Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I normally consider my "running week" to be Monday to Sunday and log my miles accordingly.  But this week I am going to do something a bit different and tell you about my Thursday to Wednesday week of running.  Why?  Well, last week I spent Monday-Wednesday recovering from the Sylamore 50k, and this Friday I leave for a week of vacation.  So the front end of last week and the back end of this week are going to be boring.  And let's just be honest here, what I did in middle makes me look way cooler.

Before I get to the details, I think this would be a good opportunity to share one of the key features of my personal training plan.  I want to use my blog to occasionally share some of my training philosophies, and I felt it was important when looking at my past 7 days of training to understand the distinction of running this kind of mileage in singles as opposed to padding the mileage log with what I consider to be "junk" doubles.

Singles.  By my definition, singles simply mean a single run per day.  Now, depending on my audience here, you might ask, "What other kind of training philosophy is there besides running once per day?"  It's actually quite common for collegiate and elite post-collegiate distance runners to run more than once in a 24 hour period to boost their mileage.  You may have heard runners talking about doing "doubles" - and that's exactly what they were referring to - running twice in one day.  From my experience, it seems serious runners start considering double runs at around 70 miles per week. 

While my weekly mileage is consistently over 70 mpw, I almost always get my mileage in on just 7 runs per week.  This is largely a personal decision, but one I find works well for me, especially when considering the time constraints imposed by a full-time career. 

A typical double would be a 5-8 mile easy run in the morning or evening, depending on when you do your primary workout, and could happen just one day a week up to six days per week for really advanced professionals.  The purpose of a double is that allows you to increase your mileage with less stress on the body than the same amount of mileage in singles.  It's logical that two 5 mile runs, with 10 hours of rest in between, are less demanding on the body than one 10 mile run.  But, you also get less training adaptation from those two 5-milers than you would from the single 10-miler (assuming you can stay injury-free).  And your total time spent on the double preparing, running, and showering afterward takes up more total time out of your day than it would for the one 10 mile run.  There is something to be said about an easy second run "flushing out" the legs and aiding recovery, but that hasn't proven to be all that helpful to me personally.

For me, waking up at 5:30 AM to be out the door and running at 5:45 usually means I'm extremely tight and still half asleep.  I would do more than half of my run at 8 min/mi pace (1:15 slower than my average recovery pace) just trying to warm up my muscles to a normal functional ability.  I believe I get more benefit out of a single 12 miler at 6:45 pace, than a 6 mile/9 mile double.  And maybe the worst thing to me is that the double would come at the expense of about an hour of precious sleep.  I believe proper sleep is one of the most overlooked aspects of a complete training plan, and I know I don't get as much as I should even running just once a day.
[Disclaimer: Everyone is different and what works for me may not work for you.  If you aren't over 60 miles a week on singles, don't even think about doing doubles yet.  I also spent many years gradually building my strength up to the point where I could run 100 mpw in singles.  Lastly, I'm training for 50k's and 100k's, not 5k's and 10k's.]

If you're still reading, you probably want to know what I did last Thursday to Wednesday that would cause me to get out my soapbox, so here goes: 

Thursday:  9 mi @5:40 pace on the treadmill
                 with 3 mi warmup and 1 mi cooldown for 13 mi total
Friday:      Easy 12 mi in 79 min (6:40 pace)
Saturday:  25 mi in 3 hrs, 
                (7 mi road warmup, 14 mi tough/muddy little trail race, 4 mi road cool down)
Sunday:    15 mi really easy in 1:44 (6:56 pace)
Monday:   12 mi easy in 82 min (6:50 pace)
Tuesday:   Track workout: 2 mi warmup, strides & drills, 
                2x2mi w/2min recovery (10:38, 10:33)
                + 6 mi on the roads in 35:30 (5:55 pace), 1 mi cooldown. 
Wednesday: 12 mi in 81 min (6:45 pace)

Weekly Total: 102 miles in singles (average 6:42 pace)

That's a pretty gnarly week of training for me.  Good thing next week is vacation and a down week. I need it now.  I can tell that level of training is right at the limit of what my body can handle.  Let's hope it wasn't too much.

1 comment:

  1. Recovery = Smart, and I am paying the price for being stupid LOL.

    Enjoy the downtime, and congrats on your name littering Ultra Running Magazine's year in review.