Alexander Kinnunen

Running Recap 2019

2019 was a year of long-distance running.

Dodging scooters and running on the beaches of Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia as well as in the mountainous landscapes of Norway, Northern Italy, Nepal and New Zealand.

In other words, quite the diversity and I’ve loved every minute of it.

I’m pretty sure that I logged more kilometres during the course of the year than I have done cumulatively in the rest of my life. Without a doubt when it comes to elevation gain!

I have also hiked loads more. On the other hand, gym sessions have been few and far between. That’s totally fine with me.

Most importantly of all, I’ve enjoyed moving outside tremendously and I have stayed injury-free.


  • Total distance: 1,853 kilometres
  • Total elevation gain: ~ 27 kilometres
  • Total time: 219 hours
  • Total time in Zone 1: 95 hours
  • Total time in Zone 2: 64 hours
  • Total time in Zone 3: 23 hours
  • Total time in Zone 4: 20 hours
  • Total time in Zone 5:  6 hours


  • Longest distance run: 32 kilometres (already smashed this in 2020!)
  • Fastest 5k: 19 minutes 56 seconds
  • Fastest half-marathon: 2 hours 12 minutes

(None of these have been goals but still fun measurements)

All data has been extracted from TrainingPeaks where I upload my Garmin data. Some hikes are included in the total elevation gain but not in the rest of the data. The rest is all runs, treadmill runs and regular runs.


Distance in kilometres over time. About one long run a week.
Distance in kilometres over time. About one long run a week.
Minutes of heart rate intensity zones over time.
Minutes of heart rate intensity zones over time. Light blue = Zone 1. Blue = Zone 2. Green = Zone 3. Yellow = Zone 4. Red = Zone 5.

Training philosophy

In 2019, I have mainly been training for running in four-week blocks consisting of three weeks of varied running workouts and one rest week with much less volume and intensity.

Most weeks have been made up of one short run (around 5k) run at low intensity, one interval workout, one long run (that on average gets longer and longer for each month) and one relatively long run about half the distance, often back-to-back with the long run.

For the long runs, I have focused on staying below my aerobic threshold – often referred to as zone 1 and zone 2 training.

This is absolutely key to building more aerobic capability (“a bigger base”). That means that I, over time, can run faster at lower heart rates that are sustainable for much longer.

For the interval sessions with more intensity, I have aimed for zone 4 or zone 5. Work in these zones has made up about 10-15% of the total workload.

Even though I have followed this template to the best of my ability when circumstances have allowed for it, it just hasn’t always been feasible. I have, for example, substituted long runs with long hikes on several occasions.

I am by no stretch of the imagination a professional runner and mostly run with this structure in mind to keep me from getting injured and to actually progress, even if it is just a little. So that’s all good.

In 2019, I started experimenting with running fasted in the morning to increase fat adaptability. Results have been interesting but not really consistent.

Let’s see what’s around the corner for 2020. See you out on the trails!

Alexander Kinnunen

My Favourite Podcasts & Best Episodes of 2019

Without further ado, here are some of the podcasts and specific episodes that have had the biggest impact on my thinking in 2019. I hope they can invigorate you as well!

Rich Roll

Rich Roll’s podcast has definitely been my most beloved show of the year.

His ability to engage thoughtfully with his guests is astonishing and the ensuing conversations always leave me wiser and feeling more motivated and inspired. Rich’s eloquence is very impressive.

The three podcasts featuring Zach Bush (Episodes 353, 414 and 456) have all blown my mind. If you’re ready for a deep dive into planetary and personal health, this is it. Easily my favourite episodes.

It was interesting to learn about how we’re actually made up of 10 times more bacteria, viruses and fungi (our microbiome) than human cells with Ara & Raja.

Rich’s talk with Pat Brown (from Impossible Foods) was a great look into a quickly evolving and very important industry, and the live show with Paul Hawken about climate change was awesome. Make sure to check out the video.

Learning about consciousness with Annaka Harris was wild – especially hearing about panpsychism. I just love how Rich really wants to believe it.

I don’t exactly know how to feel about the future proposed by David Sinclair where we can extend lifespan almost indefinitely, but it sure is a great conversation.

And, of course, James Aspey is killing it (might be the wrong verb to use…) as always.

While writing this post, I listened to Rich Roll’s interview with John & Molly Chester and thoroughly enjoyed their conversation. I can also recommend watching their well-crafted, emotional and beautiful documentary The Biggest Little Farm.

Kevin Rose

Kevin Rose’s talk with Valter Longo made me re-interested in fasting.

His talk with Michael Pollan made me buy his book How to Change Your Mind which is a whole other rabbit hole.

If you want to go into meditation, learning how with Sam Harris is a great start.

And who knew sleep was so captivating? We all need more of it, that’s for sure. Matthew Walker.

80,000 Hours

Rob Wiblin and the 80,000 Hours podcast have joined me on many of my very longest runs, and the super long format suits me well.

Sure, sometimes the conversations go places where I can’t follow, but they always leave me feeling somehow smarter and more well-rounded in my thinking.

I learned a lot about making more accurate predictions of the future with Professor Tetlock (episodes 15 and 60).

Before listening to the interview with Persis Eskander, I had never thought much about wild animal welfare.

Ending factory farming as soon as possible with Lewis Bollard was also great if you’re into animal welfare… Which I, of course, think that you should be 🙂

I really hope that Dr David Denkenberger gets the support he needs to feed the world’s population in the (thankfully very unlikely case) of a nuclear winter. More about nuclear war risks with Dr Anders Sandberg

Lots of great stuff in the episodes with Spencer Greenberg (episodes 11 & 39) and the interview with Professor Will MacAskill.

The Plant Proof Podcast

Simon Hill is doing a fantastic job spreading the plant-based message.

His dynamic with vegan bodybuilder Nimai Delgado is very engaging and if you’re thinking about adopting more plants into your life but have some concerns, this one is for you.

Simon’s interview with Ellen Fisher was an eye-opener, and I also enjoyed the episodes with Bianca Taylor about mental health and the interview with Rich Roll.


I enjoyed getting super geeky about Frank Ocean with the Dissect season 3.

I already loved his music but through the incredibly in-depth analyses, I have found even more admiration for Frank.


Freakonomics was one of the first podcasts I started listening to years ago and Stephen Dubner just keeps on putting out interesting episodes.

Some of the best ones I’ve listened to in 2019:


As SR’s Dystopia is in Swedish, I’m guessing that you probably won’t be able to comprehend much of it.

But if you do speak Swedish, I can’t recommend Dystopia enough.

They’ve taken up so many fascinating topics.

The P3 podcasts on documentaries and history have also been consistently good.

This list is by no means comprehensive.

I have been listening to a lot of podcasts in 2019 (thank you, long runs!) and these are just some of the best ones that came to mind.

If you have any suggestions for what I’ve missed or should listen to in 2020, hit me up!