What are you measuring?
What I’ve been thinking about this week is about being deliberate about knowing what we’re measuring and why. I think we all get in a trap of thinking certain measurements mean more than they do. Mileage, for example. We count it, track it, try to boost it. But that might not be what is helping you get to your goals. We get so caught up in getting to a certain volume, but weekly mileage is a false target. Running volume should be an indication of where you are in your training (ie. This is what it takes to support the amount of work you need to get done) vs. an erroneous target you’re trying to hit regardless of how you get there.
I coach a group of athletes who are divided into Middle Distance (400m-1500m racers) and Long Distance (5K and up). At certain times of the year, their workouts are somewhat similar, but as we get closer to race season they diverge quite dramatically. The other day the MD group had a TOTAL of 1200m in intervals. One of them remarked on how they were running ¼ of the volume of the LD crew. I reminded them, that’s not what they are measuring. I read that on average, Usain Bolt struck the ground when sprinting with 1,080 pounds of force. He needed to be building and measuring force and power so he could run fast. I bet he didn’t even count his milage. Middle distance runners (or long sprinters as they’re also known) – fall closer to that side of things when they’re in their competitive phase. The number of kilometers covered means nothing.
My point is, know what your goal is so you know what to measure and what doesn’t matter. If you’re injured, I think you should be measuring hours of sleep. That’s the only thing that directly helps you to recover. If you’re supplementing your running with other activities, start measuring time instead of km’s. KM’s don’t tell you the whole story. If you have a hard time keeping your easy days easy, you can do what the Bowerman track club does: count every KM as a standard measurement of time. For instance, every 5 minutes = 1 KM. Whether you’re going fast or slow. That way, you won’t be tempted to speed up on your easy days – you only get to count a kilometer for every 5 mins – even if you’re running 4:40’s (this also makes sense because your body knows how long it is spending doing something, not how much ground it is covering – so it does make sense to train that way).
So that is all – just a reminder to re-evaluate what you are measuring to make sure it is aligned with your goals.
One more thing: I am honoured to be doing a small contract working with War Child. I’ve become very moved by this organization and the big, hard work they do protecting children who have experienced war. They are holding a fitness fundraiser coming up in September (12-23 – around International Day of Peace). I will be entering an LES team, so I will hit y’all up to join that, but also wanted to put it out there that if anyone thinks their company or workplace would be interested in entering a team, please message me and I will send you more information. Thank-you!
Workouts for this week:
- Hills! If you’re building for Fall marathons, let’s just build the volume back up on full hills. Workin’ on that strength. If you’re looking at a track 5K this summer, do an equal number of half hills to full (added on at the end). You will need to be able to call on power when fatigued.
- Tempo: 3 x 6 min w 3 min easy (some of you are doing progression run vs. tempo, so no tempo for you this week)
That is all – enjoy!