Going Back to What I Know Best

Back in April, I decided to change how I track my running to doing it by time only. It was something that I had toyed with a few times before, but never really stuck with it for very long – it was just too different.

I did find it very different, I didn’t have any baselines, which at the time I believed was a good thing and it did allow me to relax a lot during my running during that period, but maybe I relaxed a bit too much when I look back at things.

Screenshot from 2017-07-15 22.16.39

It has been almost 3 months since I changed to tracking my running by time only and when I played around with the spreadsheet (the joy of spreadsheets), it showed a major change in my running.


Weekly Mileage Before 4/25/17 Date Weekly Mileage After 4/25/17


31.31 4/30/17



16.10 5/7/17 30.80


40.70 5/14/17 29.10


38.30 5/21/17 22.20


37.50 5/28/17 24.90


24.20 6/4/17


3/26/17 40.80 6/11/17


4/2/17 30.10 6/18/17


4/9/17 40.60 6/25/17


4/16/17 34.50 7/2/17


4/23/17 25.62 7/9/17


Not for the better. May was significantly less than April, even though I had no injuries and while I expected June to be low due to personal reasons beyond my control, it was still much lower than I thought it would be. July has started out to be another low month.

What do I attribute the reduction in running to?

For me changing over to tracking my running to time was probably the primary the reason.

To be honest, I felt as though I was running a lot more than I actually was. Although I had the previous entries from earlier in the year, I didn’t really use that information to compare it to how I was doing. My running became more about just putting in the time and the quality of the individual runs wasn’t enough of a factor.

Without the pacing information, I also noticed that my paces were slowing over this time, instead of getting better, during a mostly injury-free period of running.

Things were not going in the direction I wanted.

Which meant that I needed to change back to what I know best and have a LOT of experience with.

  • Tracking my running by mileage, time and pace.

The reality is that

I am glad that I experimented with something different than I usually do with my running. However, when I look at how my running is going as a result of that change, I have the experience to know when something is not working for me and the confidence to admit I need to go back to what worked better.

Also since I retired the focus of my running is beginning to change and I have more time to devote to improving it.

So I have gone back to tracking my running by mileage and wearing my GPS watch to give me accurate pace/distance info, in addition to time. However, I am not going to get into the heart rate, cadence or stride length data points. For me too much information is too much to deal with and I get stuck in the minutiae, which I think that was some of the issue with what I was doing before.

I still want to keep the tracking of my running fairly simple.

It is now time to get back to what I know and hopefully start to improve my running again.

Slowly and steadily, not rushing things.

None of that Harold being Harold stuff.





4 thoughts on “Going Back to What I Know Best

  1. Always good to try something new once in a while. I think that as runners we find what works and stick with it.
    I’ve been using kettle bells in the gym recently. It allows for a fuller range of motion and I’m doing less weight and more reps.
    I don’t think I could run without knowing my distance.


    • That is the fun part of running sometimes, experimenting with different things to see how or if they work for you. It seems that I do keep going back to what I am most familiar with though. That is something that I keep saying I am going to try, but never do, might have to look at the kettle bells a little more closely – another something new for me :-). I always sort of knew the distance, but just didn’t write it down and then got lazy when I didn’t have those familiar distance totals staring me in the face – Live and learn a little more. 🙂

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  2. For me, one of the keys to ignoring pace and distance … is already knowing the distance. I have a basic ~12.5 mile morning route that I can take 2 miles off of when it is cold, I am exhausted or limited on time. Is it *exactly* 12.5 and 2 miles? No – but it is pretty close, and I am such a creature of habit that the variation is within a few tenths of a mile.

    But before establishing these routes – and my overall about half-dozen most common routes from 7.5 to 21.5 miles – I discovered that I was a pretty lousy judge of distance. There is a big loop that is actually nearly a mile shorter than runner through these little developments by my house – never would have guessed that. Same for other things.

    So I guess for me, once I know the route I barely look – but when I am learning new routes I will study segments and break them down to give me options That is also what I do when I travel – look at the map and build a route and then compare to my Garmin experience.

    It is all about finding what works best for us … and I think you have found what works best for you!


    • For many courses I do that and don’t really look at the watch until I come up on a mile split. Sometimes close enough is well close enough, I might put down to the nearest hundredth on my log, because that is what the Garmin provides, but I am pretty happy with tenths or even the nearest quarter mile. The Garmin is nice when establishing new routes and it seems that this year I have been running a few more new routes than usual, so that might be some of my issue too. I can always go to one of the mapping programs and get total or go really old school and drive routes that are on the road. 🙂 I think I will be happier going back to my old way of tracking my running, but I am still going to keep things a little simpler than I did before.

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