An interesting way to track your training. : LUSENET : orienteer kansas : One Thread

I bumped in to an interesting description of how an ultra-marathoner tracks his running using a point system rather than miles.

It is kind of fun to look at peoples mileage totals for the year and up until about 15 years ago - I did very much the same. I think I got to 4500 one year, never making to my goal of 5000. Probably could have used Joe Schlereth's advice.

I would like to point out the danger of getting to wrapped up in mileage totals. It was my downfall in the early 80's - leading to many injuries. Tracking ones mileage totals can become obsessive and destructive. The same holds true with running-day streaks.

But since it is quite natural to want to measure or quantify what we do, I developed a point or reward system for what I do. I did this back in the early 80's when I finally got fed up with all the nagging little injuries that would interupt what I was trying to accomplish.

I was told that there was another similar system put out by somebody (maybe Runners World - I don't know). But my system allowed me to count what I did during the month and became one of the major reasons, why I was able to eliminate the ups and downs of training and racing.

Some of my friends know about the system and instead of answering "How far did you go today?" the traditional way, I occasionally answer them with a "a 3 pointer".

Here is my system for measuring "What I do". (Note: I have a couple of rules that I will point out at the end).

Long Run of 32+ = 5 Points

Race of 15K+ = 5 Points
Long Run of 24+ = 4 Points
Race of 5K+ = 4 Points
Run of 18+ = 3 Points
Tempos(4 Miles+) or Intervals (speed work) = 3 Points
Run of 12+ = 2 points
Short Tempo (2 Miles) = 2 points
Weight or strength Training = 1 Point

Note: Points can be combined, but at a lesser value (12 mile run with a fast 3 mile thrown in the middle = 3 Points, not 4)

Variations of this can include (I don't use these) Complete Rest Day = 1 Point Run 7-11 Miles = minus 1 Point

The intent is to limit a person's mileage while trying to enforce some rest or easy days. Too many people run "junk miles" and this keeps them under control.

Rules include: You can't score points in any 3 successive days! You can't score more than 6 Points in 3 days! After an ultra, you can't score any points of any kind for two weeks. During a 2 month "off season" - NO POINTS of any kind! Also this does not take into account cross training, which I tend not to do. So with this scoring system, I can score no more than 60 points in a month. If I am training very well and up to my optimum (preparing for an event), a score of 50-60 is great. 40-50 is good. 30-40 is marginal. 20-30 is "I better get my arse in gear". I have had perfect 60s, and on occasion a 61 or 62 on those 31 day months.

The danger with counting miles is that sometimes people get too caught up with the idea. Then they start running multiple times a day - sometimes 10-15 times a week, just so they can get their miles in. While accumilating miles is good - to a point, it soon becomes counter productive. The emphasis should then come back to working on specifics (long runs and speed). After that a runner must incorporate rest and recovery. That is the best way to develop as a distance runner. Yes I have used the point system on people and this was just a mechanism to get them to back off when I wanted them to.

When I work with runners, I rarely have a problem - whereby they don't do enough of the work. More frequently, it is the other way around - they want to do more then what is prescribed - and that is a problem.

All in fun!

There is more about this approach at:

-- Michael (, June 03, 2000


Um, no labels of distance on the numbers. I'm assuming the units are laps around a track?

-- Fritz (, June 06, 2000.

Fritz, I think the units are miles. So, "Long Run of 32+ = 5 Points" means you get 5 points for a run of over 32 miles (the system was set up for an ultrarunner).

-- Michael (, June 06, 2000.

So I have to run 24+ miles to get the same number of points as a 5K race???

Let's see. 240+ minutes at a slow pace equal to 24- minutes at a fast pace??? Yup. Sure is set up for the ultrarunner. How about something which gives points for 'long' runs of 60 - 120 minutes, for us non-ultra-runners.

-- Fritz (, June 07, 2000.

I think what is interesting about this way of tracking training is that it is a system that is designed to keep you from over training or just blindly logging miles. What you count is what you end up maximizing. The specific scoring is obviously geared toward ultra- running. But, the concept could easily be adapted to almost anyone's training.

This spring I experimented with emphasizing technique training. So, I counted the number of controls I found. I ended up doing a lot of O' training because I wanted to increase my control count.

I think it is worth experimenting with different simple ways of tracking training. It is not necessary to just track miles or time. There are a lot of other options.

-- Michael (, June 07, 2000.

In the case of desiring the system of logging training to provide an incentive, the idea would be to figure out what it is you want the incentive for. Mike's idea of counting controls is good for his goal of increasing orienteering technique. But as he told me, even that lead to problems as he found himself setting many short legs, rather than long legs, just so he'd get more controls.

I don't see how just one measure can do all that needs to be done. Even with the physiological aspect I think at least two measures, maybe even three are needed. One to measure the 70's concept of LSD (long slow distance) which trains the body to work more efficiently at a low given workload. Another for the AT (anaerobic threshold) which trains the body to be more efficient at a high workload. And possibly another related to stretching or strength.

But what could be measured in the woods? Or how does one measure map reading time? If I do a long run glancing at a map every minute, do I maybe count 'map glances'? (No, I haven't yet developed the machine which can note how long my eyes are looking at the map and later provides a download of that information like a pulsemeter.) Surely it must be something simple, like Mike's idea of controls -- but that steers people away from line o's or long leg practice.

Anyway, it's getting on summer and I'm going to get my blades ready and my bike tuned up and think about having fun with cross-training for the next two months before gearing up for the Flatrock 50K, the 4th toughest 50K trail run ever.

found under

then 'our events' then 'trail description'

-- Fritz (, June 08, 2000.

I think that the way to avoid injuries is to be aware of how you feel training, know how you should feel training (when you don't have an injury), and if you don't feel alright, be careful and take care of the situation. Other than that I think people should train just as hard as they can and if they choose to measure their training quantitatively (to provide motivation perhaps?), more power to them!

-- Mook (, June 08, 2000.

Mike's idea of counting controls is good for his goal of increasing orienteering technique. But as he told me, even that lead to problems as he found himself setting many short legs, rather than long legs, just so he'd get more controls.

This happened a couple of times. But, it is easy to avoid. Most of my technique training was running old courses. I would get a map from a race I ran years ago (or one Mary ran) and re-run it. Sometimes I'd get someone else to set the course. I remember asking Dan to draw me a 7-8 K course at Clinton State Park. It turned out to be over 11 K.

-- Michael (, June 08, 2000.

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