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.

    1. 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. 🙂

  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!

    1. 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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