The Sun Sets on 2020, A Trail Running Recap

2020 was an exceptional year for most. Many routines and schedules were turned upside down. This fact was certainly the case here in the UK from about March and April 2020 onward. This post is a quick recap and summary of my personal 2020 trail running progress.

I had already maintained a fairly active running and training routine prior to 2020, due to having been in a position to work from home quite frequently for the last few years. At the beginning of 2020, I was travelling into London from the South East of England for work once, and sometimes twice a week. That small bit of travel quickly diminished with London locking down from March onward. I quickly soaked up the extra time saved from those handful of commutes each month and put it into my trail running routine.

Staying off-road, on the trail is running utopia for me. Trail running is my personal form of meditation. The sights, sounds, and (mostly void of human activity) spaces are perfect for my mind to unwind. It’s no suprise that my increased running over the year was off-road too. The only roads I run along are the short sections I need to cover to reach the trails.

2020 Trail running Stats

I started 2020 without any specific running goals other than to maintain my (mostly) weekly running at that time.

As I mentioned previously, I soon found more time being unlocked. This was not just from removing my once a week commute into London, but also from removal of unecessary outings into public, such as grocery shopping.

Another factor that resulted in many more runs was the glorious weather we had over Spring and Summer here in the UK. I could hardly ever turn down the opportunity to get out for a run in the sunshine over the Summer months.

As the frequency of my runs increased, so too did my interest and passion for this hobby. Toward the middle of Summer I decided to run my first Ultra marathon. This was shortly followed by my second ultra marathon.

I did both ultras solo, with a fairly minimal running pack, following sections of the Serpent Trail, here in the South Downs.

Following those two efforts I kept up the intensity and have not stopped since. 2020 has definitely been my personal best for running. Here are the summary statistics for my year in running.

Distance1,868.2 km
Time161h 55m
Elevation Gain19,931 m
Total Runs141
Up to 10K30
10K to Half Marathon68
Half Marathon24
Ultra Marathon2

Other Interesting Statistics

Running Cadence

Here’s an interesting collection of data points. I wrote script to scrape all my year’s run data off my personal strava profile, specifically collecting the cadence data.

I wrapped that up into a D3.js chart which you can see below. The data points on the x-axis are not perfect, but you can see a general trend of slightly increasing cadence as time goes on.

I attribute this increase in cadence to my running fitness level increasing over the year. You can see it start lifting from roughly 165 spm (steps per minute) on avearge, to around 177 spm at the end of 2020.

Whenever possible I do try to focus on my running gait, as there are benefits to shorter steps, and higher cadence.

Going into 2021

I’ll certainly be maintaining my trail running efforts going into 2021. In particular I would like to maintain the frequency of my running.

At the moment I strive to get at least 2 or 3 half marathons in each month, so that will continue as long as I stay health and injury-free. At the moment, motivation for running is low during Winter, but I am still maintaining my average of around 200K a month. Strava challenges have helped me with that goal, and I’ll lean on them like a crutch for these initial Winter months of 2021!

As soon as it warms up again I’m planning on getting into more ultra marathons on the trail. :running:

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