An Experiment

Introduction: Today my Run Coach schedule called for a total of 9 miles of speed work.   In a perfect world, I would do the workout in one go outside on a track.  But in reality, that was not going to happen today.  I worked from home today– which saves some time in the morning when I would otherwise be driving to the office, drying my hair, making myself presentable–but I also had to lead a meeting at 8:00 AM.  Since it doesn’t start to get light outside until 6:30-6:45 AM, I definitely did not have enough time to run 9 miles outside this morning.

It’s become too hot in the afternoon to run outside after work.  Once the temperature is over 80 F I just feel miserable regardless of effort.  If I were training for a summer or early fall race I would be more willing to suck it up but there are reasons my next goal race isn’t until January.  There are nice treadmills with individual TVs at my gym, so I can run on those once or twice a week without dying of boredom.  The issue with the gym treadmills is that they are programmed to only let you run for a maximum of 60 minutes, which generally translates to 7-7.5 miles for me when I’m doing speed work.  Since I’m usually at the gym during peak hours (i.e. early morning or late afternoon), I don’t want to be a jerk and hop onto another treadmill or start another workout after I’ve exceeded 60 minutes.

So here is the experiment I ran (HAHAHA) today:

  • 2.5 miles easy outside in the morning
  • 6.5 miles work out on the treadmill in the afternoon

Materials: Me, a running path, a treadmill.

Results: The 2.5 miles in the morning were purposely very slow (9:48 pace).  My legs are usually sluggish early in the day and I kept reminding myself to keep it easy since I would be running again later in the day.

My food intake this afternoon would not win any nutrition awards but it sat well in my stomach and didn’t cause any problems during my second run.  I had 2 slices of leftover vegetable pizza around 12:30 PM and a Clif Bar around 3 PM.  There were also some Scandinavian Swimmers somewhere in there.

I headed to the gym around 5 PM and felt good during my workout.  I cut back on the warm up and cool down due to the treadmill time limit and my early morning miles.  I don’t think the shorter warm up hurt me.  The only problem was that I misremembered my target paces:

  • 0.5 miles easy @ 9:31
  • 6 x 200m @ 6:26  6:49 with 200m recovery @ 9:31
  • 400m @ 9:31
  • 2 miles @ 8:29 8:00
  • 400m @ 9:31
  • 6 x 200m @ 6:26  6:49 with 200m recovery @ 9:31
  • 0.5 miles easy @ 9:31

6.5 miles in 54:35 (8:23 pace).  I felt pretty good overall during this.  8:00 minute pace had me a bit out of breath but felt fairly easy.  The second set of 200m repeats was a bit hard but at no point did I question whether I would be able to finish the workout.  Aside from running the 200m repeats slower and the 2 miles faster than prescribed, I’d say it went about as well as I could have hoped.

Discussion: It seems weird to run doubles when my overall weekly mileage isn’t that high.  I’ve always associated twice daily running with marathoners who are running 60+ miles/week.  As I said at the beginning, ideally I would have done the 9 miles all at once, especially since I definitely have the endurance to run 9 miles non-stop and I’ve been training for races that are 10+ miles long.  But I definitely think splitting the miles up was better than fewer miles or zero miles. I also think that a few easy miles in the morning helped warm up my legs a bit for the afternoon run.  Since I spend the majority of my work day sitting, sometimes my legs feel tight when I run later in the day.  Perhaps doing a little more movement before the workout helped avoid that feeling when I eventually hopped on the treadmill.

In conclusion, I don’t know that I will regularly run twice in one day.  However, it’s definitely something I’ll consider again in the future when my schedule and the weather make it difficult to run all of the miles for the day at one time.

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2 Responses to An Experiment

  1. Wendy says:

    Those Scandinavian Swimmers are delish!


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