I set some running goals this year, none of which I’ll actually hit. They were pretty aggressive so that’s alright. Shoot for the stars and you might land on the moon I like to say. The moon is definitely in sight too! One of those goals was a 1500 mile year. My best previous year was like 400 miles. Injury and illness set me way behind that goal and I knew by mid-March that was a bit unrealistic for me. However, I’m already over 450 miles on the year, which makes this already my best year ever (and its showing in my race times). With 5 months left I also am close to making a possible climb to the 1,000 mile mark. That is hard, but still in range!
It won’t come though if I can’t have months of 100+ miles and while I hit that in December, I really have found myself challenged to put that sort of mileage up again. I started the year with a marathon in mid-January that had me cut back my mileage that month quite a bit as I tapered and recovered from the race and a pretty bad post-race cold. That was alright by me and by February I had put in nearly 100 miles again. But then March was a huge setback for me. I took a very hard fall skiing and I think I managed about 33 miles that month as I had bruised ribs. Somehow I still competed in my first triathlon a few weeks after the fall but it did hurt.
Since then I’ve been slowly building my mileage back up. One problem with my 100 mile month in December was that a majority of my miles came in 5 runs – 10, 13, 15, 17 & 20 milers. 75 of my 129 miles that month. That’s 58% of my mileage! It had quite an effect on me too. Part of this was because the month before I had only run about 50 miles but I was really in pain by New Years. The taper prior to Disney wasn’t just part of a good training plan…I was on the edge of what my body could do all month and I could feel it. After my long runs I couldn’t run for 2 days.
Fast forward to today. The month isn’t over yet but I’m a couple ticks under 100 miles (98.8) and I feel a world’s difference in my legs since December. There is soreness to be sure. But I don’t feel hobbled. I can run any day that I want and faster than I’ve ever run. On Wednesday I met with a group that does a 5k every Wednesday night and ran a 26:55 which is a minute over my PR for an official race. And that was after running 3 miles that morning and going to the gym. So I’m as fit as I’ve ever been. The difference in how I’ve done my mileage is VERY obvious when I look at a day by day chart of the month.
My longest 3 runs are 8, 11, and 13 miles with everything else 6 miles or less. The remainder of the month I have plans for 20 more miles which will put me 10 miles under December so it will be a very comparable month, distance wise. But those 3 long runs account for 32 of my 119 planned miles. 27% which is under half the long mileage of December! I just feel so good about how I’ve changed my running habits this year. Even though it took me time to build back up to the miles I wanted to see, I feel like I’m doing this the right way for a change.
Hitting 1,000 miles isn’t going to be easy still because I’m pretty far off of that pace right now but if I keep doing things this way I feel like I’ll get close and when my Marathon hits in December, I should have a massive improvement over January.