On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Thursday, June 30, 2011


A BRAINSTORM: I think from now on I'm going to be reckoning my mileage in kilometers.

This accomplishes a few major things for me:

  • Allows me to run new and different (and, ahem, shorter distances). How much more accomplished does it sound to do an 8k run than a 5m run? How much easier will it be to be all, "oh, I'll just add an extra klick today, I'm feeling good," rather than committing to a full mile? So yesterday, I didn't run only 10m when I intended to run 11m. Instead I ran 16km. So impressive, right?
  • Gives me an instantaneous drop in my running pace. Okay, yeah, I know my pace won't actually drop at all. And I know that I'll catch on to the math behind it pretty quickly. But in the short term? Goodbye, 10:30 minute miles. HELLO, 6:30 minute kilometers.
  • And, once I catch on, it will make me feel superior to all of the ignorant Americans who are thrown off when their European treadmills or race clocks are in kilometers.
  • Allows me to feel like I'm running hella lot more than I actually am. Again - 50k a week? YES, PLEASE. 31m a week? Yeah, that sounds... okay. But not as impressive as 50k!

Time to change the Garmin over?


  1. That's pretty genius of you, but for those of us who grew up in km, 31miles sounds more impressive cause miles are like super long and more badass than kilometers.

  2. Huh... I hadn't thought about that. Hm. I might need to learn how to go back and forth and preface any running conversation I have with, "What will sound more impressive to you, miles or kilometers?"

  3. my garmin is staying in miles. but i play a lot of mind games with myself so if switching over to the metric system is going to work for you, go for it. i am impressed with 31 miles/week, however. and how often are you getting on a european treadmill??

  4. In my dreams I am a vast world traveler who MUST keep up her running while on vacation!

    But the treadmills in Egypt were in km, and it really threw me.

  5. Um, is this directed at me and my post about not having any clue what my pace is now that the treadmill is in kilometers? Let me correct you right now: ignorant BRAZILIAN. Not American. (Which is even worse since in Brazil we actually use kilometers, but I wasn't a runner then...)

    I think you just found another reason to visit me in Manila! You can run a 21k race any weekend you like!

  6. Not even maybe, Carla! It was actually a jab at me when I was in Egypt and was DUMBFOUNDED by the treadmill there. I'm the dumb one!

  7. When I was in Brazil recently, that was really cool ... since both my extended and nuclear family still can't get over the fact that I run at all ... they'd ask how much I run ... "Sometimes I run 5-6 miles in the mornings", would get blank stares, so would go "hmm, I guess that's like 10K more or less", the response was really gratifying. Even though of course, it's the same exact distance. And if you are a runner, that's not that much really either.

    And hello fellow Brazilian runner!

  8. My coach in college was Canadian, and she always designed workouts in "Ks." It drove me nuts because a 2K split meant nothing to me. I see your logic, but I think I'm just too much of a stubborn American to change over.

  9. Welll...us Dutchies do it Metric. ;) So I'm with you on this one. ;)

  10. Recently stumbled upon your blog. Looks like the metric conversion didn't last? I may be the only runner I know who uses kilometers instead of miles.

    1. It's true, it didn't last. My normal, daily run is 5 miles, and I just found myself always thinking of it that way. Now that I've moved and I have a new daily route, maybe I'll try to change it up a bit again!