How do you measure a year of progress?

measuring-successOK – so I’ve not been as active as I wanted on this blog recently. Truth is, my year has been exceptionally busy with lots of work, a stack of travel and a number of personal challenges and changes. But through most of that I’ve managed to move forward. But how can I measure that progress?
One of the things that’s changed this year is I’ve moved away from using my Nike Sportwatch. It’s a great running watch but the one thing that has become apparent to me over this last year is the need for different training tools to work together.

At first, this started with my use of MyFitnessPal as one of my essential apps. But, more recently, I’ve become a fan of the FitBit ecosystem – something I wrote about for Macworld Australia – as I can use a single platform for tracking my runs, rides and other training as well as sleep, nutrition and general activity such as steps.

One of the neat things about FitBit is that, unlike Apple, it can integrate nicely with other services. If you’re happy with an Apple Watch then that’s great  but it’s not ready for serious runners yet.

I’ve chosen to use Strava as my main training tracking tool. It can receive a direct feed from FitBit and provides all if the training data I need.

Training notes

I’ve not run quite as far this year as last year. The difference is only about 10km per month on average. I’m counting that as a win given I’ve spent about 100 days travelling this year. While I’ve travelled, I’ve taken advantage of hotel gyms which are a reasonable substitute and help a lot with jet lag!

My weight is up a little – which isn’t great. I know my diet has slipped a little and I’ll need to be a little more disciplined in the new year.

On the upside, my “tank” is far more capacious now. I’ve built a lot more stamina over this year with a number of longer runs under my belt. Although my stock run, when I’m pushed for time, is five or six kilometres I’m running longer distances more often.

Cross-training is now a regular part of my training. I’ve been attending a weekly boot camp with Fit Me with SP where I’ve participated in Pilates, boxing, interval training, strength training and lots of other activities.

One thing I’ve not done as much as I’d have liked is cycle.

So, how would I grade myself?

Running: 7/10 – I need to get a little more adventurous when travelling so that I can keep the miles ticking over.

Lifting: 5/10 – Much of my lifting activity has been superseded by cross training.

Nutrition: 6/10 – While I’ve eaten pretty well most of the time, some bad habits have crept in. I need to find a way to manage the occasional “cheat” food without compromising too often.

Overall health: 8/10 – I’m getting close to closing out my fifth decade on the planet so I could expect some minor niggles. I did have some knee soreness early in the year but an enforced rest that was driven by a heavy travel schedule sorted that out. My blood pressure and resting pulse suggest my cardio-vascular health are solid.

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