(I’m Gonna Run) 500 Miles

Well we’re far from the end of 2014 (no, I’ve not even given Christmas shopping the first thought yet either!) but I was looking through my running for the year and fixing up the final races before the season descends into turkeys, crackers and cakes and the statistician in me, which remains alive despite my departure from the actuarial world over 5 years ago, started to piece together a few nuggets of information.

Using software such as SmashRun, this is mostly quite straightforward, with the latest website updates providing me with the totals.

There are a couple of provisos though as the data provided by Nike+ tends to be on the conservative side and this is what SmashRun uses for the totals. The races are all UKA measured routes which means that their length is known. I’ve found that a view of these have been understated by Nike+ and thus I’ve had to dig into the split data provided behind the scenes. As such the actual records for some of these have been taken from the official race data rather than the estimated SmashRun figures which are based on interpolated information from the distance Nike+ has told it!

Confused? Well that’s not a big surprise as it’s taken me a while to get my head around the data as like most runners, I’m pretty aware of when my triumphs have occurred!

In the same way, SmashRun doesn’t record a distance below that actually run. e.g. when I ran my fastest 10k in 2013, I also recorded a fast 5k and 5 mile. However, as I hadn’t run those specific distances, the SmashRun totals have ignored them entirely! Thus I’ve had to dig into the raw data to get the information.

It was never going to be that easy 🙂

Accepting that we haven’t yet finished 2014, I have now 3 full years of data – I started recording my running when I took it back up again in August 2011 and the likes of Endomondo was brought to my attention. Since then I’ve moved away from there and have utilised my Nike+ Sportwatch since November 2012 as my main recording device. In fact during the last 12 months Endomondo has stopped working with Nike+ so I have moved across totally to Strava for my social media training fix.

Even now, with a plethora of new kit out there it still does what I need it to do, although reading through the fantastic DCRainmaker review site, I am beginning to be tempted with new technology, although I still need to work out what all the new kit can actually bring to the party. It’s a case of not knowing what I’m missing at the moment I guess.

So, what have I learned thus far from my data.

Year (to date) 2011 2012 2013 2014
Total Distance (miles) 102 444 260 524
Longest Run (miles) 12.63 26.2 13.39 26.31
Fastest 5k 00:23:30 00:21:25 00:20:04 00:20:50
Fastest 5 mile 00:38:32 00:36:13 00:33:28 00:34:49
Fastest 10k 00:48:00 00:41:04 00:45:10
Fastest 10 mile 01:21:25 01:12:43 01:13:33 01:12:56
Fastest Half-Marathon 01:32:43 01:35:26 01:33:29
Fastest Marathon 03:38:43 03:30:07
Best 5k Pace 07:34 06:54 06:28 06:55
Best 10k Pace 07:43 06:44 07:13
Best Half-Marathon Pace 08:23 07:05 07:19 07:12
Average Pace for year 08:12 07:46 07:39 07:43

Despite the injury, 2014 has seen the greatest distance run even though there’s still over 2 months to go. The 13 Challenge felt like a lot of miles were being run, however it’s half what I have covered in 2014 and significantly lower than the 2012 mileage!

All the distance records shown are from outdoor pursuits, rather than being treadmill based, despite much of the 2012 training being done in the gym as it was over winter. It seems I got quicker after this spell!

On comparing SmashRun and Strava, I have run 63 miles on a treadmill in 2014. Thankfully not all in one go, that would be a very uninteresting workout!

In 2013 I did not explicitly run a 5k route and the figures are drawn from the Bangor 10k data where the first 3.1 and 5 miles actually represent my fastest pace for those distances.

With 3 races planned for the remainder of the 2014 I’m hopeful that the total mileage will reach 600 miles for the year, which will be an achievement, not least having had over 2 months out due to injury.

So, with this wealth of information, what does it tell me?

Well that’s not entirely clear.

1) I know that having taken things easier towards the 2014 marathon that I was fresher after it, however that is quite likely due to the better running conditions in 2014 compared to the -6 wind-chill experience of Manchester in 2012.

2) Running lots of half-marathons in 2013 seemed like quite a good idea at the time, and it certainly worked as a fund-raiser. However I did struggle to train with it as time went on which resulted in performance getting stuck, and at a level lower than the previous year.

3) Stats look much better with graphs.

So ultimately the detail is interesting, but not particularly informative at this time. Trying to compare the goings on during each year is seemingly flawed – different goals, different external issues (injuries, work, family matters etc) have a big impact. Even looking at races I’ve done in each year doesn’t give a particularly helpful picture as the weather, individual health, race strategy, work matters (such as racing immediately after finishing a nightshift) all have an impact. However, I’m going to continue to compile it to see if it can help my training into the future.

My cheque to Myeloma UK went off today – not a great amount raised this year but this was always going to be an issue with chasing the same people as in 2013 for money. But it’s something and so that’s a positive thing. The Justgiving page is still active until the end of the year for any late donations.

2015 is as yet unplanned training and racing wise. But there’s still plenty of 2014 to work with for the time being. Including thinking about some blasted Christmas presents……….

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