Marathon Runners VS Sprinters

I ran 6 miles around my neighborhood and through the park this morning. I wanted to run some yasso 800’s but it was ridiculously hot so I played it safe and just ran some hills instead. When it’s really hot and humid in the summertime I often run hills. It’s a great alternative to yasso 800’s and 400 repeats because they tend to dehydrate me quicker than hills do and I’m unable to complete the full workout. And in case you didn’t know it, hills ARE a form of speed work and they will help you get faster. The trick is finding hills in Florida! That my friends is almost impossible, but I have my bridges sources….

A few months ago when I was dealing with the hip injury I had to re-evaluate my racing schedule as well as my training and I made some pretty big decisions. I love long races but I also want to get faster. Pre-injury I ran some 5K’s with a mid 8 average and I’d really like to improve that.

I’ve always been more of a distance girl. I prefer long runs and long races, I don’t know why really, I just do. Unfortunately I live in Florida and typically I do most of my races here. That means most of my long races (half marathons and longer) are run from the end of October until the first few weeks of April. Last year, I packed a lot of half marathons into a very short period of time and I even had to cancel a full marathon due to my schedule. I was on track to make the very same mistake this year and then, shocker, I got injured, hence, the training and schedule changes. It’s just not good for me to schedule so many races so close together.

One of the things I did when I was injured was to grow a brain was to research strength training and ways to get stronger and faster but what kept coming up in the searches were pictures like this one:

Marathon Runner vs Sprinter

And this one:

Sprinter and Marathoner

At first I was offended because anyone who knows even the slightest thing about running knows that marathon runners and sprinters are two totally different athletes so of course their bodies are different. And also I believe that they’ve used some of the worst pictures possible for these comparisons. There are quite a few distance runners out there, (especially Kara Goucher and Lauren Fleshman), who have very nice bodies and lots of muscle.

But then I started wondering if it were possible to train for endurance but also to train like a sprinter, and if so, would it make me faster and would I get better results?

And that lead me to change my whole focus. Of course I wanted to get faster, who doesn’t, but I also wanted more muscle. And so, I’ve been training with this new focus for the last few weeks and so far I’m pretty happy with the results.

What I’m doing now that I didn’t do before is incorporating some weight training and some basic crossfit but the most important thing is speed development. Speed development is not the same thing as speed training or speed work but don’t worry, I’ll explain.

Speed work is running hills, 400 repeats, yasso 800’s and the like. Speed development is training at your absolute fastest possible pace for a short period of time with a complete recovery in between. What speed development does is to help you run faster and farther with less effort and using less energy.

I’ve also started incorporating very light weight training with some basic crossfit exercises that I can easily do at home in a short amount of time. I really hate to admit this, but I’m liking the results, a lot.

I do my speed development training on Fridays and my crossfit is a 20 minute session 4 times a week. Although I’ve had to alter it a few times due to my work schedule and well, life, here is what my current training looks like for those of you who are interested:

Monday: 5-6 Mile run, Easy Pace – 20 minutes crossfit

Tuesday: 20 minutes crossfit

Wednesday: 6 Miles, hills or 8X 800 repeats with jogging in between.

Thursday: 6 Miles – 20 minutes crossfit

Friday: Speed Development

1 Mile Warm Up

3X 150M at 90% effort with complete recovery in between, (2-3 minutes)

6X 50M at 100% effort with complete recovery in between, (2-3 minutes)

3X 200M at 85% effort with complete recovery in between, (2-3 minutes)

1 Mile cool down

Saturday: Long, slow run 8+ miles – 20 minutes crossfit

Sunday: Easy run 4-6 miles at recovery pace.

I have 2 crossfit routines that I’ve been using and I like both of them the same but I like to mix it up so that I don’t get bored. I choose whichever one floats my boat or tickles my goat and here’s what those workouts look like:

Crossfit WOD

*Kb Swings are kettleball swings but sometimes I use a barbel. You can look up any of the Crossfit exercises on youtube if you want to know how to do them properly.

I’m really excited to see what the results are going to be. I’ll be posting my race schedule in the coming days and since I’m running some of the same races that I ran last year I’ll be able to track the results which makes my analytical, over-active brain all kinds of freaky happy!

Do you follow a training schedule?

Do you incorporate strength training or speed work?

What do you think about all the marathon vs sprinter images showing up lately?