Training for Soweto, September Review

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.

18 Sept: Pace Workout, 3.88 km – 28:45

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”. 🙂

12 Sept: Hills 6 km – 44:39 (new PB – 07:26 pace)
19 Sept: Hills 6 km – 47:10

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.

01 Sept: Long Run, 14 km – 1:45:56 (07:20 Pace)

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!”.

06 Sept: Long Run 10 km – 1:16:40 (07:32 Pace)

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.

22 Sept: Long Run 16 km – 2:00:48 (07:32 Pace)

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!

29 Sept: Trail Race 15:69 km – 2:21:46 (09:03 Pace)

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 🙂

I am excited to be linking up once again with my favourite ladies, Holly from HoHo Runs and Wendy from Taking the Long Way Home for the Weekly Wrap (or in my case MONTHLY wrap!)

29 thoughts on “Training for Soweto, September Review

  1. I’ve been hearing nutritionists are now saying count macros instead of calories, and focus on whole foods. I’m also trying to do that, and I just got Run Fast Eat Fast Cook Slow. It’s so hard to stick with whole foods when there are entire aisles for cookies and chips.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True! And sometimes that cookie just hits the spot, LOL! One nutritionist also told me how important the macros are and I think that’s what’s letting me down at the moment. Let me search for that book; thanks for the recommendation Lesley 🙂


  2. It’s been so much fun reading your journey and getting to know you over the past year or so! I’ve seen you come a long way. Excited for you to run your second half marathon. It looks so gorgeous there–I wish I could join you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Whew – you’ve had quite the busy month!

    Don’t get too discouraged about your weight loss. What’s most important is that you’re making smarter food choices and that will definitely pay off in the long run.

    One trick that helps me drink more water is adding fruit to it, specifically lemon or lime. Just that little boost of flavor helps a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kim! I’m really trying to stay focused on the bigger picture and not on the number on the scale. But it’s hard especially when you expect to lose more given all your efforts, LOL. Thanks for the water tip. I really need help reaching my daily goal 😘


  4. Congrats on the weight loss – it’s so hard! I have not been good with drinking water, and never get many steps unless I go for a run. I get more steps now with walking Scooby, but still not 10K.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It sounds like you are making so much progress, especially when you compare your goals from month to month! Those small improvements really do add up. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sounds like a great month! I’m working on the nutrition as well and it’s definitely tough. But I think concentrating on making healthy choices seems to pay off in the long run 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great job with your running this past month! It looks like your cross-training is working wonders, in addition to those speed workouts! And happy anniversary! Going on a trail to celebrate sounds like something my fiance and I would do 🙂

    I am using MyFitnessPal as well and while I don’t have the detailed statistics, it’s been helping me stay honest. I’m committing to using it more consistently this month!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember your fiance even proposed out on a run! It was such a cool way to mark 10 years of marriage and a great way to start the long weekend we had planned!

      MFP is great for keeping you accountable. There have been several moments when I have been tempted to cheat and then I remember I will have to record it… somehow that makes me quickly change my mind, LOL!


  8. Happy Anniversary! A trail race sounds like the perfect way to celebrate too. Five minutes is a huge improvement in your 16k time. You should be proud of that as well as all of your accomplishments this so far this year! Thanks for linking!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I was just saying to a friend that the reason imperial is “better” than metric is that in her walk a marathon challenge she’d only have to walk a mile for 26 days instead of a KM for 42. I think I found the counterpoint – our paces sound so much better in KMs 😀
    Congrats on the progress – I had a similar skewed month when I did part of the Great Saunter, a 33 mile walk around Manhattan

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I didn’t do the entirety of the Saunter. After about 26 miles it’s deadly boring and passes my apartment. One day I’ll finish.


  10. I really like MyFitness Pal for getting back on track when I’ve been slipping with my nutrition. I also recommend my clients use it when they’re looking to lose weight. I love seeing the pictures of you and your friends. You always look like you’re having so much fun!


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