On the Double
Run twice a day to gain fitness and a competitive edge.
By Ed Eyestone
From the July 2011 issue of Runner’s World
When I was in high school, my cross-country team began every school day with a three-to four-mile run and ended it with another run. We placed first or second at the state meet every year. The secret of our success is really no secret. Instead of running five times a week, we ran 10 times. Studies have shown that runners who run higher mileage have better economy and cardiovascular fitness than athletes who run less.
If you’re currently running five days a week for at least 40 minutes a day, you’re ready for doubles. Here’s how to pack the most into your summer so that come fall, you’ll have an edge on the competition.
FOLLOW A FORMULA
Instead of going out for one run, divide your normal run by two. This gives you the distance of your first run. Your second run will be three-quarters of the distance of your normal run. So on a day in which you’d normally do eight miles, you’d run four miles in the a.m. and six miles in the p.m. (8 x .5 = 4 and 8 x .75 = 6).
TAKE IT EASY-EASY
Start weaving doubles into your routine by performing them twice a week on your easy days. A double dose of laid-back runs is great for building cardiovascular conditioning and increasing your mileage base. This is the duo you’ll run the most.
THEN GO EASY-HARD
After a month of easy doubles, start adding an easy morning run to one quality day. These early sessions will loosen you up and keep you from feeling sluggish during evening intervals or tempo runs. Once your body has adapted to the mileage boost, turn another hard day into a double.
TOP OFF MILEAGE
It’s not necessary to do doubles on your long days, but on occasion it’s fine—especially if you’re trying to boost overall mileage for the week and are planning to follow the extra-long effort with a rest or easy day.
RUN AROUND RACES
Prior to an afternoon race, a 15-minute morning jog can iron out travel kinks and flush muscles with blood, which enhances flexibility. After a morning race, an easy 15-to 30-minute p.m. run can increase blood flow, which will reduce inflammation.
Keep one run in the 60-to 70-percent effort range to progress safely. And remember, the goal is not to run doubles every day, but to run as many as you can without getting wiped out.
KEEP IT CONSISTENT
Don’t expect results from sporadic doubles. One of my athletes was an average high school runner who became an All-American in college after consistently performing duos. In his words, “It wasn’t until I was doing doubles three or four times a week, every week, that things really took off.”
Build up to a week that includes three two-a-days
A.M.: 6 miles easy
A.M.: 3 miles easy
A.M.: 5 miles easy
P.M.: 7 miles easy
A.M.: Tempo run
A.M.: 4 miles easy
P.M.: 6 miles easy
A.M.: 15-mile long
A.M.: Rest or 4 miles easy
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