Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Geeking out on mileage data

This morning I was taking a look at my total mileage for the month and noticed that Garmin Connect allows you to subtotal its reports by month or year and export the file to a spreadsheet-compatible format. A new opportunity for running geekery! So naturally I decided to look at all my running data from 2012 to the present. I even made a graph:

As you can see, the most dramatic event on the graph is my injury in February of 2015. My mileage has only recently begun to approach what I routinely ran before that date, as I finally seem to be genuinely recovering.

All my big PRs occurred as I was peaking in mileage (my marathon PR was set in 2011 and isn't on the graph). You might be tempted to conclude that that high-mileage, intense training also led to injury, but I'd say that was only the case for the second injury (the first one was just a bruise from a fall and I recovered quickly). The other things that seem to correspond to reduced running mileage are travel and triathlon training. It's hard to squeeze running in in both of those cases!

This year my plan is to steadily increase my mileage to get close to what I was doing in 2012/13, while decreasing the frequency of my most intense workouts to hopefully reduce the risk of injury. I've started to follow a training plan inspired by the book Fast After Fifty, which recommends adopting a 9-day training "week" instead of a typical 7-day week (not-so-coincidentally, I turned 50 yesterday). The big race I'm training for is the Chicago Marathon on October 8. Because my training program for Chicago uses a long training week, it will take much longer than a typical 18-week cycle. In fact, it will start on March 27, 195 days before the race, and two days after my next big race, the Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon. For Wrightsville, I don't have the time to do a full training cycle, so I will see what I can do on a reduced cycle.

If all goes well, by October I should be in good enough shape to once again qualify for the Boston Marathon, my monthly mileage will once again look like what it did in 2013 and 2014, and I might even be able to take a shot at one of those long-standing PRs.

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