Review, recharge and restart

It’s that period of the year when you look back and review your activity over the last 12 months and plan some of the actions, directions for next year. It’s been an unusual year, a bit different from 2020, more that the 2019 and the previous ones.

Last run of the year – apparently a recent habit since 2017

It’s been almost two years since the pandemic started and we had to adapt to a new reality (and some restrictions). That changed the profile of my activities, the time spent out and it’s very tempting to compare the 2020 and 2021 in terms of activities (distance, time, number of sessions, intensity).

The distance increased in 2021 vs 2020 (green is 2021, grey is 2020)

Most of my time (and distance) is spent running and, to my disappointment, 2021 was not the year when I beat the previous year since I replaced some period of running with hiking.

Not that much running (distance, sessions and ascent) in 2021 compared with 2020 [green is 2021, grey is 2020]

The initial goal for 2021 was to run more than 2000km, and I felt like this objective is reachable in the first 3-4 months of the year, but after that I’ve gave up on some of the immediate objectives (training for any competition for example and using a plan) and the effect was that I run for fun (which feel nice) but less for increasing fitness and speed.

Walking was much more a focus in 2020 than 2021

Walking distance and time was much influenced by the fact that in 2020 I started walking the dog a lot more in the first months of the pandemic – in 2021 that wasn’t that much of a focus area for me and some of the walking was replaced in terms of distance by hiking.

2020 was more intense in terms of cycling, 2021 was more about consistency

I’m not that much of a cyclist, but I still enjoy some sessions with friends, the sessions became longer in 2021 and that’s the plan going forward in 2022.

If I look back to 2015 when I started recording my workouts, there is progress in most of the aspects measured – distance, diversity of activities, time spent working out.

Distance evolution since 2015
Time evolution since 2015

It’s clear that working out become much more a habit with time and I increased the time spend being active. The way I approached the running is different now, much more of my time spent running is in zone 1 or 2 – the zone values are the recent LT based zones from Garmin, they look different in Polar default zones for example, but the principle is still the same. Even when using running power as guidance for my running training, the heart rate is mostly in zone 1 or 2.

More HR polarization starting with 2019

Did I become a faster runner? No, I didn’t … but also I didn’t focus on this aspect. I noticed that I’m able to train with lower HR and still enjoy it, even Polar default HR zones could be ok for me now (not after Covid in January-February, when I gave up on my Vantage V2 because of the HR zones).

What’s next? I hope that 2022 will allow more predictability regarding competitions and drive some of the energy for running more (and faster, more efficient?). In terms of gadgets and devices, I’m looking forward to seeing the new Garmin devices (could that be January?) maybe to tempt me with a Fenix 7. I’ll always have close my Polar watch, the Verity Sense, OH1, H10 and the Stryd footpod to help me in my training sessions.

Be healthy and run (exercise) happy!

Happy New Year 2022!

Author: Liviu Nastasa

Passionate about software development, sociology, running...definitely a geek.

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