A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Splitting up a long run

on August 21, 2014

**When I got back from my run this morning, my lovely husband asked if I was actually awake when I wrote this blog post. Lots more typos and skipped words than usual! Yikes and sorry! Corrected below!

With my current training plan, Tuesdays call for 5-7 miles. That can be tough to get done before work in the morning but even more miserable on hot evenings so I’ve done a good job so in hauling myself out of bed to get it done (most weeks anyway). This week, I woke up at 5 am on Tuesday morning to get ready to head out for a 7 mile run. I hit the road and in a little over a mile, realized I needed to come back home. My husband was sleeping down in the basement because he was sick and a) didn’t want to keep me up with his tossing and turning and b) if he did manage to fall asleep, we didn’t want my alarm at 5 waking him up. Unfortunately, that meant there was no one up on the main level with Oliver so if he woke up before I got home he’d wander and freak out  and get into who knows what kind of trouble! Thus, I headed back home and planned to finish my remaining 5 miles later in the day.

Of course I came home early and he slept in late. I would have had plenty of time to get all 7 miles in. Sigh.

Of course I came home early and he slept in late. I would have had plenty of time to get all 7 miles in. Sigh.

I meant to leave work early enough to get all 5 miles done on the treadmill before picking Oliver up at daycare. Naturally, that meant I had a supremely busy day and didn’t get out of work in time for to get 5 miles in at the gym. I got in 3 miles and had two miles still on the to do list for the day to get to 7! I met my guys for dinner, went home and headed out for those last 2 miles. They were brutal! I’ve done two runs in a single day before, in similar situations where I didn’t have time to get the whole run done in the morning. This is the first time I’d ever tried three runs in one day and my legs felt like rocks! I never have knee pain during my runs and yet I did with that third run. I suspect it is because I was so tired my form was off, because I also ended up with sore abs and a sore back from slumping. I honestly would have given up and walked the last half mile of it, which would have been fine I suppose. 7 miles is 7 miles, right? Then I got this text message:

 

Definitely the motivation I needed to hustle back home!

Definitely the motivation I needed to hustle back home! He has tubes in his ears thanks to lots of ear infections, so we’re back on his ear drops again for a while.

My knees hurt all day Wednesday and I honestly still feel sluggish today. It is interesting how 7 miles divided into 3 chunks affected me so much differently that 2 runs in a day, which I’ve done several times without problems, or the same number of miles in a single bout. I did some looking into the pros and cons of splitting up a long run into chunks.

Pros

A little bit of running on tired legs can be good for you: You recruit different muscle fibers than you do otherwise, you stimulate mitochondria production and you learn to use glycogen more effectively. This can good for your running overall, but especially good if you’re training for something where you’ll need to run twice with little recovery, like a relay or a runDisney challenge.

You can increase your weekly mileage while preserving a total rest day: Miles are miles, in some sense, and increasing your weekly miles can definitely improve your overall running. It can be tempting to run more days each week, but it is important to preserve a rest day in your training. Running twice in a single day allows you to get more miles in while still preserving that crucial rest period. For a busy working mom like me, this is the main reason I’d run twice a day.

You get that post-exercise metabolic boost twice during the day: That can be helpful when you’re running to lose weight.

Cons

You miss out on the mental practice of sticking with a long run: So much of running is mental and getting over the roadblocks in our own brains. Try to keep at least your longest run of the week intact as much as possible, to get the mental practice of running for long periods of time.

Fueling and hydrating may be trickier: Many of us have a fairly well established routine for what to eat in the morning before we head out for a run and what your fueling strategy is for a 7 mile run. However, for smaller runs, those decisions look very different. I ate my usual pre-run food Tuesday morning, but then didn’t really think about “I’m about to go run” with anything else I ate all day. I wonder if that may have contributed to some of the trouble I had with that third run? After all, it wasn’t a normal 2 mile run. It was a two mile run where I’d already run 5 miles that day and used up some of my energy reserves!

I keep filling my water bottle and forgetting it when I head out for runs in the morning! Grrr!

I keep filling my water bottle and forgetting it when I head out for runs in the morning! Grrr!

If you’re not careful, running on fatigued legs for the 2nd (or 3rd in my case) run can risk injury: I wasn’t conscious of my form being so off in that last, tired run until I finished and realized how many places I had aches that weren’t typical for me! There’s benefit to practicing running tired, certainly, but you have be careful about where you’re putting feet and how you’re holding yourself.

All in all, I think for me, splitting a run is better than not getting it done at all but definitely not something I want to be doing routinely at this point in my running life. Do you split up your runs? Why or why not?

Links for more reading from those wiser than me:

Runner’s World Pros and Cons of Running Twice a Day

Running.About.Com Splitting Long Runs

 

 

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5 responses to “Splitting up a long run

  1. Kristin says:

    Hey!! Good for you that you got your mileage in but ouch with the knees. Knee pain is never fun!! It definitely hurts! I do not run twice a day because I have a feeling I’d end up injured. Once I run and my body cools down, I don’t want to run until the next day. If anything I swim which is minimal impact. Have a great day!! You’re awesome!! XOXO!!

  2. Great post! Although I haven’t had to do this often, I have a couple times for the past during training. It works great for busy days, but doing it on a regular basis would definitely not be fun! On another note, on those days where you need to run ridiculously long distances…signing up for a race that takes up a good portion of that run then running on your own after that is pretty awesome! Helps the mentality I think to get through the long miles!

    • I’m thinking about doing that next month. I’m running a 10 mile race to see if I can get a better proof of time for the Star Wars race but if that doesn’t work out, there’s a later 10K I may run. I’d run the 10K and then finish up the last few miles later. We’ll see!

      On Fri, Aug 22, 2014 at 11:13 AM, A Little More Each Day wrote:

      >

  3. […] Ultimately, I got in 7 miles in a 2 mile, 3 mile and 2 mile split over the course of the day. I would not recommend this approach but I got it done. I’m happy to say that I ran all of […]

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