Friday, November 22, 2013

Conditioning part two: mileage numbers

Originally, I meant to include this in the first post.  Oops!  It should be easy enough to write lots just on the mileage, though, so I think that worked out well.

Instinctively, I want to consider my "short rides" anything between 1-3 miles or so.  Long rides are 8+ miles.  The reality is that our usual few loops are 5-7 miles, and at least half of those don't qualify as real conditioning rides when they're done at 3.5-4mph.

Relevant note: tracking applications are started once across the river, generally once we're in the park.  Any given ride has a half-mile warmup and cooldown that doesn't get tracked, and 'Fetti knows it's time to move out once we're on the park trails.  That decision came about when I was first tracking our rides, and we would frequently spend 20 minutes getting to the river even before we got on a real trail.  Made for really terrible time comparisons!  Any hissy fits happen in that first half-mile, so I don't stress over speed or consistency there at all.

1-3 miles: 3 rides
3-5* miles: 3 rides
5-7 miles: 5 rides
8+ miles: 12.55 miles, 8.24 miles, 18.03 miles = 3 rides

1-3 miles: 2 rides
3-5 miles: none
5-7 miles: 8 rides
8+ miles: 8.17 miles, 8.92 miles, 12.50 miles = 3 rides
+ 25LD mid-month

1-3 miles: 6 rides
3-5 miles: 3 rides
5-7 miles: 7 rides
8+ miles: 7.89 miles, 8.40 miles, 7.44 miles

1-3 miles: 7 rides
3-5 miles: 4 rides
5-7 miles:7 rides
8+ miles: 13.10 miles, 7.41 miles, 11.52 miles

October LD the first weekend.

*They need a category since clearly some rides fall in that lovely gray zone of 3-5 miles.  So.. there it is.  Looking at it, I think most are probably 5-7 mile rides where I forgot to start tracking for a mile or two.

Longer rides are hard for me to do for a variety of reasons.  I tend to ride in the evenings; longer rides mean I need to allow several more hours at the barn, and mean I need to get off work early enough for that to work.  I think one of our loop-trails is around 9 miles, and is back up on my to-do list after seeing these numbers!  Also, anything much beyond that (without adding loops - probably what I should be doing) takes me out of the park and into further sections of nearby park/forest land.  There's always a risk involved when going out solo on the horse into mountain-bike popular trails and crossing the highway.  My compromise has been to do those rides only on mornings/afternoons, when I know there will be people around if something goes terribly wrong.  That unfortunately makes late afternoon longer rides somewhat unappealing.

A handful of the monthly 3-7 mile rides are those out with friends and don't count as real conditioning - I'd figure probably 4 a month at least.  5 in June, 6 in July, 6 in August, 7 in September - although some of those may have been rides on a different horse, too.  So with those numbers in mind, I started doing a lot more 'real conditioning' at speed in August/September.

Due primarily to my work schedule, I mostly ride Tuesday/Thursday/weekends.  I rode more with a week off in September, but tried to keep to lighter works (or different horses!) on our usual off days.  Sometimes another gal comes out and does dressage lessons/rides, which is good for everyone involved - same thing there, I try to ride lightly on the other days since I know she gets worked pretty hard then.

We'll taper off the next few months as it's muddy, then work back into it in the spring.


  1. Belated thank you for these -- I have found them interesting, both for the details and for the reminder that _most_ of us struggle with imperfect schedules/situations and it still works out okay in the end.

    I start my tracking as I leave the barn (unless I forget) and have wondered how much that inevitable first/last walking mile causes a regression-to-the-mean effect over the entirety of the ride. Will have to remember to start it once we get past that warm-up sometime and see.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed! It seems like most of the folks who post schedules are doing more endurance-typical things on endurance-typical horses, while the pony and I are over in our own corner flailing about and making things work anyway. Imperfection abounds! But I'm enjoying it anyway and things are generally working just fine.

  2. Really interesting!

    When Saiph asked you about your conditioning schedule, I went back and looked at my GPS data from 2009 and 2010, but I didn't think it would actually be useful to share. I wasn't trying to leg up an unfit but capable horse; I was trying to learn to ride and convince Dixie to be brave AND leg her up all at once. The next horse I start in endurance will come along a lot more efficiently, and I think our rides would look more like yours. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

    1. I pretty frequently feel like I haven't got a clue how to condition a horse. It's really only recently that I've decided that she is indeed capable (and beyond) of everything I'm asking her to do, and only this past six months that we've consistently made it out on our own. I can't imagine trying to do it all simultaneously. Extra awesome for the fact that it worked /so/ well for you!