The numbers game

I normally don’t get to caught up in numbers.  I mean, sure, I like to know what my times are in races, etc. but past that I’m not a huge “stat” guy.  I don’t really care how much my bike weighs, I don’t have a Garmin to track exact times and distances, etc.  I keep the most basic of stats for the year, just to help me see where I’m at.  I even abandoned these numbers for the most part this year because I was so frustrated with my lack of progress.

Numbers, however, don’t lie and a year end look at my totals always gives me perspective.  They are what they are and no amount of year end cramming will ever satisfy me, but I like to round numbers off as much as I can so a quick check always gives me something to do at the end of the year.

I always set loose goals for distances and this year was no different.  Since my early goal was to do a half ironman sometime during the season, I knew I needed to bump my mileages up from the previous year.  While I did get more miles in than last year, they never even got close to my goal miles for the year.

If I can run 29 miles between now and the end of the year, I will get 900 miles for the year.  Thirty miles less than last year and 600 miles less than the 1500 I wanted to run.

If I can ride 69 miles I will get 2000 miles for the year.  This is 750 miles MORE than last year, but 1000 miles less than my goal.

Swimming… meh.  I give up.  I won’t swim again until after the first so the 40 miles I have swum thus far is all I get.  This is HALF of my total for last year.

It’s easy to see the why’s and where’s of the differences.  Once I realized that I wasn’t going to do a half, I just backed off my mileages for running.  No sense killing myself, especially in the summer, when it was no longer necessary.  The increase in bike miles was mostly commuting to work.  I did 2-3 “training rides” a week on top of commuting 3 days a week.  I was pretty sporadic and inconsistent with my “training” rides.  A few hills, some longer rides, a little sprint work… but mostly I just put in the miles.  The swim is a bit of a mystery though.  I “thought” I was swimming MORE.  Two days a week in a master’s program and 2 days a week open water swims.  I also swam several longer distance races.  I’m just not sure why I didn’t get the miles in.

My average times were a little more positive.  My average for all miles run stayed about the same as last year.  My bike average went up 3 mph and my swim dropped almost 5 minutes a mile.  I’m still very slow in the water but at least I’m getting better.

I debate with myself every year as to whether I even want to set mileage goals but I think, for me, it gives me a goal to shoot for.  So based on my goals for 2011 which are:

  1. Have fun
  2. Short distance events… but LOTS of them.
  3. Go offroad
  4. Get faster in the water
  5. Lose 30 pounds and KEEP IT OFF

I came up with the following distance/time goals:

  1. Running- 1000 miles with an average UNDER 8 min/mi.  I also want to run at least one trail race and one half marathon.
  2. Bicycling-2000 miles again.  I’m going to have to split mountain bike and road bike mph averages up to keep it more accurate, but I want to average 20+mph on the road bike.  On the mountain bike I just want to get better and have fun.
  3. Swim- 40 miles.  I want to get my average per mile below 35 minutes.  I am going to focus on speed, not mileage.  All of my races except one (Kirksville) will be well below 1000 yards.  Most will be around 500-750 yards.  Training will be mostly drills and sprint work.  I am also going to add dry land training (weights and stretching) to try to strengthen some weak shoulder and lat muscles.

I am still working on a training “plan” for the year.  Running will see a return to Wednesday night track workouts.  I just have to be careful not to fall back on running because I like it so much.  I have to keep telling myself that (other than one half marathon at some point, either spring or fall), my longest race will be 5 miles and you don’t get faster in a 3 mile race by running 10-15 miles slow all the time…  Trail runs will also add to the challenge.

I will still commute by bike (cuz it’s fun), but want to do more hills, intervals and sprints and less big distance.  I see trips to Easley and the Guthrie hills in my plans… and, yes, unhealthy doses of Thursday night intervals.  But probably not many rides over 40 miles.  And lots more mountain biking…!!!!

Swimming will be different.  More effort, less distance per workout.  I also think I need a coach or at least some stroke analysis, but I don’t think I will do a masters class this year.  Just lots of M/W/F sessions at the Arc and then a few days a week at the lake this summer.

Bring on 2011!  The number one goal… HAVE FUN!  Number two?  Lose weight.  Here is hoping at the end of it all I can say I didn’t stink it up as bad as I did in 2010.  I will, however, refrain from saying anything stupid like “can’t get any worse”… because I know better.  See you out there!

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