Crunching the Numbers

I’m feeling a bit consumed with needing to consolidate the things in my life that are accumulating faster than I can keep track. For instance, clothes I never even touch but are somehow still in my closet, various pieces of mail that need to be sorted through but just kind of sit there, and tallying my mileage progression for Eugene Marathon training.

Since I would rather talk about running more than most anything else, and since it’s a lot easier to record my training than to tackle the sweaters I bought in high school, let’s do a little recap, shall we?

Eugene Training

So, I’m currently in week 4ish of my training “plan.” I use the word plan loosely because, truth be told, I’m not following a schedule very strictly. I’m concentrating more on overall weekly mileage as opposed to achieving specific numbers on specific days. And honestly, I’m really enjoying it. It allows for more flexibility in my running and my normal life schedule, and I think that because there’s less strictness I’m mentally more excited and ready for each run. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely tracking progress/speed/splits/etc., but my focus is more on weekly totals.

That said, I logged appx. 43 miles last week, including a 16 miler on Saturday morning followed by a 4.5 mile recovery run Sunday. I normally keep the long runs for Sunday, and I hardly ever do recovery runs the day after, so this weekend was quite experimental! I enjoyed it though—and I’m feeling really well recovered today.

The week before I ran 49.2 miles, so this week will be a bit above that. I’m trying to build in a week on/ week off kind of pattern. Meaning, I’ll be adding, then subtracting, adding a bit more, etc. This seems to really work well with my body, and since I have the time I’ll be able to pull off this safer approach while still getting in several extra-long (20+) runs.

With that said, I have a 20 mile beast scheduled for this weekend. I really do love the long run, however it starts to get scary/serious when I reach that number. Not only does it require some interesting route-creation, it’s really just a long time to be running and takes a lot out of me. However, it also requires ample pasta consumption. So, I suppose it’ll all be okay.

Right now, I’ve been doing a decent job at averaging 8 minute miles on my long runs—and I’m hoping to keep it up. It’s definitely not feeling totally comfortable yet, and some days are better than others, but I’m encouraged with the consistency of my speed.

I’m coming for you Eugene.

2012 Miles for 2012

I’ve mentioned this goal before, but for those of you just tuning in—I’m hoping to run 2012 miles in the year 2012. It’s lofty, I’m not sure if it’s gonna happen, but it’s fun to keep track of the progression and—if my legs blow up—I can always change the goal to 2012 km. Right?

That said, this is what the progression looks like so far:

Miles Run in 2012: 253.3

Percentage of Year Over: 12.02%

Percentage of Goal Mileage Completed: 12.58%

Whammy! .56% ahead of schedule…practically done!

Okay, so essentially I’m right on schedule. But that’s still neat.

Alright, I feel a bit better about organizing my life already. Despite the fact that running analysis tends to make a fun hobby seem a bit more like work, once I do it I feel a better sense of understanding of myself as a runner and of my training.

The fact of the matter is that marathon training needs diligence and attention. I think we’d all like to think that we can just trot out, run as far as we want without care of worry, and whip out an effortless marathon fueled merely by a love of running.

Maybe for the Dean Karnazeses of the world, but for the rest of us—crunching the numbers is a necessity, and in the end it makes us smarter and helps keeps us healthy.

Questions: How close attention do you pay to your training numbers? Why do you think keeping track is important for becoming a better runner?

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