Fall Racing: Schedule and Goals

Welp, it’s officially Fall.

I’ve lamented the end of Summer, but I am excited for Fall running! It also doesn’t hurt that I just ordered myself some fun new cold-weather gear and am excited to wear it.

With the first race of the season behind me, I’m starting to look at my calendar and get excited about all the awesome races I have coming up in the next couple of months! I’ve never raced so much in a short amount of time. In the past I’ve kept it to a half marathon weeks and then eventually a full marathon, and that’s all I do in a calendar year.

I wanted to do something different this year though. I wanted to race more, race differently, and have a lot of fun doing it!

Coming up I’ve got the following:

  • Soulstice Mountain Trail Race, October 10th. (11 miles with some insane climbs) Another trail race, with some intense elevation change, I don’t have too  much in mind for this other than to enjoy it. Soulstice is a huge event for the trail running community in Flag, and I’m really excited to be a part of it this year!
  • Ragnar McDowell Mountain. (November 6&7, 15ish miles total). I’ve never done a Ragnar and I’m really looking forward to my first and have it be a trail race as well. I’ve heard great things about it from people on my team that have done it before.
  • Girls on the Run 5k. (November 21) This isn’t actually a race, but I’m including it anyway. The AZ Oiselle gals are meeting up to run with a girl from Girls on the Run and help her finish her 5k. I’m really excited to do this. Right before I started working at the gallery, I had been looking into becoming a coach for Girls on the Run, but unfortunately didn’t have the time then. I’m excited to meet the Oiselle ladies and help out at such an awesome event. I’ll probably do a longer training run beforehand to get some marathon-training worthy miles in.
  • Tucson Half Marathon (Tentative. December 6). I haven’t registered for this yet, but I am seriously contemplating it. J and I would make a weekend out of it–my best friend and younger brother are in Tucson, so we could go and spend time with them, and I could run a half and have a solid test of my fitness with 10 weeks to go before the marathon. It’s a net downhill course and I got it in my mind that it would be fun to shoot for my sub-1:40 there.

Since marathon training will officially kickstart in November, I’m trying to figure out how I want to balance my training for a goal race, while also racing quite a bit. The thing I’m really quite excited for, is I’m going to have quite the base already built up before marathon training starts. I want to keep my long runs at about 10-13 miles for the next few weeks. I was considering “tapering” for the Soulstice Mountain run in a few weeks, but since I am taking this week very easy, I’ll treat the next few weeks as training, and include Soulstice as a harder effort long run.

With some of these things in mind, here are my goals for this training season.

  1. Stay Healthy. Run Smart. First and foremost, treat my body with love and care. I’m taking it easy this week after my back really started to hurt on Monday’s run. Since then, I’ve done a barre workout and a vinyasa yoga session. This morning, I put the treadmill at a 10% incline and walked uphill for 2 miles (good practice for Soulstice!) and then did 2 easy miles to test out the back. It felt much better and I’m confident that I’ll be back at it next week. The important thing was, however, that I realized I needed to let it rest, and that’s what I did. It’s no sprained ankle, but it did cost me a few miles, and that’s okay. I have plenty of time to run all the miles. I want to let my body rest when it needs to rest and be okay skipping a workout here and there. Maybe that’ll be an extra easy run one week, or an extra rest day completely. I’m not going to make myself stick to a hard and fast schedule with such a long season ahead of me. Keeping myself healthy and feeling good–avoiding the burnout–will be imperative to reaching my ultimate goal.
  2. Speedwork! I’ve neglected any kind of regimented speedwork for almost 7 months now, and I can tell. I’ve hit a few sub-8’s on runs, but overall an 8 min/mile pace still feels like a lot of effort–and that’s gotta change. Since my endurance is built and I’ve got a solid base to work with, the next few weeks are going to see an introduction to speed workouts. Eventually, I’d like to get one track-like workout in, a fartlek/tempo/progression run, and fast miles during my long run each week. My biggest barrier during a marathon is falling apart once I start to feel fatigued. I’m hoping that by incorporating more speedwork (and sticking to it!), will help me in the last few miles of the marathon.
  3. Stretch/yoga/roll: Again, something I always say I need to do and never do it. I recently signed up for a trial subscription to Jasyoga. It’s only $4.99/month and she’s got several short “reset” yoga videos (I’m talkin 10-15 min). It’s completely doable and will be hard to justify my way out of NOT doing them. If I can incorporate them after a hard run/longer run and give my body more TLC during training, I’m pretty confident I’ll stay more fresh and enjoy myself a whole lot more.
  4. Don’t be afraid to say no. I’m working full time, going to school, and training for a 3:30 marathon. If all I want to do is come home after work, crash on the couch and watch TV, I’m going to. I am not going to be afraid to tell anybody no, if I don’t feel like being social.
  5. Maintain balance. On the other hand of that though, I don’t want to completely become a hermit until February 14th. I do want to ensure that I’m spending time with the people I love, and enjoying myself. It’s all about balance people!
  6. Pay attention to nutrition. It happens every cycle. I get busy, my days get long and crazy and I start to eat like crap. I want to be better about meal planning/prepping on the weekends so Jeff AND myself are still eating well during the next few months.
  7. HAVE FUN! I want to enjoy every second of this. I want to work hard and see the results. I want to enjoy every race. I want to meet new people and maybe find friends to run cold, winter miles with. I want to toe the start line in February, after months of work, and feel excited for the 26.2 ahead of me. I don’t want to feel dread and burnt out from it!

    So there you have it! Bring it on fall! Let’s see what you’ve got!