Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Double Trouble Speed days

Thursday is very often my second speed workout day of the week.  During marathon training it was the day of the week that I hit most of my medium long runs for a week day (10-15 milers).  This training cycle, I switched things up a bit.

Back in July, I was at my regular Tuesday running club workout and was talking to a veteran runner.  He suggested adding a second easy run to the days that I do my speed work (tempo or interval).  It was an interesting thought and with my peak miles week still ahead of me, I decided to give it a try. For 4 of the 5 weeks my speed work was done in the afternoon with an easy run in the morning (that final week - actually yesterday - I did my speed work in the morning to allow a easy run in the afternoon so I could go to the running club dinner and not be late).

Most mornings of double days, I felt slow and tired - often it was not until the final mile that I would bring my pace to just under 9 minute miles.  The dark mornings were quiet and calm and although I often did not want to leave my comfy bed it was good to get out and stretch my legs before work.  In the afternoons, I noticed a slight difference.  I was still slightly stiff in the warm up portion of my afternoon run, but the speed work portions but my afternoon runs really did start to get easier and faster.  I remember one particular day when I had 5x1000m at interval pace on the schedule (week 8) and somehow my legs just flew that day.  I went faster than I had before in any interval workout and I hit paces that I didn't think I could.

Hard to believe that just adding a second run on my speed work days could help me to become faster.  But I think it actually did.  Here is a look at the numbers - 5 weeks of double workouts on speed days...(If you love numbers read on, otherwise skip down.)

Week 7 - August 14th
AM run - 4.5 miles
PM run - 9.25 miles (5x1mi repeats)
Total - 13.75 miles

Week 8 - August 21st
AM run - 3 miles
PM run - 9 miles (5x1000m @I, 2x400m @ R)
Total - 12 miles

Week 9 - August 28th
AM run - 4.5 miles
PM run - 10 miles (2x{2mi@HMP+1mi@T})
Total - 14.5 miles

Week 10 - September 4th
AM run - 5 miles
PM run - 10 miles (3x2mi @T)
Total - 15 miles

Week 11 - September 11th
AM run - 8.5 miles (2x3mi @ T)
PM run - 4.5 miles
Total - 13 miles

I never expected this to work - although I have dabbled in the double "workout" idea on speed days.  In fact, during marathon training I often would go to total body class in the mornings at the gym and then run 10 or 13 or even 15 miles after work.  Sounds pretty intense and it was and is, but it was amazing to accomplish all that and push my body to places I didn't think it could go.

Adding on all these miles, the double days, continuing to cross train was scary at first.  I think we have all thought about how far we can push our bodies and how much we can do.  I am all for listening to your body first and foremost - just this morning I laid in bed instead of running and I know that was what my body wanted to do.  But there is also a point when you need to push past the regular norms of what you do every day and see where it takes you. 

After reading this you may think that running double on a speed work day is not for you or you may think that it just impossible for you to do.  But I encourage everyone to try it.  Even if it means a tiny mini run in the morning.  You never know what could happen and in the beginning, even I was skeptical.  Its all about starting small and building and seeing where it takes you. 

So I encourage you to give it a try and let me know how it goes...


Sweat Is My Sanity said...

Oh gees...I have so much to learn about running. You're so kick butt!! :) Jessica

Bad Ass Baker said...

I'm training for the NY marathon in November. It will be my 6th marathon but this is the first time I have ever done double runs. I do my speedwork in the mornings (6-7 miles) then add a few miles (3-4) for good measure after work :)

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Wow, you are a machine! I am so impressed by what you are able to push your body to do. Right now I am treading carefully as I am recovering from a nasty case of bronchitis. I am hoping to be able to just do the workouts period, but the 2-a-days intrigue me so maybe in another cycle when I am healthy, I will give those a whirl!

Kim said...

It makes sense that this works - it is what the elites do! I would love to try double speed. My doubles are normally just double junk miles. But I have been running junk miles since April anyway. ;)

Nicole Orriëns said...

I run six times a week, but on different days. And even then I sometimes feel like I should have a rest day. So I'm very impressed that you can run twice a day.


Erica Gorman said...

What a great idea! I am all for double days when they are planned and structured. Perhaps I will formally put them on the schedule later this month when I start marathon #3 training....can't think too much about it until I complete marathon #2 Sunday!

Erica Gorman said...

What a great idea! I am all for double days when they are planned and structured. Perhaps I will formally put them on the schedule later this month when I start marathon #3 training....can't think too much about it until I complete marathon #2 Sunday!

Anonymous said...

Interesting approach, I might try next time!

Marlene said...

Back in my hay day (haha, I sound like an old fart) Coach Hubs often had me doubling up on speed days. A few times I even did two workouts on one day, although they would be lighter workotus (like pace work). I am a firm believer!

I am so envious of your training right now. I wish I was in that kind of shape again!

RunningJunkie said...

WOW! That is some serious mileage! I cannot even imagine.

Are you currently training for something?