That’s a lot of miles!

I've completed the challenge I set for myself about a year ago: run, however slow, and by whatever means possible, 1000 miles during the 2022 calendar year.

Screenshot of website that shows training target
Target Completed! Yay!

A lot of this was run-walk-run, because if I spend a lot of my time on my feet in too high a heart rate zone I invite migraines in, and they're no fun. (I have meds that work, so I'm lucky, but my doctor and I still prefer prevention.) Run-walk-run counted with regular runs and intervals as running. On average, it took me 14:03 minutes to complete a mile this year, and that is faster than I walk a mile. I’ll take it.

What have I learned from this experiment?

  1. It looks daunting but it comes down to 2.75M per day, or 19.2M per week and some people run that weekly mileage for fun on a Saturday morning. (Looking at you, ultrarunners.)
  2. It breaks down to a tiny bit every day, but it's easy to get behind if you let it slip for a week or two, as I did with lower mileage in February-March (reentry into the US from Belgium) and no mileage in June (conference+holiday in Ireland, I could have run but chose not to)
  3. You can claw back from a deficit but it takes dedication and planning, including getting up early in the hot months to beat the heat, sneaking in 2 miles when you don't have time for 3 but can't do 5 the next day, or going late at night after work and meetings because otherwise you don't meet the (new, higher) target for the week and you can already see in July or September how you won't make it to 1000M by December.
  4. There are days when you don't want to run but you do it anyway because the spreadsheet tells you. The run is actually perfectly fine.
  5. There are days you want to run but your legs and body scream no and you need a rest day or two.
  6. You get to know your neighbourhood and local trails really really well. As in: where specific patches in the pavement are, what weeds grow where, who is the great and the lousy gardener on the block, and where you're likely to encounter a fox or a deer at what time of day.
  7. Stretch and foam roll your way to an injury-free year. I also kept up my regular visits to the chiropractor as part of my regular maintenance.
  8. New orthotics help: my previous ones were seven years old and my feet had changed a bit. If you've got old ones and niggles start to appear, maybe it's time for a visit to the orthopedic clinic.
  9. There is no shame in going slow or run-walk-run if that is what your body tells you. I still got faster as the temperatures dropped, and as I built up a bit of endurance: my 4M runs going "slow and running through molasses" are now faster than harder efforts over the same distance at the start of the year. I guess I have improved!
  10. It helps to have buddies who believe in you, even if they don't have the same goal. Just sharing my updates and getting a thumbs-up from them, and thinking how I did not want to share "I abandoned my target" when they knew I could do it if just got off the couch, that helped me to get out on those days I didn't want to.
  11. I definitely couldn't have done it without the motivation of the numbers adding up, and The Line on Fetcheveryone. Thank you, Ian, for building a website that works for runners, plain and simple. You have my eternal gratitude. (And my annual contribution. Reader, please note the site is free to use, but I love it so much I chip in to help.)
Screenshot of the target line and the actual completed runs plotted against it
Wobbly completion but I got there!

What's next?
I guess… Another year with 1000 miles? But going a bit faster would be nice. Not much, just a bit. It still has to be fun, after all.

Tomorrow (31 Dec) is a rest day, I think I've earned it. On 1 Jan I'll go for an easy 3 miler with my little loop along the river, because I try every year to set off the new year like I mean to go on. And I'll be 0.25 of a mile up on my target, of course.

Photo taken during a November 2021 run
One of my favourite routes in Belgium (photo from ‘21 but still hoping the catch a rainbow whenever I run there!)
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About polifinario

Flemish Belgian formerly living in the US, now back home. Eternally amazed at the world around her. Knitter, (sometimes) yarn spinner, returning long distance runner, ex academic historian of China and East Asia. Opinionated about chocolate and beer.

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