Teaser: The Chart of Training

1 How to read this chart: The top line with navy blue squares represents the build-up of mileage I would attain if I went running five times at week – I would end up running 900km (560mi.) and each week’s point on the charge is the proportion of the final mileage. Marathon training is a steady linear build-up. Each of the other plotted lines is the build-up I attained in the summers of 2006-2008, inclusive, and this winter in 2009. You can see how my total mileage each year falls short of 900km with the appearance of the trend that I run less with each passing year. :o Being narcissistic, I can see where and when I have “ramped up” like I did last year starting in Week 11. And I’m very pleased with myself that I seem to be on track to break through the 2007 and 2008 lines.
2 I’m truly excited to see where all this will go!
3 I do know very well that mileage is not everything and it is the quality of my training runs that counts for more. Still, the total kilometers I’ve run training for the past three marathons (721, 614, 645) boggles my mind. This is just one of the ways I plot my progress.
4 How many miles across Canada….? Oh, 3,800. I’m far, far away.

On this day..


  1. From an info-vis point of view, wouldn’t it be nicer to graph miles done each week instead of cumulative miles, and then just report the total miles for each of these five seasons, possibly as a second chart that was on the same X-axis as the first?

    I can see that what you show here is the gradual divergence of the training, and how small changes in training appear to be accumulating, but my graphic would show how you were missing “ideal” on a week-to-week basis (ie do you just miss a week every so often, or is it a matter of shorting your runs slightly each week?).

    Abstracting the mileage as a proportion of ideal is clever, though!

  2. Henry says:

    Hi Wynne,

    Nice to read a running article here every so often.
    Actually, the graph should NOT be a **steady** linear buildup.
    See definition of mesocyle and periodization.
    1) For every 3 weeks of training, you should have a recovery week.
    i.e. 3 weeks of gradual mileage increase, 1 week of recovery.
    repeat. In practice, not everyone can do a 3:1 break/recovery.
    In fact some do a 2:1 or even a 1:1 – 1 week up and 1 week down.
    I think the RR encourages a 3:1 ratio …
    2) During the last 3 weeks (or 4 – depending on how hard u trained)
    , your mileage should go DOWN.
    See tapering
    3) You might also plot a graph on Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type.
    Those 4 graphs combined would give someone a more accurate
    training program. See FITT acronym

    Good luck with your training. I hope u crack a 4hr marathon this year.

  3. admin says:

    Ryan: I do have the weekly mileage for each of my training seasons but for some reason decided to compare myself in the way I have chosen. Currently I am keeping just one other visual which I will post very soon!

    Henry: Well, I try to please – moreover, I write about what interests me. :) I did not note that the “If I had no life and ran 5 times a week” data values come from the same RR schedule I have loosely followed for the past few years. I wondered but did not really look into why the RR mileage looks linear – I figured that even if the long run was at a recovery distance, the hill repetitions continue to increase so it still looks linear? Yeah, by the looks of it, I don’t usually taper – maybe the graph Ryan suggested would better show that.

    I’m intrigued by how I would make the 4 graphs for FITT. I certainly have the data kicking around like the Frequency that I will blog about next….

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