Sunday, May 25, 2014

The history of my running speed

Directional declines
Today's run (street): 3.6 miles

I decided to do some data mining on Garmin Connect to compare my historical averages with my current performance. In order to keep the information consistent, I only used data captured from one source, my Garmin 210 that I bought in 2010. I know I've lost a lot of speed over the past year and my interest was in seeing whether my recent history is an aberration, or if it merely reflects a long term decline.

Charting the trends reveals a changing relationship between race speed and overall speed. My average pace has followed a linear decline, but my race paces have dropped measurably since 2012. Up to 2012, I generally paced 7.5% better in races compared to my overall average. After 2012, that gap has closed and is now almost equal to my training run times.

As I often say when working with business data, these findings are only directional. The Garmin data, acquired by GPS, has a variable margin of error. I tried to correct for that as much as I could, but the numbers do have some skew. I only selected runs I'd tagged as "street running" to filter out slower trail paces and faster track paces. It's also important to note that the 2014 data is only through May 25, not a full year.

In terms of these findings, I'm not happy to see declines, but at least the drop-off has not been as sharp as I'd suspected. I did today's run as a tempo, taking it easy through the majority of the distance and picking up the pace more at the end. The last mile was a minute faster than the prior few, and I finished feeling great. I wish I could tap into that speed more often, but based on my recent race performances, it's a little more complicated than just trying a little harder.

7 comments:

  1. The official name of anything below 5.5 is ``walking.''

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  2. That's a pretty judgmental statement considering the fact that some people work extremely hard to run what you call a walking pace.

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    Replies
    1. Some people work their a** off to maintain 2mph, so does that stop us from defining it as ''walking''?

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    2. Is this 5.5 miles per hour? When I first start out on the treadmill and up my speed, it is consistently at the 3.5 mark where I go from a quick walk to a light jog. I don't stay there, but this is where my stride and form change. There is absolutely a mechanical/physical difference between running (which includes what was known as "jogging" back in the early '80s) and walking. That said, someone working his ass off to maintain a 2mph is still walking or shuffling, at best. Effort does not define the activity.

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    3. Exactly. I take some offence to the implication that speed and effort are always related and that if you're not fast you're marginalized as a "walker."

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  3. But why make the comment about anything being less than 5.5 is walking, when the graph doesn't even depict that he's there? Regardless of the definition of walking vs running, it was still a comment meant to inflame.

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