Release the Geek!

When it comes to training, I'm a geek. No doubt about it. I love crunching the numbers and, better yet, comparing them to previous numbers. So with a new year comes a new training season and a whole new set of numbers to compare to previous years. And with this year being all about going as fast as I possibly can at IMWI, comparisons are very helpful in determining if I'm making progress and on the right track.

So I started out by comparing some running numbers. First, overall volume.

2008 = 989 miles

2009 = 1304 miles

That's a nice increase, and I'd like to keep that number growing this year. I d
on't have a specific number in mind, but I would like to break 1500 miles. That averages out to 125 miles per month, or about 29 miles per week. Mainly I'm just going to log a lot of miles and see where I end up. If I don't break 1500, no worries, but it would be nice.

Then I compared 2008 and 2009 by weekly running mileage:



As you can see, I consistently ran more miles per week in 2009. That came mainly from stepping up my running frequency to 5 times per week. Plus, I bumped up my short, easy runs from 3 miles to 5. You can also tell I like to take some time off to recover near the end of the year.

So my goal for 2010 is to build on that. I'm going to keep my frequency at 5, but I'll bump up my distance a bit and I might run twice a day one day per week during the spring and/or summer to help keep my volume high.

But, while it's nice to see numbers broken down like that, I already knew I ran more in 2009 so that wasn't really that helpful. So I wanted to get down to a more micro level and see if I could learn something from the numbers to determine if I'm on the right track, see if I'm improving. I feel like a better runner, but if you compare IM marathon times I was nearly an h
our faster in 2008. The weather had a lot to do with that, but I have no proof that I would've run faster in cooler weather. Feeling like a better runner doesn't necessarily mean you are a better runner.

So I focused just on the month of January to see how this year compares to the previous two years:

Blue = Distance Maroon = Average Pace Red Line = Average Heart Rate

Blue = Distance Maroon = Average Pace Red Line = Average Heart Rate
If you're curious about the run in the middle of the month with the high heart rate, that was a snowshoe run.

Blue = Distance Maroon = Average Pace Red Line = Average Heart Rate

Obviously, there's not a lot to look at for January 2010 yet, but getting these charts set up in WKO+ is going to help me compare years and see my progress. For example, I ran on January 6th in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

In 2008, I ran 2.9 miles at a 10:13 pace. I must have forgotten my HR monitor because there's no HR data.

In 2009, I ran 4.5 miles at an 8:50 pace and my average HR was 75% of max heart rate.

In 2010, I ran 7.18 miles at an 8:22 pace and my average HR was 72% of max heart rate.

So, not only have I gradually increased the distance, but I'm running faster and my heart rate is lower. This tells me that I'm still gaining fitness. I'm building upon previous years and making progress. I feel that right now I'm on the right track and plan to continue using the running plan I was on last year. I made good progress and found some things that work.

If you're wondering what those are, here you go:

- Frequency. I ran 5 days per week. T-F and Sunday.
- Consistency. You can see by the weekly volume chart that I kept my weekly mileage fairly consistent all year. I had some easy weeks for recovery, but I never really let my volume drop off too much.
- More long runs. I ran 10 or more miles 34 times in 2009. I plan to increase that number this year.
- Heart rate. I tried to keep my HR on my base runs around 80% of max. If I found my HR starting to get too low, I'd pick up the pace.
- Negative-split HR tempo runs. There's a mouthful. I did quite a few of those, and I think they helped a lot. I ran out for about 32 minutes at 70-75% of max HR. Then I turned around and ran back (about 28 minutes) at around 90% of max HR. That's a really good workout.
- Hills. I ran Elver hill repeats a lot. This year I'll be doing a lot more hill work.

That's the bulk of it. This year I'm adding a short strengthening routine 3 times per week. I'm also adding yoga to help with injury prevention. And, I'm going to do more track workouts this year. I did a few in 2009, but not many. I love track work so I'm looking forward to getting out there and pounding out some laps.

One more thing about 2010....I plan to set a new weekly mileage personal best. So far the most miles I've run in a week is about 45. I hope to break 50 at least once this year.

I figure I'll need to run a 3:30 marathon or better at Ironman this year (that's an 8 minute pace) so I have my work cut out for me.


abby said...

i'm not going to lie. i didn't read that whole post. so many nerdy numbers and GRAPHS! you should be very pleased with yourself.

good luck with the goals!

Mike said...

I hope you at least watched the Nerds song. It's classic!

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