At the start of 2021, I decide I really ought to get into better shape, so took up running. To start with I was just going to try once per month, but built up to 2 - 3 time a week. I realised if I kept it up I could reach 100 runs by the end of the year. Unfortunately after a two week holiday in summer, followed by moving house, stopped and didn't get back into it, ending the year with 61 runs.
At the start of 2022, I had found a new circuit to run and made a New Year's resolution to run 100 times (at least 3km each time). And this time I managed to hit my target. I planned to run less at the start of the year, ramp up, have a week off for summer holiday, then tail off until, just running a few times in December. As it happens, after getting a bit behind, I over-achieved in September and October, hit my target in November and then pretty much lost interest.
Doing so much running, meant I had a lot of time for think (nearly 48 hours it turns out), and one of the things I thought about was how many more runs I had to do that week and that month to keep on track with my goal. So I decided to write something that could show my runs over the year, along with the distance and pace, since I was recording that too (on my Fitbit and Garmin watch, though the latter broke towards the end of the year).
Running chart 2022
Below is the chart I generated. The code for it is here, but it I wrote it for my own use, so it's not very user-friendly.
I'm quite pleased with how the chart turned out. It makes quite a few trends clear. You can see how I gradually ramped up the frequency of runs at the start of the year and then tailed off at the end of the year. You can also see that my pace gradually increased until June, after which is got worse (not quite sure why that was - partly it was the hotter weather in July and August, but it never recovered). You can also see where I tried a few runs of longer distance, including a 10k, which was noticeably slower.
There's also a couple of things I'd not realised before: that I ran most often on Thursdays, and least often on Fridays; I ran eight consecutive Mondays in September and October. Before that, in May through to July, I only ran one Monday each month. One thing it maybe doesn't show so well, is days of consecutive runs. For a long time I avoided running two days in a row, but eventually tried in mid-July. Once I did three runs in three days, but it's not obvious from the chart.
Running chart 2021
Once I'd generated the chart for 2022, I went back and generated the chart for 2021. I had to adapt the code a bit to work with the flakey data. When I first started, I only recorded the date of the run, not the time or distance. Which might be for the best, because I know those early runs were very short and very slow. I just mark them on the chart with crosses.
The chart show how I started off slowly, both in run frequency and pace. By May I was running a lot and by June, I got pretty quick. Then in Aug, I had a two week break. Tried to get back into for a week, but then moving house took over and wrote off September. I tried a few times in our new house, but was clearly a lot slower, and gave up for the winter. You can also see I tried more longer runs in 2021 than in 2022.
One last thing I wanted to mention is that the radius of circles is proportional to the distance run. In general, I think you should make the area of a circle proportional to the value you want to display. Your eyes pick up the changes in area, rather than radius and if you double the radius, the area will be four times larger, so disproportional to the change in value. However, in this case I think the amount of effort required to run 10km is more than double the effort to run 5km, since the second 5km you run you are already exhausted. So I think showing the circle as four times bigger is justified, though whether the effort is four times, who knows.