Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Training recap

I think I've done a post like this for every marathon I've taken even somewhat seriously since I started this blog.  It's like a confidence-building tradition to look at how my weekly mileage stacks up, and more recently, I like to compare it against past years. 

There's an awesome passage that I've posted before about doing your homework.  All those weekday runs stack up in a training season to get you ready.  When I don't want to get out of bed to go run, I don't give myself that option.  I just make myself go, doing my homework, slogging out those everyday miles, slowly and almost immeasurably building on prior runs.  So on race day, it's just doing the things I've always done, getting out there to run some miles.  Just somewhere new, with thousands of others, and in a different city.  I love that concept.  And it makes me feel good to look at how all those days of running have piled up into some fairly significant (for me) totals. 

This year, here's how my 20 (!!) training weeks broke out, well, actually only 19, since this week is still in progress:
0-30.0 miles per week:  2 weeks (first week of training, and a week with no long run (Saturday the prior week, Sunday the following), plus this week I expect)
30.0-34.9 miles per week: 5 weeks
35.0-39.9 miles per week: 3 weeks
40.0-44.9 miles per week:  1 week
45.0-49.9 miles per week:  5 weeks
50.0-54.9 miles per week: 1 week
55.0-59.9 miles per week:  0 weeks
60.0 or more miles per week:  2 weeks (67.7 miles and 60.3 miles to be exact!)

Note, I was perfectly honest in that and counted runs on the actual day they were done (so if I had to do my long run one day early meaning one week had 2 longs and the next had none, that was how I counted it).  It is notable that both weeks of 60+ had double long runs, so if I were doing my usual "close enough" counting, it would have stacked up to be more even (more weeks around 45 instead of some around 60 and others around 30).  The first 60+ was the week before Labor Day, with an 18 on 8-24 and a 17 on 8-30, plus quite a few in between.  And the second 60+ was the week before last, with a 22 on 9-14 and a 14 on 9-20 (just because there was a race I wanted to do that day, which I was lucky enough to finish with Megan).  I think most years in my recaps, I haven't counted on the actual day, instead, since I never shift my long run by more than one day, I used to kind of roll it over to the day the miles were supposed to be done (and I never rolled it over more than a day), but below in the paper records, that's how I traditionally counted -- actual miles run on actual day. 

With that caveat, I think I can say that this season held my highest mileage week ever with the 67.7, but since it was double long runs, I hestitate to count it.  But my 67.7 week is notable in that it was preceded and followed by weeks at about 45, so it's not like I totally phoned it in around that week.  If I had stuck with the same day every week for a long run, the highest mileage would have been that week still, but it would have been around 60. 

In summary, this year I had 2 weeks under 30 (soon to be 3), 8 weeks in the 30s, 6 weeks in the 40s, and 3 weeks in the 50+s.  That's 9 weeks over 40 miles, which I've always considered my "tipping point" in serious training (at least for the last several years).

I will have logged (just barely) over 800 miles in the 20 weeks of training (I'm assuming (knock on wood) that I'll follow the rest of this week's schedule, but I'm over 795 already).  

How does that stack up against past years?  Here's a big training evolution for me you.

In 2013, for Berlin, I had about 815 pre-race miles over 19 weeks of training, broken out as follows:
0-30.0 miles per week:  3 weeks
30.0-34.9 miles per week: 3 weeks
35.0-39.9 miles per week: 1 weeks
40.0-44.9 miles per week: 3 weeks
45.0-49.9 miles per week: 4 weeks
50.0-54.9 miles per week: 1 week
55.0 or more miles per week: 4 weeks
Otherwise stated, 3 weeks under 30, 4 weeks in the 30s, 7 weeks in the 40s, and 5 weeks in the 50+s.  A total of 12 weeks over 40.  It still marks the most mileage I've ever put into a single goal marathon.  That daily commuting habit I had that year really paid off in mileage (and a PR).  I can see from my times that year that I was much better about hitting my paces and doing the scheduled workout than I have been this year -- when there have been many days with scheduled pace work and instead I've just run easy. 

VERDICT:  WEAKER than 2013. 

In 2012, there was no goal race (that whole thing happened when I cried my eyes out because they cancelled the Beijing Marathon AFTER we had bought plane tickets to China and I had spent the summer training my @ss off, and race day was only about 6 weeks away).  Earlier in 2012, I ran a spring marathon, but it wasn't a regular race, it was a memorial to the Bataan Death March in World War II, and I did it with a pack weighing over 40 pounds on my back.  While it was an awesome race and I performed a lot better than I expected, I did nothing like my usual training mileage. 


In 2011, I elected not to do a recap for my fall race since I'd half-@ssed it.  My notes for the first 11 weeks of training are good, about 380 miles, but only 3 early weeks over 40 miles, the rest in the 30s.  For Boston earlier that year (no real recap, just this), this was how it broke out, with about 625 miles in 15 weeks of training: 
0-29.9 = 1 week
30.0 – 34.9 = 2 weeks
35.0 – 39.9 = 3 weeks
40.0 – 44.9 = 5 weeks
45.0 – 49.9 = 1 week
50.0 – 54.9 = 2 weeks
55.0+ = 1 week
That was 1 week in the 20s, 5 weeks in the 30s, 6 weeks in the 40s, and 3 weeks in the 50s.  So 9 weeks over 40 miles.

VERDICT:  WEAKER than 2011 (but just barely). 

When I trained for Twin Cities (Fall 2010, recap here), I about 670 pre-race miles in 19 weeks of training:
0-30 miles: 2 weeks
30.1-35 miles: 7 weeks
35.1-40 miles: 4 weeks
40.1-45 miles: 5 weeks
45.1-50 miles:  2 weeks
That was 2 weeks in the 20s, 11 weeks in the 30s, 7 weeks in the 40s (including a week with 2 long runs due to the Fourth of July).


I've alwasy been a running log person, even pre-Garmin and pre-blog, so I can go back to my earlier marathons as well.

If I look back at training for St. George in 2009, I had about 640 pre-race miles over 18 training weeks (actually, since it was a Saturday race, it shows up in my pre-race week miles (my week starts on Sunday), so my total training including the race, ended up with a creepy 666.6 mileage), broken out as follows (not counting the race):   
0-29.9 = 3 weeks
30.0 – 34.9 = 4 weeks
35.0 – 39.9 = 4 weeks
40.0 – 44.9 = 7 weeks
That was 3 weeks in the 20s (or less), 8 weeks in the 30s, 7 weeks in the 40s.  Never over 45 miles in a week.


Training for Marine Corps in 2008, I had about 680 pre-race miles in 22 weeks, broken out as follows:
0-29.9 = 9 weeks
30.0 – 34.9 = 8 weeks
35.0 – 39.9 = 2 weeks
40.0 – 44.9 = 1 week
45.0 – 49.9 = 1 week
50.0 – 54.9 = 1 week (a "double long" run week, due to Labor Day, followed by a week under 30, but I'm counting it as it was actually run)
That was 9 weeks in the 20s, 10 weeks in the 30s, 2 weeks in the 40s, and 1 week in the 50s. That’s 3 weeks over 40 miles (and one of those was a week with 2 long runs).


Back in 2007, when I trained for Chicago (the run of death), about 585 pre-race miles over 19 weeks of training:
0-29.9 = 9 weeks
30.0 – 34.9 = 6 weeks
35.0 – 39.9 = 1 week
40.0 – 44.9 = 3 weeks
That was 9 week in the 20s, 7 weeks in the 30s, 3 weeks in the 40s.


No full for me in 2006, and while I did full marathons in 2005 and earlier, all my 2005 and earlier records are stored separately, so I won't include them.  It's safe to say they were fairly similar to 2007, likely even less mileage.

So yeah, I'm sure no one is reading this, but I think I'm going to be glad someday that I have all this data in one place. 

We will see if my verdicts as to whether I'm currently stronger or weaker pan out...


  1. Have you mentioned what race you're doing (and I'm just blind?) Or keeping it under wraps? If keeping it under wraps, I totally understand and respect that, I was just making sure I haven't somehow missed it.

    ANYWAY... wow. And I'm feeling good for you on this training cycle...

  2. It's really interesting to see the progression. My jaw drops when I read the 60+ weeks from this training cycle, but it's interesting to see that you progressed to that level after years of training. I also like how you're able to measure your progress from year to year.

  3. Wow, your data makes me wish I kept better track or at least paid more attention to my miles and past races (although a blog helps with the races, at least). You got some good miles in without overdoing it - although 67 is more miles per week than I've ever done!

  4. Definitely love seeing the progression (and yes, I WAS still reading at the end, as were others :) ). I haven't been tracking all that long - just starting in 2012 and have never broken it down by race training season. Interesting approach!