Readers Roundtable: What’s Your Fall Race Goal?


Is it hot in here, or is it just me? Oh yeah, that’s theย end-of-summer heat wave that’s been frying most of the US this week.

Even though I’m wringing a pint of sweat out of my sports bra, I know that the autumn equinox was last Friday. So grab a pumpkin spice latte and crack open your sweater drawer: it’s officially fall, baby!

Around here, fall means races … Races … RACES! And, of course, fall also means it’s time to check in with you, dear readers. What races are coming up for you? Are you trying a new plan or sticking to the tried and true? And the big one, what you hope to accomplish this fall?

And remember, goals are so much more than simply running a certain distance in a certain time! Goal setting is much more complex than that. Sure, setting a big PR is great! But sometimes process goals have the biggest payoffs.

What are your goals for the 2017 fall season? How did you set them and why?

Cinnamon made Salty Running, takes lots of pictures and drinks lots of coffee. She has 8 more minutes to knock off her marathon for a 3:40 BQ, and will get there or die trying. Her writing is an eclectic mix of finding wholeness as an average runner, news reporting, curious reactions, satirical humor and more.

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  1. I’m hoping for a PR at Steamtown! My youngest is 8 months old, so I’m also completely fine with giving myself some grace if it doesn’t pan out! I have had a pretty solid training cycle though, so we will see!

  2. My fall goal is centered around my Birthday race in November. I PR’ed there last year (it’s a 5K), and this time I really want to TRAIN for it and see just how fast I can get before I extend the distance (for my pace and life, longer races are not trainable with my schedule). But I’m also so excited to be running with my 8 year old and training him for it too. He is improving week by week- it’s actually a legit run we do together now instead of me holding back the whole time. Woot!

  3. My goal for my fall marathon (Baystate) is… I don’t know yet. I don’t know what the next four weeks will look like – chances are I’ll be overworked and exhausted and not sleeping. But I have 14 weeks and more than 400 miles of solid training under my belt at this point. If nothing else I think I can find a few miles in there to run with joy.

    That’s the great paradox of running, isn’t it: you need to work really freakin’ hard to get to the point where the running feels terrific.

  4. Well, my first two fall goal races (a half and a 5K) were both blow-ups due to the insane heat wave! Trying to find another half in October when we’ll hopefully get some cooler temperatures.

  5. With Chicago just 2 weeks away, it seems like my fall A race will be over before fall begins! For Chicago I, of course, have a time goal that I’m not sharing because I never do, but I also have a goal of trusting my training and relying on my body to tell me what to do (and not my watch). That strategy worked great for me last fall but since having a big breakthrough race, it has been challenging to step back and accept where I am versus where I think I should be. Running improvement isn’t linear!

    1. No it’s certainly not … And running intuitively is really hard to do when you’re consciously focusing on it. If you can find the trick to it, let me know please? Kthx :)

  6. Chicago Marathon – need to finish and would love to make my goal time. I managed to DNF in 2015 and want redemption, but also want to hit the time I have been chasing for a few years.

  7. My goal is basically just to keep running! Still working on finding a good routine being working mom (who is probably also changing jobs soon which could really throw wrench into the mix). I’m looking forward to jumping in some random 5k’s and shorter distances just to have fun and enjoy the miles again! originally I thought I would find a late fall half to train for and race it, and I decided that mentally I’m just not into racing distance stuff yet. I love my weekend longs but I’m not quite at the point I want to dive in quiiiitteeee yet. So really just happy to be running and find some shorter stuff to spark that competitive side of me again.

    1. Go you! That sounds like a great goal. I didn’t run a half till my son was a year old, either – somehow crossing that mark reduced my child-related anxiety significantly, and improved my life in the sleep, energy, settling into new job, et.c. departments.

    2. I hear ya sister. I’m struggling just to get the miles in each day, but that’s okay! This is my season off from racing and I’m taking it. Those random 5ks and shorter distance races are a lot more fun when you’re not putting pressure on yourself, aren’t they?

    3. Amen. I used to run 6-7 days per week. With an 11 month old, I’m finally back to 5 day a week running and a day at the track. There is something about baby stress + work stress that just makes the will power to get out the door and follow a plan just slip away.

      That said, I’ve ran a half and a full so far, just way more leisurely than before. My first race is Nov. 2d- a small local half.

      Good luck finding your balance!

  8. Fall goal is to enjoy the process this time around. Listen to my body more and have fun. I set this because training for Boston I wasn’t enjoying the process. I went out just to slang miles and I can barely remember a moment when I thought, “gee this is great”. At the end of the day, running fast is awesome but what’s even more awesome is not feeling burned out and having fun. The PR’s and fast times come with enjoying yourself. Once I feel like I’m forcing something to happen it loses it’s luster.

    1. Yes, I 100% agree with that! Still, there is NOTHING like the feeling of a big PR. Gotta find that balance!

      Are you taking this season off from racing too? I am, but I have severe FOMO.

      1. I was signed up for a 5k and that didn’t happen b/c of my husband’s job and picking up OT. Besides that racing has really taken a back seat. It helps that I’m not active on Instagram or else I’d really be having FOMO- lol. You know, gotta keep up with the “jones’s”. I signed up for a half and I just pulled up a Hal Higdon plan and pretty much runnon feel. I want to go have fun and hopefully the fitness is there and good things happen but I’m ready for it to be fun- it in Vegas!!!

  9. My goal, if you can call it that, is to run as many x-c races as possible this fall. Just for fun, and to keep a good base going until I start half marathon training again in January or February.