Much of this blog post was inspired by Marcus Volz’s Strava data visualizations in R. I had fun recreating many of the same ideas using JavaScript and D3.js.

In the midst of a long, weird year, I was lucky to find a few things to look forward to - including running outside. Although I’ve been running on and off for years now, I don’t think I ever fully appreciated it until this year. These days, I’m spending a lot of my time indoors and looking at various screens, so any opportunity to run and to feel the wind or the sun or the rain is exhilarating. So.. I made a few visualizations to look back on this year’s runs.

In 2020, I ran outside 157 times, all of which were recorded in Strava. I think I also ran on the treadmill a few times, but I left those out of these visualizations. Below, I’ve plotted every single route I ran this year. I have quite a few favorite spots that I revisit over and over in my runs, and that’s reflected here.

Here, all of my runs in Seattle are plotted to form a heatmap of places I’ve run by this year.

Heatmap of running routes

It’s also pretty new for me to be consistent with my running schedule. At the beginning of the year, I had some issues with my IT band, which flared up every time I tried to run. Thankfully, my IT band calmed down in March, when the first lockdowns happened in Washington. I started running again just to have an excuse to go outside. Since then, I have continued running four times a week during most weeks.

During this time, my weekly milage has plateaued at around 20 miles a week. Most of the time, I also get some decent elevation gain, which is bound to happen when you live at the bottom of a giant hill. The weeks with low elevation gain are mostly from different cities that are less hilly than Seattle. I’m hoping to work up to more milage and elevation gain next year.

Here’s to better times and many more miles in 2021.

A Few Technical Notes