Friday, October 18, 2013

Last Year Vs. This Year

It's been nearly two weeks since Lakefront Marathon - just enough time to have properly reflected on the race. Naturally, I couldn't help but start drawing comparisons between last year and this year. 

Obviously no two training cycles are going to be the same but there were a few major differences between last year and this year. To be honest, I'm still scratching my head as to how this year's training somehow led to such a great race. 

Last Year: Peak mileage weeks at 60-65 mpw
This Year: Peak mileage weeks at 40-45 mpw
I prefer to run higher mileage, but unfortunately a series of injuries kept me at low mileage this time around. 

Lake Park is one of my favorite MKE spots to log miles

Last Year: Five 20-22 mile runs within the marathon training cycle
This Year: Three 20-22 mile runs within the marathon training cycle
Three 20-22 mile runs is sufficient but my confidence is higher when I can log more long runs.

Last Year: Weekly speedwork
This Year: No speedwork til the month before the race
I love speedwork but I tend to peak quickly so too much early on in a cycle is a recipe for burnout. It's too hard to maintain peak fitness for an entire marathon training cycle. 

As much as I love the track, I have to run on it sparingly during marathon training

Last Year: Two full-effort half marathons in September
This Year: No races in September
This one is just common sense. Don't get greedy the month before the big event. Or you will risk ending up with an injury that will ruin your race plans.

Last Year: Cut back on strength training to fit in miles
This Year: 2-3 strength training sessions weekly
Cutting back on strength training meant losing strength. A key factor in getting injured during last year's second September half marathon.  

Dumbbells are my friend

Last Year: 10 pounds lighter
This Year: Umm ... 10 pounds heavier
No one likes to be put on a diet, but weight is something that is 100 percent controllable. I once read every 10 pounds lost equals a savings of 20 seconds per mile. Over a 5k, that's about one minute, a 10k about two minutes, and so on. 

My takeaways for the next marathon training cycle:
Increase mileage again to 60-65 mpw but keep doing strength training. No racing the month before the marathon. Fast track repeats should be saved til the end of the training cycle to avoid peaking too early. Lose 10 pounds. 

This should be easy, right? ;)

Because I like asking questions:
  1. What are a few differences you've noticed in your own training between cycles?
  2. What is your ideal weekly mileage?
  3. Speedwork - Do you do it throughout a training cycle or just use it to sharpen at the end?
  4. Would you or have you lost weight specifically for running performance?

Tell me everything and more!

- ST


  1. Hey girly! Great post.
    1. I feel like my training has been pretty consistant between cycles except for strength training. I feel like in the past I have gone to the gym way too much working the wrong muscles just because I genuinely like to lift. I think I got a bit too muscular up top. For this cycle I am just doing a lot of core work and the exercises from Jay Dicherry's book "Anatomy For Runners".
    2. My ideal weekly mileage is 90+. I feel like it is what makes me the most fit. Some do well on 40, 70, etc. Just my personal preference. I do like having 3 weeks high, 1 week cutback. I feel like that keeps me from getting burned out.
    3. Throughout the cycle- track/intervals tues, short track work/hill repeats Sat, sometimes pickups during Sunday long runs.
    4. Yes! I feel like as an athlete you can be conscious of this without being weird about it.:) I know, from my many logbooks, that I race my best at a certain weight. All last year I was 5 pounds above that and just never felt great. I am so close to my goal weight now and I am feeling so much better! I think that we can be careful and conscious at the same time. It seems as though it is so taboo to talk weight! I feel if you are healthy, eating well, and training hard, it will take care of itself.
    Good luck on your next training cycle, I love the pic of you running in Lake Park. Love that place!!

    1. Loved reading your answers to the questions! I'm going to have to check out that book. I also like to lift and tend to get carried away on occasion. I guess it's more a matter of needing to get carried away with working the right muscle groups :)