Week 120: Numbers Matter

Two weeks from now I will have just finished running the Columbus Marathon’s half marathon. This will be organized half marathon number 3 and my 7th total half marathon distance run in 14 months. I just finished my last long distance run before the big day and will taper off to short runs and long walks for the next two weeks as I prepare my body for the big day.

Today’s long run was 6.52 miles (a quarter marathon distance) ran in 1 hour 7 minutes at an average pace of 10:18 per mile. Last year’s long run two weeks before the Columbus Marathon was 7.8 miles ran in 1 hour 29 minutes for an average pace of 11:29 per mile. I went on to run the half marathon, actually 13.42 miles, at a time of 2 hours 49 minutes at an average pace of 11:09.

My last organized half marathon was the Cap City Half in April where I ran 13.28 total miles in 2 hours and 24 minutes at an average pace of 10:43. So I ran less distance in preparation for this year’s Columbus Marathon but I am running faster. My goal is a) to finish, b) no injuries and c) to match or beat my pace for Cap City.

There were a lot of numbers in that summary. I also know exactly how many calories I ate the day before each of those runs, what made up those calories, how much water I drank, how much I slept and a whole slew of other information. Since I started my fitness journey I track lots of things about my body and my fitness every day.

Lord Kelvin famously said “if you can not measure it, you can not improve it.” This is one of the most important concepts in achieving any goal. Measure what matters, set small goals, track the numbers, make small adjustments along the way and achieve success.

Measuring my numbers is one of the most important strategies I have used to achieve success in my fitness journey. When I started my fitness journey I had decided that I wanted to life a fit life where I don’t give up anything. I wanted to live a life of balance and moderation and the best way to do that is to know the facts.

So I have achieved my goal now and I am effectively in “maintenance mode” so when will I stop tracking everything? Never. Maintaining good health like achieving good health depends on knowing the facts. Plus, like many people, I am terrible at estimating and keeping track of my nutrition and activity in my head so I turn to technology to track everything. That’s not something I plan to ever stop either because I am not planning to slip backwards in my progress.

Just keep in mind that diligently tracking numbers as you progress towards your goal is important outside of your fitness life. Tracking progress is an important part of achieving success with all of your important goals. So figure out how to measure success and track it every day.