2018 has been quite a good year for me.
One thing I believe that every runner should do between Christmas and New Year’s is go back and read their running log. It has gems, treasures and a trove of information regarding how you actually ran during the year, versus the one that you tend to play in your head. I know when I went back and read my log this year, it brought back a lot of memories and the why I did things the way I did. Plus with that great 20/20 hindsight that I have I saw several things that if I could do them over, I would do them differently.
How Did I Do?
I really think this photo from Quarry Road says a LOT about 2018.
In 2018 I did update my 40 Years Of Running series an if you interested in reading more about an old fart’s memories you can click on the link.
Needless to say my running has gone better than it has in a long time, especially once I finally figured out that racing is more stress than it was worth. While I ran in way too many running shoes, I learned a lot about what works for me and what does not. Also I read a lot of books on running, tried more than a few philosophies, methods or programs, all in the name of attempting to improve my running.
Did all this work?
I think so!
As I slide headfirst into 2019, I am running consistently for the first time in years, not stressing out to see if I am running as fast as I can, working on becoming a healthier Harold and actually enjoying my running.
Back in September, after I finished reading “Running By Feel” I wrote this blog post and I try to re-read it every so often. It brings me back to the reality of the runner I am now, not the one that I used to be or the one that others think I should be and to base my current running on that…nothing else. It has taken me a long time to understand this and there are still days that I ignore my own words of wisdom, but I am getting better.
One thing about going back and reading the blog posts from the past year, is that I realize and probably already knew is that I bitch a LOT about the weather and every so often attempt something that scares the hell out of me.
Like starting to train to run a marathon again – something I haven’t been able to do since 1983. Unfortunately due to my body not holding up to to the training, I pulled the plug after four weeks, it just was not going to work for me and it was more important to be running injury-free for the year than to run myself into the ground, end up on the shelf and in all likelihood not getting to the marathon starting line in an case would really suck. You can read more about that decision here.
Will I ever run another marathon?
I honestly do not know, I would like to believe that if I train correctly and slowly build up to the distance, I will be able to finish one, but at the same time…running a marathon is not the driving force in my running.
I have a feeling that if I do run a marathon it will be because my training is decent and all I need to do is add in a couple of long runs to show my mind it is possible and then just go do it at the last moment. So if you see a couple of 20 milers in the training log, expect me to run a marathon in a couple of weeks. However unlike the past I will not make a big deal of it until it happens. Then lookout.
Getting back to the weather…When 2018 started it was cold as hell and I whined about it, then as the weather got hotter during the summer, I whined about how hot it was and now that it is cold again…guess what I am doing?
Bitching about the weather.
At least I am consistent. 🙂
Well it means that I am getting outside and doing stuff out there. 🙂
Unless I am running on the treadmill.
Each year it seems as though I opt to run more miles on the treadmill. I don’t have to deal with said weather as much. The extremes in temps and weather affect me more with each passing year and the extremes are getting more so every year.
The one thing about getting to be an old fart, besides running slower each year, is that running up hills gets more difficult. The old beater doesn’t do as good a job going up them as it used to and I have to be more careful to not push it too damn hard, which means that people that I used pass going up the same hills, now pass me and leave me in their dust.
Oh well, it is better than the alternative.
Running by the numbers.
No, I didn’t wait until the final 2018 numbers were in.
I will probably get one or two more runs in before December is done, but those runs will not change the totals enough to really make a difference.
Actually my running has been more consistent this year, than it has been in several years. I got over 1,600 miles and every month had at least 100 miles run. Which is something that I am very proud of.
What were my goals for 2018?
Let’s see what are some of the things that I have tried this year to improve my running?
During the second half of 2018, I have been more patient than usual and haven’t stressed out about the fact that I haven’t raced very much this year. It did make a huge difference and I didn’t feel pressured to run hard to get ready for a damn race. 🙂
Although I am not racing, I still want to improve my running. As a result I have read about and even tried different methods/philosophies over the course of the year.
What roads did I go down?
Chi Running, Finding Your Best Stride, Running by Feel, Running Rewired, Lydiard Training, 80/20 Running, The Lore of Running, MAF/Maffetone Training, along with a few others and even using a Milestone Running Pod/App for a while.
All of which increased my knowledge of running, what works and doesn’t work for me.
For the most part my form, higher cadence and all those other indicators of better running form, at least for me are directly or inversely related to how fast I am running. When I run faster, the stats are better, when I run slower the stats are worse.
However, many of the gadgets, foot pods or attempting to change my running form also became information overload and running became less about running and more about the stats. About September, I stopped worrying about how I was running and began to just run. So not surprisingly, I began to enjoy my running more – go figure right.
While I have learned a lot about my running and attitude towards running over this year, I finally figured out that for me at least, there is no “one” true way to run. I found that my running form, is my running form and that while I can tweak how I run, that attempting major changes at this point in my running life doesn’t work out too well.
I have also learned that while I say that I like spontaneity in my running, that I do better with a set of guard rails or framework to keep me semi-structured.
Yeah, semi-structured running, provides me with a set of guides that give me an idea on what people a lot smarter about running than I am, use to get better. Hopefully, if I incorporate their methods into my run planning, I will do better versus strictly following a training plan (which I never end up following anyway and stress out about why I didn’t do this or that on that day) or more likely going all loosely-goosey and doing whatever I feel like on any given day.
As a result of a few things it seems like heart-rate training, with a good dose of 80/20 running and running by feel thrown in are probably where I need to go with my running.
Especially since I know that I run way too fast on my recovery days and do not take the time to rest the body as much as it actually needs. At least with heart-rate training it gives me immediate feedback on whether I am being stoopid or good. Then I can make a conscious decision about what I am doing.
The last few weeks of 2018, I have been learning more about and attempting MAF training. The biggest positive if I decide to stick with it, is that I will be purposely attempting to create a good aerobic base, something that I haven’t really done successfully before. I have said I was going to do it, but in the end, I never have completed a base training phase and it always comes back to bite me in the arse later in the year.
MAF training is intriguing, but some of the more cult-like behaviors of some adherents on social media turns me off, with their – you HAVE to do it this way, otherwise you cannot possibly succeed.
However, at the same time, now that I have read more on the theory behind MAF training, attempted a slightly modified version and gotten past my own ego about running slower – I can see where it might be part of the solution that I have been looking for moving forward.
After all MAF training is about more than simply running slower at a certain heart-rate, it is a completely holistic look at your life and how to live it healthier.
Let’s see if I can incorporate this idea of running slow, to run faster into my running life.
I will be honest, I kind of floated along in 2018, I didn’t go out of my way to do anything to improve my health, other than live the life that I am living. Which is not that bad, fairly low stress, pretty active, run a good deal, walk the dog a lot and eat pretty much whatever I want.
Mostly healthy – at least I thought so.
That attitude has served me fairly well, but at the same time when I had my physical back on December 10th, saw the results of my blood tests, plus actually talking with and listening to the Doc, there are some suggestions that the Doc made that made sense to me in a way that I wouldn’t have listened to before this year.
Especially, since I avoid pharmaceutical drugs whenever I can and he didn’t go down that road. He was all about what I wanted and was there to help me figure out how to get healthier, not just drugged up.
What did he recommend:
Don’t run as fast all the time. Give your body a chance to recover from the hard workouts and he suggested looking at Maffetone’s training program, which he thought might work with my mindset.
Then and probably most importantly eat better. I know that I was was eating too many sweets, chips and processed crap in place of real food. If I change my diet who knows maybe I will feel even better. 🙂
This is part of that lifestyle change that Maffetone and Noakes discuss in their books and was something that I was starting to look into before my physical anyway, so once the holidays are over, I can work on this a little more.
Simplify my Running Shoes Choices
It took most of the year and after running in almost 30 pair of running shoes this year, I seem to have found a rotation that works for me.
Surprisingly, my rotation has become more brand centric than I am used to and that adidas running shoes are working better than other offerings that I have run in this year. The best thing is that I am finding out that I do not need as much midsole material with a Boost midsole, as I do with other brands. There is just something that feels “right” about Boost midsoles and my running.
So I am sticking with what works for me – well at least for now. With running shoes you never know when I will get the urge to try something different.
Adidas Tempo 9
After getting over the “I want to believe something”, versus reality, the Tempo 9s are unquestionably my running shoe of the year.
I run all the distances and yes, paces, that I run – comfortably in the Tempo 9s. They are smooth and quiet, while still having a nice multi-purpose grip. It doesn’t matter if my run is slow/fast or in between, they do not bother my feet at all. I do not feel like I am running on 2x4s when it gets cold outside – which might happen a few days from November to April up heah in Maine.
I liked them enough that I have two more pair waiting on the dresser (Christmas presents) for when these wear out. My original Tempo 9s are getting close to 200 miles and I am not seeing very much wear and tear on them at all, so it might be a while before I add one of my new pair to the rotation
Adidas Adios Boost 3
While I do not have a lot of miles on the Adios 3s I do like they way they fit and feel underfoot. For some reason these ones fit differently than my orange/black ones that I liked a lot, but just didn’t fit correctly. Sometimes it seems that different colorways have a slightly different fit/feel to them – as least in this case.
After my latest hour long MAF run in my current AB3s on the treadmill the other day and previous fast runs, I know that I can run in them without worrying about how they are going to feel.
However, they are not the lightest racing flats and could almost be used as light-weight trainers. Which is not a bad thing.
Adidas Response Boost 2
I love the ride of the RB2s, however for some reason there is always that slight tugging on my left Plantar Fascia, which caused a major problem when I ran in them last September and makes me a little leery of running too much in them, especially when the T9s and AB3s are doing so well.
Otherwise I like the fit/feel they have. While I don’t run regularly in them, it is nice to have a pair of shoes in reserve in case I trash my T9s and they are not ready to run in the next day. I actually see Response Boost 2s becoming the pair I put in the back of the truck with a set of running clothes to be – oh I got a chance to run shoes.
Nike Wild Horse – OG
They are my trail, outside nasty weather and snowmobile trail shoes.
I could almost wear them as road shoes if I wanted to they are that comfortable.
Reebok FloatRide RunFast
Probably the one shoe that I wanted to work more than any other running shoe this year. I love the fit, feel, lightness and yes the looks – they look like I am supposed to be running fast in them.
So what is the problem.
Due to the shoes causing discomfort to almost pain in the flex point on the inside of the right shoe’s toe box, I had to change out the stock insole to a slightly thicker one – which is not really a big deal. However, what is the big deal is even after changing the insole out, that 3-4 miles into a run, that discomfort rears its ugly head again on most runs. It does seem to get worse the longer I go, which really sucks!
With the exception of that one issue, the RunFasts are everything that I want in a shoe: light-weight, comfortable, fast and good looking. Unfortunately, that one little thing makes me hesitate to grab them for most of my runs, now that I have found shoes that I know that I can run in comfortably, without wondering when the discomfort will start and if it will become a grin and bear-it run.
Yeah, this is the one shoe that I really, really wanted to work for me and I have tried hard to make it work. I will keep it around for faster, shorter races, but I am pretty sure that for anything over a 5K, I would reach for the Adios 3s and not second guess myself.
No Running With Bennie
I have done quite well on this one. I did try to run with Bennie a couple of times this summer and I could tell that while he enjoyed the short burst, he wasn’t into the longer stuff.
Also my body just can’t take the Bennie bursts, because he pulls so hard or jerks suddenly on the leash and the waist belt it is attached to, it bothers my right hip and lower back too much. So while it is nice to occasionally do something quick with him, running regularly with Bennie just is not going to happen.
Yeah, it is a sign that both of us are gettin older and yes, it sucks.
Get rid of “Stuff”
Doing okay on this one. I don’t bother keeping old running stuff around that I don’t use or really want. You know that just in case I need it kind of stuff that seems to accumulate all too quickly. I will start another purge the first week of January to see what else needs to go away. Now to start getting rid of some old GPS watches and stench-filled running clothes, along with just a few more pair of shoes that I will never run in again.
Race More Often
Actually, I raced less and felt just fine about it. During the first half of the year, I stressed out about getting in racing shape and got all fired up about doing this or that to ensure that I raced well.
I did race well at the Unity 5K and ended up winning my age group for the Quarry Road Trail Race Series, but other than those I didn’t really do all that much.
When push came to shove, I just didn’t enjoy the racing enough to actually get out and do it.
Late last summer I had an epiphany and decided that I was going to shut down racing for the rest of the year and I did. I haven’t raced since the Quarry Road series finished and I have just focused on enjoying my running.
Guess what – I have.
Get Back to Running Trails
I started to get back to running trails, but I just stopped after Quarry Road Race Series ended and haven’t been back on the trails since August. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy running trails, but the hills bother me too much.
I can’t get a good pace up them like I used to and when I did push the pace on single-track, I didn’t feel in control. Both of which are not recipes for success, if I want to keep running healthy. Finally, I figured out that really I just started to enjoy running on roads more and stayed on them.
Weigh Under 150
Didn’t happen, but I did get down to 156 in December, but for the most part I stayed between 159-162 for most of the year.
Eat Less Processed Foods
Didn’t do too well on this one.
I enjoyed way too many chips, boxes of cereal, ice cream and other processed foods throughout the year. Looking at what I wrote in the Get Healthier section, I want to see what eating a lower carb, more real food diet does for me going forward.
No, I will never be vegan, I enjoy eating meat too much, I am an omnivore.
However, from the small sample size that I had before the Holidays I am intrigued by a lower carb diet – but going all in to Keto would be too extreme for me. Now to get the wife to buy in and see where it leads.
I have stuck with my iPad Pro 10.5 and iPhone 7 as my primary computers this year. I have had opportunities to use other computers and OS, but quickly return to IOS and am happy just using the system – as is.
For most of the year, I was very happy with my Garmin 230, it just worked nicely. However, when I decided that trying MAF training would be the direction that I needed to go, it meant that I had to get a new watch. I went back with the Garmin FR35, while not the most advanced or even most reliable, it was priced right and seems to do most everything that I want. Although, I do notice that when I run outside that it tends to pick up my cadence instead of the heart-rate – which is a pain in the arse.
The reality is that
I had a really good year in 2018.
Life IS good.
I have some things that I want to achieve and improve on for 2019, but if I am as successful with my life as I was in 2018, it will be something special.
Especially if the Tempo 9s keep working great for me. I won’t have to constantly be searching for the “next great” running shoe for me. I will of already found it.
I hope your 2018 was as great as mine was and that you have a lot of fantastic ideas and plans for 2019 – I have a feeling that I do. 🙂