Hey, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything besides daily check-ins. I’ve finally found a topic I want to separately discuss.
I’ve talked about this before, when you as a runner want to strength train with your endurance workouts, and whether to do it before or after the run.
First of all, I offer the caveat that serious endurance training will always compromise growth and development in any strength training you also do. Your body physiologically does not compartmentalize its recovery and adaptation to multiple simultaneous forms of exercise. Your finite hormonal and nutritional resources will spread recovery efforts across everything in your body that needs repair.
Often I have days where I need to get in an extended regular run, something like 60 minutes or 6 miles, but my schedule ends up so busy there isn’t a suitable block of time available without compromising my recovery (e.g. losing sleep by having to wake up early or working out so late that it affects sleep later that night).
For example, I wake up no later than 7:00am (usually more like 6:00am) to get ready for and then commute to work. I work until 5:00pm, and often I’d have the rest of that night until needing to get to bed around 9:00-10:00pm. I often do my training runs in the evening around 5:30-6:00pm after commuting.
But say on this given example day I have a webinar appointment at 6:00pm, which lasts until 7:00pm. Since I need to set up equipment shortly before 6pm, this doesn’t leave more than 30 minutes for a run, which isn’t enough time for a 60 minute run, or since I’m not Mo Farah I cannot run 6 miles in 30 minutes.
I could just not work out that day. But let’s say for whatever necessary reasons I was not able to work out Monday. And if I defer this workout to Wednesday I lose the last day off I have this week, and my training schedule is such that five days of running in a row might be too much. But if I just cancel this workout, I lose so much training volume that it negatively affects my needed development and could be too costly a setback.
What a bummer, huh? I should just cancel my goal race or scale down my race goal, right?
If you do double workout days, a short jog isn’t your only option. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
Higher volume runners practice doubles, where they add a 2nd shorter run later in a day after a prior regular morning run.
It’s a key to building those 120+ mile weeks that elites run. Otherwise, such a runner’s typical workout tops 10 miles and with few exceptions that’s not sustainable long term.
However, miles on your legs are still miles on your legs, and a runner wanting to avoid burnout and injury probably should avoid two runs on easy days.
Still, there’s value in endurance training with doing double workouts, and there’s an easy way to do two workouts in a day without taxing your legs through an extended run more than once.
Just cross train for the second workout. It seems so obvious, and yet so many don’t think to do it. Cross training is low impact aerobic exercise, and there’s a reason IronFit refers to the practice as “Free Miles”. Even if you’re not actually running, you’re working and developing aerobic fitness that will help you down the line.
On top of that, you’re resting bones, joints and muscles that have to do work on a regular run, and avoiding wear and tear that exacerbates the amount of recovery you need.
For example, you run 6-10 miles in the morning. You go through your workday. After work, instead of a 3-4 mile recovery run, you hit the spin bike for 45 minutes at an easy aerobic heart rate. Or you use the rowing machine for half an hour. Or the ARC Trainer, or the elliptical. You get the idea.
You could also do strength training for that 2nd workout instead, provided your body is up to doing so. The extra anabolic boost could jump start your overall recovery, especially when paired with a good healthy dinner and a lot of sleep.
Basically, there’s no law stating that to do a double workout day your 2nd workout has to be another run. Provided that morning workout was a full aerobic run, you could do just about any other form of cross or strength training for that 2nd workout and still receive dividends.