This week I went for 3 runs with no specified workout, no specified goal-pace, and no specified distance. It was weird. And freeing. Instead of thinking about an upcoming event, it gave me space to think about my running in the more global sense– did I achieve what I set out to achieve this year? Am I happy? Am I healthy? What do I want to do next year?
Distance. I follow a few running communities on social media and almost all of them do a “mileage check” on the last day of the month, where members of the community share their total miles run over the month. Most replies are well in to the 100s. Some in the 200s. Last month, everyone who replied had logged over 50 miles.
I do not often run 50 miles per month. In fact, for most of the season, my monthly mileage was equivalent to what Runner’s World recommends as weekly mileage for the half-marathon distance. Oops.
- JAN: 20.73
- FEB: 33.47
- MAR: 66.36
- APR: 37.7
- JUN: 36.51
- JUL: 25.71
- AUG: 34.53
- SEP: 49.3
- OCT: 28.3 (as of 10/22)
This is a perfect lesson in “You do you.” Running fewer miles has provided me with numerous other benefits that I think contributed to my overall success this season. This year I have had fewer sidelining injuries (though Aaron would say I am ‘always hurt’ because something is aching). When I have had a suspicious injury, I have usually taken time off rather than running through it, which contributes to some low monthly totals. I stopped running while on vacations. I have continued to ride my bike 100-200 miles per month, which is a decent match to running in terms of cardiovascular fitness, but is less pounding on my feet and shins, which are more susceptible to injury.
I set a goal to run 500 miles in the year, and I might come in just shy. I am currently at 384, so I would have to rack up 50+ miles each in November and December to get there. I don’t really see that happening. But, I am happier, healthier, and faster than I have been in years that I racked up much larger mileage totals.
Events. I hit a great balance of events this year, in terms of spacing and distances.
- TC Valentine’s Day 5K (Part of the TC Summit Challenge Series)
- 100% Irish for a Dak 5K (Part of the TC Summit Challenge Series)
- Goldy’s 10 Mile
- Red, White, & Boom! Half Marathon (Part of the TC Summit Challenge Series)
- Lululemon 14K
- Women Run the Cities 10K
- TC 10 Mile (Part of the TC Summit Challenge Series)
I really enjoyed most of these events and would like to continue to keep them in my rotation.
What’s Next? I told myself and several friends that if the TC 10 Mile went well for me (injury free, a strategy and finish time I am happy about), that I would probably sign up for the marathon next year.
Then the TC 10 Mile went AWESOME and I had the absolute opposite reaction. As I have said a dozen times, the TC 10 Mile was the cherry on the ice creamiest ice cream sundaes of running seasons. And I kind of don’t want to ruin that by training for a marathon… next year.
I know I made all these excuses in my head about why it had to be next year or never… bike trip… babies?… too old… no time… blah blah blah. The truth is, there is always some reason not to train for a marathon. And I believe that no one actually has the time for it (excuse me while I waste this entire weekend by running 20 miles on Saturday… FOR FUN… and then spend the rest of the weekend eating and recovering), they just make it work well enough.
I do think every runner should do a marathon, if it is what they want. It’s a pretty spectacular feeling to cross that finish line. But, for me, another shot at it can wait.
In the meantime, I signed up for the 2015 TC Summit Challenge. Second verse, same as the first. I will most likely find a 10K or 2 to run as well, and will hope to crush PRs across the board again next year.