I feel like I have admitted being ashamed several times already during the week since starting this blog. It’s a worrying trend, but as long as it keeps happening, I’ll keep owning up.
January and February have been particularly quiet for me this year on the work front. This is a blessing and a curse. I have the time to run twice in a day (if you don’t have this luxury, sorry. Rest assured this situation is about to change for the foreseeable future).
I used to look at those doing double days as extremists, pushing far too hard and bound only for an overuse injury. This winter has changed that naive perception. Double days are an absolute weapon that you can and should use to your advantage.
Yesterday (Monday), I ran 17 miles. To me, that is a fairly big day. But I woke up Tuesday feeling fresh. I’d split the day into two laps of Richmond Park in the morning (14m), followed by an evening 5k (3m). Not only does this mean the two runs appear less daunting at the time. The second run works as a recovery run from the longer morning miles. Also, having run for two hours in the morning, cruising round 5k in the evening feels like nothing. But you are pushing some fresh blood into those tired muscles and carrying out some lactic and soreness from the earlier effort.
Ironically, the aspect of double run days I found hardest to get to grips with was the clothing/showering logistics of it. “If I run now, can I get away with not showering and wear the same clothes again this evening?”. How you choose to handle this problem is up to you. I think I’m probably on the dirtier end of the scale, so once my sweat is dry, if a shower isn’t close by (i.e. Richmond Park), I’ll just rock out until the end of the day when I can shower after the evening run.
I recently picked up Inside a Marathon, the book by Scott Fauble and Ben Rosario documenting Fauble’s build up to the 2018 New York Marathon. The detail is really incredible. For a marathon nut, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Running doubles is common place for elites. It seems obvious now, the best way to maintain such high and quality mileage is to split the day in two.
Stress – Rest – Repeat.
Many of Fauble’s days are easy morning mileage, followed by recovery, foam rolling etc and maybe a nap. This sets him up perfectly to absorb the harder work of an afternoon session, or just more steady miles depending on the day. The point is that two 8 mile runs with rest and recovery in between are much easier on the body than a straight 16 mile effort.
He ran 2:12:28 in New York, so he’s doing something right.