Saturday, March 15, 2014

What's your average training day look like?

This is a question I get from time to time (not really that often as my training doesn't come up all that often and when it does, most folks aren't really that interested).  When it does come up, I tend to deflect the question because most folks who ask are just politely humoring me for the most part--I mean who really cares what my training volume is?  lol

Anyways, when someone does ask I usually respond by saying there is no average day--every day is different and it depends on the time of the year, when my next race is, what my next race is, how tired I am, what else I've got going on, etc., etc., etc.

However, this isn't really true because by definition I really do have an average training day, week, and month.   Simple math!  And because I worked with Peter Reid back in 2007, I have faithfully recorded my training volume every day since.  I now have 7+ years of such data.  If I just look at 2007-2013 I have 84 months or 2,557 days of data to calculate averages from!  And medians and modes, etc.  So what does the data say?


My daily averages for the 2,557 days from 2007 to 2013 are:

Swim: 916 yards/day
Bike: 25.1 miles/day
Run: 3.5 miles/day
Time: 2:31/day

I do think this is somewhat atypical--how many people do you know have averaged 25+ miles per day riding their bike for the last 7 years?  Perhaps this has something to do with the strength I enjoy on the bike.  Also, I think 2.5+ hours/day on average is pretty solid for training time...

On a weekly, monthly and yearly basis the averages are:

Swim:  6,400 yards/week----27,900 yards/month----334,000 yards/year
Bike: 176 miles/week----763 miles/month----9,154 miles/year
Run: 24.5 miles/week----106 miles/month----1,274 miles/year
Time: 17.7 hours/week----77 hours/month----921 hours/year


Since my training is not (for the most part) random, the distribution does not follow a bell curve.  Here are the monthly volume distributions for my S/B/R/T measures for the last 7 years:

First for the swim I broke the 84 months into increments of 10,000 yards:

What you see here is a pretty broad distribution.  The mode (or most frequent increment) is between 30 and 39 thousand yards per month.  The median turns out to be 30,000 yards/month, which is higher than my mean (or average) of 27,900 years/month.  The reason the median and mode are higher than the mean is the seasonality of my approach to swimming.  After my last Ironman each year I typically take some time off from swimming as I find I can pretty quickly (a couple of months) recapture my swim stroke--this is because swimming is more technique oriented than fitness oriented (at least relative to biking and running).  BTW, the most swim volume in a month for me has been 56,000 yards back in April 2007 when Mr. Reid had me frequently in the pool!

Next, the bike where I used increments of 200 miles/month:

 On the bike, my monthly volume is more tightly concentrated in the 400-800 miles/month increments.  Admittedly, these are pretty broad ranges....  The mode is 600-799 miles, which is similar to the mean of 763 miles.  However, because I do quite a few very heavy months (typically the three months before an Ironman) the mean (763 miles/month) is considerably more than the median at 653 miles/month.  My biggest month was 1,212 miles back in August, 2011.

For the run I used increments of 25 miles/month:

Here we see a very prominent mode between 100-124 miles/month.  We also see a more classical bell shape curve.  Not surprisingly, the median (110 miles/month) and mean (106 miles/month) are very similar.  My biggest month was 181 miles back in December of 2007.

And finally the total training time (including cross-training) broken into increments of 10 hours/month:

Here the mode (70-79 hours/month) and mean and median (both 77 hours/month) are all very similar.  Interestingly, in the 84 months between 2007-2013, I've never worked-out less than 40 hours....  My biggest month was 111 hours (March 2008).

So there you go--certainly more info than anyone would ever expect or want.....

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