BIG miles and running doubles??

BIG miles and running doubles??

Last week was my peak mileage week for NYC and it happened to be my biggest mileage week. EVER.

Without wasting any time, here’s how it all went down:

  • Sun. 10/7/12- 15 easy @ 7:45. Perfect weather and felt good considering my 5K the day before.
  • Mon. 10/8/12- Off. My body needed a little rest after Sat.’s race and Sun.’s long run.
  • Tue. 10/9/12- 10 easy @ 7:36. Nice easy progression run that felt great.
  • Wed. 10/10/12- 14 hard. (2 mi warm-up, 5 mi @ 6:46, 1 mi easy. 5 mi @ 6:45, 1 mi easy)
  • Thur. 10/11/12- 10 easy @ 7:54.
  • Fri. 10/12/12- Off.  Needed a little rest before my long run Saturday. 
  • Sat. 10/13/12- 22 mi @ 7:57 pace.  Great long run. My first mile was my slowest (8:30) and last mile was fastest (7:09). I ran miles 11-21 with a friend which broke up the run and made it feel almost effortless.  We chatted constantly and I there were times forgot I was doing my last long run! We also saw a (King?) snake on the trail during the run.  It was alive and very wiggly! Bigger than other snakes we’ve seen at other times.

Total Miles- 71 (and two were complete rest days)

Mileage Thoughts:
My schedule actually called for 6 days running and shorter runs on Thursday and Friday.  I decided to combine my miles and take a complete rest day on Friday.  Friday was a busy day and honestly I didn’t want to worry about when I was going to squeeze it in.  Plus, I wanted to feel more rested for Saturday’s 22-miler.

Running Doubles?
When you’re dealing with trying to increase mileage, many marathoners turn to running doubles.  I will admit that I am often a little jealous of those who regularly make the time to build in two workouts a day.  I have run doubles before but it was back in college when I was racing 5K’s.  In my current life as a mom who runs it is challenging enough to carve out the 2 hours a day (sometimes more but not usually less) that is needed for training.  This past spring, I read something in one of my favorite running books that made me feel a little less guilty about not running doubles.  In his book Advanced Marathoning, Pete Pfitzinger states, “Marathon training focuses on endurance-based adaptions such as depleting your glyogen reserves to provide a stimulus for your body to store glycogen and training your muscles to utilize more fat at a given speed.  You’ll provide a greater stimulus for these adaptations through a single 12-mile run than by doing a 7-miler and a 5-miler at the same pace.”

In Pfitzinger’s opinion, marathoners should follow a basic guide not to do double workouts until they’ve maximized the amount they’re running in a single workout.  He states, “If you’re preparing for a marathon and are running less than 75 miles a week, then you shouldn’t regularly be running doubles. If you’re running less than 75 miles a week, by the time you get in your long run and a midweek medium-long run, there’s no reason to double more than once or twice a week to get in the remaining miles.  It’s better to get in longer runs and give your body 22 or 23 hours of recovery between runs.”  (p.144, Advanced Marathoning)

Who does Pfitzinger think should run regular doubles?

  • Runners preparing for shorter races (like the 5K) should start adding in doubles when their mileage gets above 50.
  • Marathoners who run over 75 mpw should add in doubles.

I most definitely fall into the marathon training category of less than 75 miles per week. There may be the need for the occasional double but it will not be a part of my regular schedule any time soon and I am pretty ok with that. My current schedule calls for the occasional double but I just add the miles and do it in one workout because I know the odds are slim to none that I will make it out the door for a second run. 

Thoughts?? Do you agree or disagree with Pete?

Do you regularly run doubles? Have you ever read Advanced Marathoning?

21 thoughts on “BIG miles and running doubles??

  1. I never used to run doubles until last year. I ran an 80 mile peak week (with a 24 miler) on 6 runs. Then I started doing less miles and lots of doubles and got injured. Twice. Right now I am back to 7 runs a week, one day off and only one double, where the second run is recovery, v slow. I did find that the doubles improved my fitness a lot, but I don’t think they allowed enough recovery time for me. The most important thing is what fits into your life, Tia. Seems to me like you are doing awesome, so keep doing what you are doing. As long as you keep improving, who cares if you run doubles or not?

    1. So true! I like the idea of working in one as a easy recovery run. Maybe sometime I can build that in. Thanks for sharing what works (and what hasn’t worked) for you. I love tips from other runners!

  2. I’ve read parts of Advanced Marathoning…as with any book I read, I take parts of it and leave some of it behind. Not so sure I ever get the full benefits of books that have to do with training plans this way. ha! But I tried the whole doubles thing last time around…just to fit in more miles…I became obsessed with the miles racking up even if I didn’t realize it at the time. I don’t even think it was really that effective since I was indeed running UNDER the 75 miles a week…I just ended up tiring myself out. Gosh, you inspire me Tia…your training looks so good. You definitely charge me up here.

    1. It’s hard not to get obsessed about mileage during marathon training. Every Sunday it hits me that I am starting ALL over and I wonder if I’ll get them all in… I know I just need to relax about it all!

    1. Yeah, it made me feel better about my one run a day life style. Maybe I’ll get to the point when I can add in one but that would require stroller jogging and I am a wimp when it comes to pushing kids and running!

  3. I like them for the 5k…but If I can find time to get in all the miles without doubles for a marathon I will. If I have to cut a run short to get back, I will tack on a little run later in the day.

    You can keep your snakes! LOL

    1. I thought of you and your 5k training when I read this part in the book Raina. I remember you wrote that you were doing doubles to get in your mileage without too many long runs and it makes a lot of sense. I guess I was doing this in college without knowing why. I just did what our coach said and now after reading about it I understand why.

    2. Yeah. Part of it is that with 5k or shorter you might be doing a lot more speedwork- faster paces, and more frequent. So often the double is served to have some easy recovery miles. In the marathon it’s all about distance, distance, distance. You are totally on the right track with your training, I think. I am just in awe that you can run such a fast 5k at the same time you are running such long daily runs!

  4. I played around with doubles, while training for my 1/2s, last year. They were more like Ana-Maria described, though. The 2nd run of the day would always be based on feel…no real goal in mind.
    I’ve seen that book quoted quite a bit. I’m definitely not an “advanced marathoner”, but it does sound like one to put on my list.
    Your training doesn’t seem to be lacking in any way, Tia. Every recent race has exceeded your expectations, and they’re not even your *goal* ones! I hope you can trust in all the hard work you’ve put in and let your mileage doubts fade away. 🙂

    1. Thanks for your encouragement about my training! : ) as far as being an “advanced marathoner” I think this book is good for any marathoner who is interested in advancing their own marathon experience.

  5. Not sure how I feel about doubles, but I do have that Advanced Marathoning book (it’s Rick’s) and I have read parts of it. I guess I am like you—mom who is lucky to fit in one run a day, why go for 2? Good to see that you can get the same or better benefits by running just one longer run and not 2 shorter ones.

    Hey—are you running Little Rock again next year? Rick and I decided to run it. It’s a long story! I will have to read your race recap about it again. And I think it would be fun to run with you if you are running it too!

    1. Yes, I am running Little Rock again! Even though it is just 6 weeks before Boston I couldn’t resist! We should most definitely meet up! : ) what made you guys decide to do Little Rock? The big medal? Lol! LR is known as the marathon with “the big medal.”

    2. The medal is cool—I remember seeing yours last year! We picked the race since it’s one of the few states we can drive to that we haven’t done yet. I just read your report where you said it was a hilly course. And then I looked online and no course info is available. They aren’t changing the course are they?

    3. Ok, after re-reading my recap I can see how my personal course description might intimidate someone. First of all, that was written just a few hours after the race so I was exhausted and worn out. I am also a wimp when it comes to hills. I’m sure you have run in much worse. It is not a super flat course but it is NOT too hard or impossible. (This course still holds my current PR time.) There is a gradual climb in miles 13-15 but then 2 miles of really nice downhill follow. There are two other big climbs around mile 25 which were hard because I did not know they were there. Next time I will anticipate them and knowing the course ahead of time seems to help me in races. I can send you the elevation info or any other course information. If you are going to run a marathon in the state of Arkansas THIS is the one to do! You run all over downtown Little Rock. I have always loved the half but I’m so glad I did the full this year. I could not resist doing it again next year!

  6. You know I’m not a marathoner at this point, but my jaw is on the ground over the stacks of miles and that disgusting snake! I’ve had the urge to run doubles before but have never actually done it. I really need to stack up my miles more for better training. Someday I want my time down lower and I don’t think I’m going to do it with the miles I have now. Those 200’s on the track can only do so much.

    1. I NEVER thought I would be a “marathoner” but there is something about that crazy distance that eventually gets to most runners… 🙂

  7. Awesome miles, and in 5 days!!! I do doubles only to get the miles in. Ideally, I should do the 14 miles at once, but when I have to be HOME by 6:15-6:30 in the morning, it makes it really hard to get up early enough for 14 midweek!:) I am following, loosely, an advanced Marathoning plan now and read that about doing doubles, I agree. I think after this marathon I want to focus on shorter faster distances for a bit and will do doubles. Sub 17 5k????;-) I fall in the below 75 category, so there really is no need for my doubles, other than just time on my feet. I am hoping for this week to be my last high mileage week, in the low 70’s, then taper time!!!

  8. You have had some really solid training (and race times!) this cycle! I’m excited to see what you can do in NYC. Just a few more weeks!!

    I think that Pfitzinger’s rationale makes a lot of sense. It seems as though running doubles on a regular basis can make one a bit obsessed with overall mileage (because it IS a good way to get in more miles over the course of a week). I think it makes sense if you simply do not have time to do longer runs during the week, or if you are running really high mileage. But other than that, I would also think that running one longer run (such as 10 miles) would be more beneficial for endurance than two 5 milers…for the same reason why you wouldn’t want to break up your long runs into two parts (10 mile run in the morning + 10 mile run in the evening does not equal a 20 mile run).

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