Double run days.
I first started doing double run days back in 2012 but for as long as I’ve known about them I’ve always had a sort of fascination with the idea. The coach I was working with at the time was a big fan of them and he had them in the plan instead of a weekly long run. His thinking was that I could do more distance and quality work than in a standard long run but that the recovery was also quicker.
He started with 2 x 60 minute runs both with some interval work, the following week it was 2 x 70 minutes. Week three was 2 x 80 minutes, week four hit 2 x 90 minutes. Aside from the physical part the hardest bit of the split runs was spending the entire day knowing that I was heading out for another hard run on already tired, sore and depleted legs in the evening. I’m not a big fan of training in the evening, I prefer to get the sessions done as early in the day as possible. I also had to be careful with what I ate after the run and for lunch as if I had a big feed for either the chances were it would repeat quite badly on me during the second run. I guess this is one of the reasons I was never a fan of training late in the day.
Anyway onto the runs and seeing as how it’s about the killer session I’ll just cover a typical 2 x 90 minute day. The first run done with just black coffee and before breakfast would consist of a 10 minute warm up then 13 x 1k repeats at Ironman race pace then a set of short high intensity intervals (HITS) and a cool down. Total running for this would typically be about 19-20k.
After the hard session in the morning I would usually start the evening run with very tired and often sore legs. The first 10-12k would be at a fairly easy pace, usually around 5 minute k’s then I would do 6k at target Ironman race pace which would be between 4:20-4:30 per k. This portion of the run often but not always felt good but it was hard to hang onto the pace. Very like at the back end of a long race. The second run would finish alternating between short intervals, almost like strides and easy running before cooling down at an easy pace for the last 2k. By the time I finished I would be well and truly knackered, sore and fairly starving. Again this run would be between 19-20k giving me a total of 38-40k of running for the day which was far more than I would manage as a single long run and considering the pace work involved in both sessions it was much more quality than I would ever manage in just the one long run.
Before I started the double run days I had been training hard for a couple of seasons so the increased load on the body wasn’t too much of a shock but they were still one of the hardest run sessions I’ve done. If someone was to have a go at them I’d recommend starting with 2 easy runs and build up both at a comfortable pace first. So maybe each week work up something like:
Week 1: 2 x 40 mins
Week 2: 2 x 50 mins
Week 3: 2 x 60 minutes
Week4: 2 x 70 minutes
Week 5: 2 x 80 minutes
All of these (Morning and evening runs) done at an easy pace. If that block goes well you could try adding in efforts on the morning run and keep the evening one easy but you would reduce the time for the second block. Depending on your pace or level of ability it might look something like this.
Week 6: 2 x 50 with 5 x 1k at marathon pace/effort with 2 minute jog recovery in the morning run. The evening run should be easy.
Week 7: 2 x 60 with 5 x 1 mile at target marathon pace/effort 2 minute jog recovery in the morning run. The evening run should be easy.
Week 8: 2 x 70 minutes with 6 x 1 mile at target marathon pace/effort with 2 minute jog recovery in the morning run. The evening run should be easy.
Week 9: 2 x 80 minutes with 7 x 1 mile at target marathon pace/effort with 2 minute jog recovery in the morning run. The evening run should be easy.
It’s really important to build into these sort of sessions carefully and gradually always remembering that training smaller amounts regularly and consistently by far beats one big epic session in isolation. That being said we all love talking about that one epic day when we did something crazy…
While we are on the subject of doing lots of running if you are suffering with run injuries and aren’t sure how to fix them I’ve written a piece over here on our shop blog about shin splints and how I fixed mine.
I keep a weekly training blog over here if you want to see what I get up to with my own training.
Thanks for reading