Last Tuesday I decided to test the waters with a 5 mile run in the morning then 3 miles at lunch with Jason. Running a shorter distance in the morning meant that I could head out a bit later when it felt a little less dark/scary then run an easy run later. And honestly, it went really well. I enjoyed running the shorter distances.
Friday I decided to try it again in order to get in my long run for the week. The forecast was calling for severe storms starting in the early hours of Saturday and pretty much throughout the day. I knew I couldn't get in 14-16 before work without starting much earlier than I cared to start. I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to divide up the run when I started out that morning. But, I knew it was going to be close to 90 degrees by the afternoon. This meant it would be smarter to get in the bulk of the miles in the morning.
Morning Run - I ended up getting in 9 fairly good miles. It was crazy humid and warm. I feel like I'll never not say that at this point. Though the storms we did have over the weekend are supposed to be cooling us down to more fall-like temperatures.
Afternoon Run - My afternoon run was around 2:15 after a hair appointment. It was hot, humid, windy. But I knew I didn't have "that many" miles to go. I could take it slow and steady, which I did. The first half a mile my heel was super tight and I was thinking that I'd made a huge mistake. But, my heel loosened up and the miles clicked by. I ended up hitting 5 miles for a total of 14 for the day.
So, how did it feel running 14 miles broken up? It didn't feel like I had run 14 miles period. My legs were never tired, definitely not sore. The only thing that was bothering me was my heel. I wasn't fatigued. I didn't feel like I needed to nap. I felt almost too good!
That left me thinking, how effective was that for a long run for marathon training? Shouldn't I be teaching my body to run totally fatigued? Maybe, maybe not. Elites use 2-a-day training in their plans. Yes, I know, I am not an elite.
There are definitely some advantages to running twice per day like more efficient recovery, easier to fit in a long run when broken up, and running in a glycogen depleted state, which is said to help your training adaptations. You can also use double runs to get in two different workouts such as a speed workout then later an easier recovery run (or swapped of course).
The upside is that I got in the miles and there was time for some partial recovery between so my body didn't feel quite as beat up, but I was still running in a depleted state for the most part. It was great not feeling completely fatigued, having an easy recovery run to loosen up my legs again, and not feeling like I had to cram the run in all at once. I also like the option for allowing me to run later in the mornings then enjoying a rare run with Jason midday or even in the afternoon.
The downside for me is my injury prone body. While the run loosened up my heel for the time, it certainly didn't allow for any recovery and rest for it.
I guess I'm still a bit on the fence about double runs. I think that, for me specifically, they are more ideal for breaking up an 8-10 mile run during the week. However, I do think that when you workout twice a day, with any type of workouts, you can easily burn out physically and mentally. I can see that they could lead to overtraining as well if not done carefully and being certain to vary both duration and intensity levels of the workouts.
Do you do 2-a-day workouts? Have you tried running twice in a day?