Happy New Year!
I love numbers with a passion that’s a little creepy. This leads me to track just about everything I can, especially running related. I have several spreadsheets that I use to track my running and cross training activities. I haven’t really done much with this data yet, but it’s nice to use as a reference to look back and see how I used to train in years past. From a totals standpoint, I don’t establish any annual targets that I try to hit. I don’t come into a given year and hope to run X miles or do Y number of pull-ups. I create training plans that I think will best prepare me for my A races (now whichever 100-milers are scheduled). I then mix in whatever cross training I happen to feel like doing. I’ll try and build up my cross-training volumes a little bit as I progress towards my 100-milers, but I don’t have a firm plan in place. Just kind of play it by ear. So hear is how the numbers shook out for me.
Last year was a lot like 2015 from a totals standpoint. Running mileage was about 2% higher and my hiking (fine – dog walking) was only 0.2 miles less. The one trend that looks awful is my average running pace. Viewing this without any context and you’d think age has finally caught up with me. This will definitely occur at some point, but isn’t quite the case yet as my 100-milers dramatically skew my totals higher. Excluding these 5 races from the above totals and my 2015 pace drops to 10.5 and 2016 to 10.1. I don’t believe I’m necessarily getting faster though. If I wanted to take the time to calculate it, my bet is I’ve run more miles on roads recently and/or that 2014 had a higher percentage of my miles in slow/long training runs than I’ve done the past 2 years.
I’ve worked hard adding in vertical ascent into training cycles over the past couple years. I started this in 2015 prepping for Oil Creek (17k+ of elevation gain) and then took it to another level during 2016 getting ready for Eastern States and Cloudsplitter. This has really slowed down my average pace on these training runs as I would walk a lot of the hills because they were so steep. But it led me to over 200k feet of climbing in 2016 or 38 miles over the course year. Pretty incredible when I think about it. My training cycles for 2017 will probably have fewer hill workouts based on the races I’m signed up for so I’m not expecting to come anywhere close to this for a while.
I’m happy with how my cross training progressed over the year. I continued to try and do at least 4×10 every day as a base level of exercise. I missed a bunch of days for various reasons (i.e. races, sick, long training runs, didn’t feel like it), but having the habit already established brought me back on track within a couple days or a week at the most. I did push a bit in the last week to establish new PRs for pull-ups and push-ups. I didn’t really broaden the number of exercises that I was doing on a weekly basis though. I substituted a couple I didn’t really enjoy for others, but didn’t materially expand my repertoire much. Something to work on in the new year.
Overall, I think the numbers bear out that I had a good year. There are many people out there putting up numbers that dwarf what I do. And many out there that only do a very little. I try very hard not to compare myself to others though as we’re all in different places in our life journeys with different talents able to devote varying amounts of time to running. But it’s fair to compare myself to where I’ve come from and I like where I’m at. After all, numbers don’t lie.