As I approach the two year mark since beginning my walking / running exercise routine I began to stagnate. Since there is no long term baseline for performance I wasn't sure if the normal aging process slows you down as the years tick away but I knew my speed was slowing is because I track way to much data.
Being a numbers nut everything is dumped into Excel and being a gadget guy the data has increased this year. Last Christmas my newest toy was a heart rate monitor and about that time I gave up carrying the hand held GPS because the batteries didn't last very long in the sub-freezing temps of winter.
So... All this info tells me is I have run over 620 miles so far this year and taken about 1.1 million steps to cover the distance. What it did not do is help me achieve a quicker pace. In keeping my heart rate within recommended parameters I was actually slowing down.
I knew my speed was faster in races or when running with a friend but due to constantly conflicting schedules we rarely seemed to find a mutual time for training runs.
Finally I discovered the push I needed. The Runners Meetup! This morning I did my third run with the New Haven Runners and can see my times are improving. So far each run has brought out between 6-12 runners that go at various paces and distances but everyone provides incentive for each other. The front runners are pushing themselves knowing people are following and the back of the group pushes their pace to keep up.
Anyone that is training alone and wants to kick it up a notch should consider the group run. It works!