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2011 Running Year in Review

A very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to all. A brief post on the 2011 Running Year …

Running Focus

My primary focus was and probably always will be to run (live) healthy, both physically and mentally. Events are tests of health, not of fitness (related blog post). To increase health, I focused on the following points this year:
– ChiRunning efficiency; mainly through a core strength training program and sensing how that supports efficient alignment, increased relaxation and confidence through balance.
– Aerobic efficiency, by developing an aerobic base by running slower at a lower heart rate to enable running faster/longer at a lower heart rate.


I participated in eight events this year with seven ultra marathons, with two DNFs early in the year. The biggest lessons came from these DNFs and set me up for success later in the year. The primary target (JFK50-November) event resulted in a 38 minute PR, a good sense for what is working, a new outlook on what is *now* possible and a few areas to focus on. Here is a blog post link:

WWU 50K DNF (January)
FebApple 50K (February)
NJ Ultra Festival 100M DNF (March)
River to Sea Relay (July)
Blues Cruise 50K (October)
Bimblers Bluff 50K (October)
– JFK 50 Miler (November)
Staten Island Trail Festival 50K (December)

I have the same events planned for early 2012. An ultra marathon in each Jan, Feb, March. The rest of the year is TBD, but I would like to go back to the JFK50 (the 50th annual) in November. It would be my 5th consecutive JFK50.


I increased my total mileage just slightly from last year. Below is a graph of mileage by week for the year (click on it to enlarge). The blue is the weekly total and the red is the weekly long run.

Mileage by Week notes:
– Total miles for the year: 1745 or 33.5 miles per week on average. This was about 75 miles short of my 35 miles/week target. But these stats do not include the amount of running I do while instructing.
– The first 8 weeks of the year had many safe running challenges with snow jammed trails and sidewalks.
– Week 11 was the the NJ Ultra Festival 100M (DNF at 64 miles, logged at 52 miles running).
– Week 46 was the JFK 50 Miler.
– The first week of the year is a partial (~1/2) week.
– The last week of the year was disappointing with a unusual (for me) head cold. It was probably a divine message that I needed to rest more after (4) challenging ultras in 2 months, 10 days.

2011 Take-aways

So what did I learn this year?  Here are just a few of the many lessons:
– Balance in *ALL* things.
– Core strength, core strength, core strength – it is the base of your potential capability. Look for blog posts on this coming soon.
– Running relaxed with a lower HR works. Running tense (“fight or flight”) has the physiology thinking about survival, running relaxed allows the body to build health with low stress.
– You don’t have to run a lot of miles, or *hard* miles, to run well.
– It does help to stay focused on posture and form all day long, not just when you are running.

2012, What is Next?

– Keep doing what you are doing.
– Similar schedule to 2011, maybe a *few* more tests (events) …
– Get flexible: Yoga, sun salutations, resistance stretching. This is a key element of getting to my next level.


Thoughts on this post? Leave your comment or question below and join the discussion …

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David Stretanski is a holistic health, fitness and wellness coach and Certified ChiRunning®/ChiWalking® Instructor. For more information on David, please see his About MeContact page or his website at

ChiRunning® and ChiWalking® are registered trademarks of ChiLiving, Inc.


Posted on Sunday, Jan. 1st 2012 6:31 AM | by echifitness | in All, ChiRunning, Events | 2 Comments »

2 Comments on “2011 Running Year in Review”

  1. Nick Constantine Says:

    really good analysis David, i have reached similar conclusions re running although primarily I enjoy shorter distances , core strength and relaxation a fundamental. also my mileage is about the same as yours but no ultra running.
    you may like my musings on my website re yoga, buddhist thought and running. nothing special comes about from a zen phrase focusing on leaving your ego behind you 🙂 thanks for an informative 2011…Nick Constantine

  2. echifitness Says:

    Thank you for your comment and feedback.

    Interesting posts on your referenced page – you can be an ultra runner if you want …


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