Saturday, December 21, 2013

600 Hours

That is the number of aerobic activity hours I like to achieve in a given year. It is not a hard requirement, and I certainly can't pin any performance measures on it. 600 hours of activity seems to be what it takes for me to maintain my sanity. Addiction? Perhaps. I can think of far worse things to be addicted to.

This weekend I reached 600 hours of activity for the year. What is included in these 600 hours? Anything that raises my heart and respiration rates. It does not include stretching, situps/pushups, that sort of thing. Here's a breakdown of my hours for the year.

Half of my hours were spent on the mountain bike riding trails. Trail riding has always been my core passion. Road hours continue to diminish. Nothing beats "roadie fitness," but I'm finding the roads increasingly hostile around here. I've had too many close calls this year, two of them deliberate, one of them involving police, that I just don't enjoy riding on the road that much anymore. Every time I go out, I have this nagging worry that this could be my last bike ride ever.

As much as I like skiing, you'd think it would be more than 10% of my hours. But you can do it for only a few months out of the year, and it is hard for me to ski midweek. I can't just go out the front door of the office with skis and take off like I can running or cycling.

Running hours dropped this year, and they could go to zero next year. I have nagging problems with my left knee, and running seems to exacerbate things. It is pain behind the kneecap, which could be classic runner's knee. Pain quickly subsides if I back off on activity for a few days. Training weeks with a couple runs and punishing rides or skis can make something even as simple as stairs uncomfortable. Not a good situation, and maybe time to get things checked out.

I've been keeping a training log since 2002. Since then, I've captured about 7500 hours of aerobic activity. My average is 626hrs per year, with a standard deviation of 43hrs. My lowest year was 552hrs when I broke my ankle in 2010. Highest was 708hrs in 2003. I was almost a pure roadie back then, so that was mostly hours on a road bike. Wonder if I'll reach elite status in four more years with 10,000hrs of practice? Ha-ha.

So how well did these 600 hours serve me in 2013? Pretty good, I'd say. I posted my fastest time up Mt Washington ever and finished the Vermont 50 mile MTB race with a personal fastest. That pretty much brackets both ends of the spectrum, a one hour and a four-plus hour event. Both were pretty satisfying events for me, at 50+ years old.

One goal that I had to let go was running my fastest 5km race. I had a goal of 17:30, which is quite sporty for an old guy, and quite doable with just a couple hours running training per week I think. I learned last year that my high aerobic capacity carries over quite nicely to short running events. But alas, the knee issues, and getting too greedy by wanting Mt Washington and 5k PR in the same month. I jettisoned the running ambitions and focused on biking for several weeks leading up to Mt Washington in August. It paid off.

What's in store for 2014? Hard to say. I really don't start years with lofty goals anymore, other than ride and ski lots, stay healthy, be happy. This weekend is a prime example of why New England is such a great place to live. Ski local trails, ride dirt on the Cape. Best of both worlds.

Windblown Nordic Center, New Ipswich, NH, December 20, 2013. Foot base.

Trail of Tears ride, West Barnstable, MA, December 21, 2013. No snow in sight 2hrs away.

1 comment:

DaveP said...

After you retire, it will be less than 600 hours, right? Good numbers there, Mr. Jansen.