Saturday, June 26, 2010

How to run 2000 miles a year

I just passed the 1000 mile mark, on pace for 2000 miles this year.
Some of you crazy Ultra folks are saying "is that all?", and if that's the case you can quit reading.

OK, for those who think that's a lot of miles; you might be asking, "What do I need to run 2000 miles a year? incredible endurance? steely resolve? gritty fortitude?"

Well, no.

What you need
  • A GPS watch
  • Anal retentive record keeping, to 2 decimal places
  • A sense of accomplishment from meaningless numbers
  • Low standards for what counts as a run
  • Lots of free time

It all counts
I have increased my mileage every year since 2006. Not by running more, but by lowering my standards for what counts as a run. Back in 2008, I had this horrible idea that a "run" had to be at least 2 miles, and I ran only ~1400 miles that year.
Now, my standard is down to 0.2 miles, and my mileage is way up!

Real Life Example
Shannon and I planned to do a tempo run this morning on the company mill trail loop.
Most runners would just log this and be done with it:
4 miles tempo trail run
But not us! Here is what actually happened, in meticulous detail

Run #1: 1.65 miles - Dog mile
We were not taking the dogs with us on our trail run, so first we had to do the "Dog mile". This is where we run our 3 dogs the minimum amount necessary to clear our conscious of the guilt we feel.

Run #2: 0.95 miles - Change in plans
The company mill loop is actually 3.75 miles away, and we were going to run to it.
So we headed out the door again. About a half mile out, I mentioned to Shannon that there was 10K in Greensboro this morning, and that our virtual friend Barefoot Josh would be running it.
She was excited, "It's at 8:00? Lets do it! Come on! It's only 6:45, we can make it"
So we turned around and headed home. We packed a bag and were about to get in the car. Then we realized that we can't drive 70 miles to a race, park, register, get our bibs and to the start line in 60 minutes.

Run #3: 4.25 miles - Attacked by flies
So headed out the door for the third time this morning. We made it about 3 miles when we were viciously attacked by horse and deer flies. This time of year they are swarming on the wide Umstead Park bridle trails.
"Ow! OW!", at one point Shannon was whipping me with her shirt trying to kill the flies, "Stop! That hurts more than the bites!"
It got so bad we retreated and went home, aborting our run again, turning around before we even got to Company Mill.

Run #4: 1.29 miles - Barefoot Mile
On the way back, I took off my Red Shoes for my daily barefoot mile. Of course, I must log this separately. Felt good, but went a little too fast trying to keep up with Shannon..

Run #5: 8.63 miles - Figure 8
I was determined to do get my tempo trail run in, so we decided to drive up to Company Mill to avoid the flies.
Of course, if we were going to drive somewhere, we might as well make it a more substantial run.
So we decided to do our "Figure 8", which is both the Company Mill and Sycamore loops.

Run #6: 1.14 miles - Water delivery
I finished ahead of Shannon, filled my bottles and went back to run with her. She actually was not far behind. When we finished I was exhausted.

As you can see, instead of one 8 mile run, I actually had 6 runs totaling 17.91 miles.
If you try this yourself, make sure you leave at least 2 hours for entering runs in your log and then blogging about it.

Run #7: 4.3 Full Moon Run 
That night was a full moon. Bubbles was persistent, and talked me into it. What the hell, what's one more run? So I slapped my stinking shoes on, and hobbled down the greenway one more time...

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