Tuesday, February 16, 2016

How many miles?

A few people have asked me if they really need to do the number of miles that I am doing in order to complete the Parish Walk and my initial response is no, absolutely not.

While finishing the Parish Walk and New York Centurion are my two main goals this year, I also have my overall challenge to walk 2016 KM (1,250 miles), so that's why my mileage is higher than usual.

"How many should I be doing then?" is the next question, which unfortunately is something I cannot answer.

Some people are quite happy putting in lots of miles whereas others just like to go out a couple of times per week. 

Legend has it that one veteran parish walker doesn't do any training at all and considers last years Parish to be enough training for this years Parish.  I won't name them just in case it's not true...and of course to keep the legend more mysterious.....

It's not just the physical side of training either.  Knowing you have done lots of training miles can give you a big mental boost on the day.  You feel ready, well prepared.  On the flip side if you think you haven't done enough training it can have a negative mental impact.

The thing is, everyone is different. 

Regardless of how many training miles you have done, there are so many other things that play a part on the day.  The weather, the food you eat, the unexpected blister that pops up somewhere never seen before in training and so on. 

It's how all of these factors come together on the day, and how you manage them, that in my opinion plays a bigger part than the physical training itself.

I don't have all of my Garmin data for 2011 so the table below shows how many training miles I did each month up until the day of the Parish from 2012 onwards.

I have shown both walking and running miles.

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Total Parish
2012 46 / 6 71 / 6 91 / 8 95 / 9 85 / 5 51 / 0 439 / 34 19:00:29
2013 29 / 7 67 / 5 55 / 16 103 / 0 130 / 12 41 / 0 425 / 40 18:36:28
2014 108 / 15 130 / 0 143 / 0 75 / 8 68 / 20 34 / 0 558 / 43 Retired Maughold
(67 miles)
2015 30 / 42 58 / 74 38 / 68 20 / 93 55 / 53 18 / 0 219 / 330 19:20:56

Couple of interesting things here:

In 2013 I did slightly less miles than the previous year (only 14!) yet managed a 24 minute improvement to record my current PB.  I also completed the 100 mile Centurion event about 6 weeks later.

In 2014 I significantly upped the miles in January, February and March, but then had quite a big drop in April and June.  In total I walked 133 miles more in 2014, yet retired in Maughold less than 20 miles from the end.   Was this because I didn't do enough in April and May?  Who knows.

In 2015 it was my lowest walking mileage by nearly 50% at 219 miles, although a significant increase in running mileage (I was training for the London Marathon that year).  I did finish, but recorded my second slowest time of 19:20:56, just 20 minutes off my debut time of 19:40:00 in 2011.

The heat certainly played a part in my 2014 and 2015 performances, but maybe I did too much in the first 3 months of 2014 and not enough in the next 2 months, or maybe it was just too much in total at 558.

I am already way above these numbers in 2016 (due to the challenge) so I'm really hoping 2016 is not going to be another retirement.

So in conclusion, I have finished the Parish with just 425 miles of walking training (if I ignore 2015 due to the running), yet failed to finish with 558.  Maybe my sweet spot is somewhere in between, or maybe luck was on my side in 2013 and not in 2014. 

I think really you just need to train in a way that makes you feel happy and comfortable, both mentally and physically, and just hope the dice roll the right way on the day.

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