Improvement not what it seems

I am feeling frustrated about how slowly I’m improving on running. Looking at my giant spreadsheet I’ve not increased much in terms of overall mileage for the last few weeks. But what I realized this morning is that while my mileage maybe hasn’t changed how I’m getting those miles is changing.

For various reasons, I’ve always included my warmup and cooldown mileage in my total miles in a week. For runs on my own, that mileage is usually between 1.5 and 2 miles itself. The FF training plan includes walks on Sundays, and I’ve been counting that mileage as part of my training as well. So my distance numbers are a mix of running and walking. That mileage tells me over the last 8 weeks I’ve averaged 11 miles a week with a minimum of 6.75 and a max of 13.8 and a median of 12. But that includes walks and warmups.

In runkeeper, I’m just tracking training, not the warmup / cooldown distances. I’m also tracking walking separate from running. And, well, that tells me a bit of a different story.

Graph of runs and walks for last 5 weeks

My active run mileage hugely jumped in the last 2 weeks. OK, the rest week was just one run because I’d hurt my shins on the hill run the weekend before. And race week was a little less mileage because I was following the training plan. And those are two of my low mileage weeks in the past 8. But I did add a bunch of running miles all of a sudden.

Yes, I’m trying to convince myself that I shouldn’t feel like I’m not making progress. The progress just isn’t in speed or weekly mileage. I’ve added a lot of running miles (while cutting back on walking miles) and really, that is a change and that is an improvement. Even if my raw numbers don’t seem to reflect that.

Yesterday was an awful run. I was even thinking of blowing off the Moonlight run this Friday just because I’m not feeling strong and I’m not feeling fit. I’ve backed off that frustration a bit. Realizing I’m not feeling strong because I basically jumped from 5 miles to 11 miles last week, and then added another 8 on this week, helped. I’m tired. I’ve stressed my body. And while the mileage and times are low and slow, I only started running in June. And maybe it’s OK I haven’t adapted more or faster.

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