I’m a little late with this one, and I’m sure everyone’s been waiting with bated breath to see how my second month of using the Maffetone Method for running has gone. So without further ado, I present…month 2.
Okay, kidding aside, I can sum up month two in a single word: frustration.
I’ve been tracking all of my runs, and the various bits and pieces of data associated with each. This includes things like pace, heart rates, mileage, etc. And what I have found is that the pace, while it improved dramatically in one month from where I started (back in September), it has declined almost as dramatically in the second month.
What to make of that? A couple things, actually.
The first, and probably biggest one, is that I shouldn’t get caught up in the data. This probably sounds counterintuitive given the fact that I’m collecting all this data just to analyze my performance. But one of the biggest dangers is that, by tracking this over every single run, I’ll get caught up in it and forget to step back and see the big picture. Maffetone actually warns of this in his book. It’s the same as a person trying to lose weight and getting on the scale every day and being disheartened at the up and down fluctuations. Yes, day over day, your weight might yo-yo, but don’t forget that over a six month period (for example), you’ve lost twenty pounds.
The second this is the number of runs. In October I found time to run eleven times, for a total of 36 miles. In a month of 31 days, that’s one run every 2.8 days. In November, I only ran six times, totaling 25 miles, and averaging one run every 5 days. My focus hasn’t been as sharp for running in November, and it’s been cold and dark in the morning and the evening, and let’s be honest—running in the cold and dark sucks. But with only half the number of runs in the same (roughly) 30 day time frame, why would I even begin to expect improvement?
Third thing is shoes. My old shoes were, well, old. And my feet have been hurting. Read about that here. It’s been much harder to get out and run and actually enjoy it when you know that an hour after running you’ll be limping. So I have a new pair of shoes. I’m giving them a good solid test this month and hopefully that will get me out and moving again more often.
The last thing I guess I’d pull out from all this is that I actually don’t know if this method and my progress using this method has helped. And I won’t know until I race. I’ve never raced before, I’ve just wanted to get out and run. But as I grew stronger this summer, I felt that maybe I did want to start racing. At the very least, I wanted to see how fast I could get. Problem with following a method for training is that I have exactly zero baseline on which to base my progress. What I can say is that, before switching over to the Maffetone Method, I could run six miles at an 8:40 pace. When I finally jump into a race, I’ll be able to tell whether that 8:40 pace is lower or higher. Then I think I’ll have a better understanding for how I’m progressing.
So that’s the summation of month two. Below you’ll find some stats and my running chart for September, October, and November. You know, in case you truly that interested.