|some of the medals from 2013|
2013 was the first time I started to take running a little more seriously. Increasing miles, tweaking my form and running more races among other things. Overall it’s been a fun experience. The improvements have come steadily and I’ve been patient enough to wait for them.
base building – MAF
I’ve focused entirely on base building this whole year, so slow easy aerobic heart rate running. My heart rate has not hit the red line once, and believe it or not it’s made me faster. This is counter to what most runners are told and think, but it’s worked for me. The base building has strengthened my body, protected me from injuries and taught me to be patient.
|more than a minute per mile improvement at aerobic pace over the last 11 months|
The question remains where the improvement will hit a road block and I’ll be “forced” to start introducing some more conventional speed workouts. The 8 minute mile mark for MAF seems to be a sticky area. Taking 10 days off from running as a break for Christmas may have prolonged my stay at this mark. Ideally I would like to get down to 7 minute miles for the MAF zone by the end of 2014. Not sure the body is capable, but if it is then my race times should come down drastically.
|more miles in 2013 than the past 3 years combined|
The above chart says a lot. I’ve always had large chunks of time off from running. I’ve never been very consistent with the miles, mostly due to injury. This year saw my average mileage bump up to the low 30s per week. I never broke 10 miles on average per week in previous years.
So a consistent slow increase of volume has been possible mainly due to better focus and of course lack of injury. I hope to build on this and almost double the mileage for 2014.
I feel extremely fortunate to be injury free this past year. Partly this is due to finally understanding what a running injury is, and catching it early. I’ve had a couple of “niggles” but managed to ease back enough where there was no flare up. A week off in August was partially due to this. I took the time to let my body heal. I’m doing the same thing now. My last 50 mile race had my knee tweaked a little. Hopefully the last week off from running has healed things up a bit.
Looking ahead for next year, it’s going to be even more critical to stay injury free. The increase in volume and racing is bound to take its toll.
|race results for 2013|
I ran a total of 12 races this year, more than double from previous
years. A look at the results above shows I’m doing better on roads vs
trails. There’s a steady improvement across the board in times and
placements. But longer trail runs still wear me down more. I’ve not done enough weekend long runs on the trails. “Time on your feet” is important for these races, and I’ve kind of focused more on consistent 1-2 hour runs not necessarily on trials. This is the number one thing that needs to change if I’m to get any better on the long trail races.
Overall I’m happy with this. I especially like the mix of races. I like roads and trails for different reasons and I think this will help with preventing a potential burnout. (hopefully)
There’s not really anything else. I ran Lookout Mountain 50 again this year. 50 miles is the farthest I’ve gone so far. A 100k and eventually 100 miler is in the works eventually, but I’m not necessarily looking at that to be an ultimate goal. I seem to be gravitating towards medium long faster races. I haven’t raced enough to know yet, but so far trail marathons and 50k races appeal to me more than trudging along for 24 hours+ up and down mountains.
It’s been a couple of years since my Everest Marathon adventure and I’m kind of looking around for something similar. A challenge wrapped up in a vacation. So far I have The Kerry Way Ultra in Ireland in my sights for September next year. A couple weeks around Ireland with a 110 mile trail race sounds appealing.
I’ve lost about 8 pounds since the spring of this year. Some of that loss is due to the slight shift in body composition from fat towards muscle. I was hoping for a skeletal muscle increase to about 40% and a body fat percentage down to the mid teens. This has proven harder than once thought. Changing diet and body composition takes some dedication to say the least.
I’ve enjoyed writing on here about things that catch my interest as it relates to running. I started it mainly as a way of keeping track of my training. It’s nice to have a record to look back on over time. To put things in perspective. There’s been some visitors here, not many. I have no plans of any elaborate expansion or features, I already have enough to do. I may inject some more creative writing or illustrations, but other than that I’ll just keep doing what I have been and leave it at that.
tech and gadgets
I’m still playing around with technology. I have a few toys coming in the next few months that I’ll write some reviews for. I just ordered a Garmin 620. I have a couple wearable sensor devices from Hexoskin and Sensoria coming. And I’ll be trying out some running apps for Google Glass as well.
I’m always interested in improving, and sometimes a gadget or new techique helps. There are some other ways of improving that I plan to start using, but only if I hit certain milestones first.
I still have a few runs left for the year and one last MAF test but this is goodbye to 2013.
Goals for 2014, I’ll post early next year.