Three years ago I bought some proper shoes so I could start running. I lasted 4 weeks. The year after, two weeks. Useless. July 14th 2013 I gave it one more go….and this time it stuck.
In the last year I’ve:
- Ran 463 miles
- Ran 110 times
- Averaged 4.21 miles for each run, much higher than expected
- Seen a lot of Glasgow
- Realised that I love running in winter, summer…not so much
- Tracked all my runs in RunKeeper
I mention RunKeeper for a good reason. Firstly it’s free and using it’s 5k training plan it got me running on a varied program which kept it interesting and challenging. Secondly I can download all the GPX files (XML file of GPS waypoints) and produce graphics like this.
When I read the Flowing Data post called Where People Run in Major Cities and saw the visualisations they had produced I knew I wanted to do the same. I worried I wouldn’t have done enough runs with variety but I’m pleased with how it came out. I’m also surprised at some of the area’s I haven’t run in which means some good options going forward. Nothing better than running somewhere new to keep things interesting. RunKeeper also exports your data in csv so you can graph it with ease.
Lessons I’ve learned over the last 12 months are obvious really with hindsight but worth repeating. Firstly, always stretch, warm up and warm down properly before and after each run. I’ve got lazy with this sometimes and can feel little niggles creep in when I don’t do this properly. Secondly – listen to your body. If you are feeling a bit under the weather or are carrying an injury then tailor the run accordingly. Third – BFH – bus fare home. A couple of times on longer runs I’d be three miles from home, feeling a bit sore, tired or ill and no money to get a bus or taxi home. So I carry a small bit of money on those longer runs just in case. Fourth – hydrate. Don’t underestimate how much fluid you will lose on hot long runs. Plenty of water before and after should see you through a run up to 10km but anything more then I’d carry some water to keep me going. Finally, enjoy it and keep the routes varied. I struggled to get going at first as I stay on a hill and the climb back at the end always defeated me. Building up on a flat canal close to home got me running further and further until I’d got a large enough base to tackle hills. However it was getting boring running up and down the same stretch of water so it was great to branch out and vary my runs.
Looking forward I’ve some small goals to keep me going:
- Run 500 miles in a year. Narrowly missed this year but if I keep consistent and injury free it should be achievable
- Improve speed
- Buy new shoes as the current ones are starting to get a bit done. A trip to Achilles Heel is in order.
- I’m interested in measuring heart rate but hanging fire on getting anything until Apple announce…something?
- Play some more with R. Some interesting data in those RunKeeper files.
- One thing I won’t be doing is entering any races. I don’t know why but racing just doesn’t appeal to me.
So thats my running year. I still can’t believe I’ve been out over 100 times but looking forward to 100 more. At least.