We all have a tendency to want to compare our workouts to previous data points, and this is a natural way to monitor progress and give ourselves little jolts of confidence and motivation. However, the main point is this article is not to fall into the trap of comparing your workouts week-to-week.
Neither humanity as a whole, nor your unique self, has a body that adapts that quickly! Yes, I do use the phrase "what a difference a week makes!" on occasion, but that is in relation to significant improvements in the weather, terrain, or having never done a particular type of workout/run before and then understanding it a bit more the 2nd time around (a.k.a., “learning effects”).
When you don’t see improvements from week-to-week (or even day-to-day for some of folks out there who are truly consumed by data/numbers), then it’ll affect your mood and you'll put unnecessary dents in your armor. This reality is one of the many reasons I attempt to get runners to leave their watch at home on more occasions, or at least to only use the elapsed time function. Garmin and Strava have caused much frustration/confusion in many runners. Now you have a potential explanation as to why this is so.
When the spring/summer humidity is back in action in certain regions, your own personal variables now take a back seat to Mother Nature's desires and wishes. So be careful as to which basket(s) you are placing your emotional eggs. At that point, your comparisons would then be the “start of summer” vs. “end of summer”…maybe some improved data points ~6 weeks or so, but don't fall into a false trap of seeking improvement from week-to-week. Again, human physiology doesn’t adapt that quickly. If you think your body is adapting at a significant level on a 7-day timeline, then the government will clone your DNA to make super-soldiers (be warned). You can also zoom waaaay out and compare spring 2022 to spring 2021, which would allow you to see how far you've come in a whole year!
I'm not doubting your effort or abilities, I'm merely encouraging you not to drive yourself bonkers in constantly seeking improvements in the data/numbers, especially with warmer temperatures and higher humidity around the corner. If you're just getting back into a run program again and/or adding speed workout for the first time after a hiatus and/or extending your long runs again, then yes, you're going to see improvements and good data points, which again, is also do to learning effects. The take-away here is to look for significant improvements on a 6-8 week timeline, not 1-2 weeks.
The main goal of my coaching services is to increase confidence via higher-level understanding of proper goal-setting and motivation, which are all become synonymous the deeper down the rabbit hole you go. So, to come full circle here, over-analyzing of data on weekly basis is the easiest way to detract from your confidence. As a professor of performance psychology, I teach my students that you have to understand human physiology before you can even begin to talk about the “mental aspects of sports”. The former always precedes the latter.
Keep working hard, the big reveal is coming in late Sept – Oct (“racing season”)!
Train Smarter, Not Harder.