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Today’s post comes from guest author, Tom R. from Kingsland, GA. If you’d like to be a guest author, email your ideas or stories to editor@dailymile.com

If you are like me, you are always trying to get better. There comes a time in every runner’s travels that they get discouraged. “Why is it that I haven’t gotten faster lately.” “I’ve been on this plateau for a couple of months now.” These are questions that will come up after a couple of weeks that seem unchanged.

I have started to do a couple of things in order to help me see a change when there doesn’t seem to be one. I’ve got a set route that I am running once a week. For me, it is a 2 mile out and back. I know that 2 miles is far enough to be affected by the heat, but short enough that I can put a pretty good effort into it. You may use 1 mile, 5k, or 10k. As I increase my distance again, I may change it to a longer distance, but for now 2 miles is a good measure for me. Comparing the last three weeks can help to see just a few seconds in speed increase, or the same pace at a lower heart rate. Sure this is going to help you in the future, but what about now?

Something I just did last week was look back to my runs over the last year. You can do this right now with Dailymile. Go to the Training tab at the top of the page. I changed from days to months in order to see how I’ve done this year. Many of us made new year’s resolutions to run more this year. This year has not been the best for me training wise. I didn’t run at all in January. February I got 66 miles in before I injured myself in March. Recovering in March, I dropped down to 42 miles in preparation for a race in April. After the race, I stopped running until June 2. That is when I started back running. Since the temperatures were on the rise, I have started to call my new training program “Running In The Oven.” I have purposely started to run as close to the heat of the day as possible. If I can run two 8 minute miles when it’s 95*F outside, then I should be able to run a 7:30 or better when the temps drop down below 60*F, right?

So where does the encouragement come in? On the left hand side of the Training page, click on List. Now you are looking at all the workouts you have posted on Dailymile. You can go as far back as you have been a member of Dailymile. When I did this I noticed my off and on again was similar to last year. However when I look at my pace I can see a big difference. On June 12, 2010, I ran 2.6 miles at a pace of 8:55. On June 17, 2011, I ran 2 miles at a 7:30 pace. When you compare your runs, especially during the summer, you need to look at runs that were similar. They should be similar distances, times of day, and especially temperatures. You can’t compare a run from June to one in March even if the distances are the same. Typically the temperatures are extremely different. Here in southeast Georgia, June is in the mid 90’s and March is in the 50s-60s. If you are comparing runs with different temperatures, there is a pretty good chance the warmer one is going to be slower than the cooler one.

Don’t be discouraged. You have heard the phrase “miles in the bank.” If you are putting in your due diligence, then it will pay off. Go ahead and take a look back a year ago. I bet you getting faster or going further. How do you compare to last year?

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