mogoditshane Race Recap