Most triathletes train the same way when it comes to their long workouts. Long rides on Saturday and long runs on Sunday are commonplace. Triathletes typically build up their Sunday long run throughout the year, and hit their peak training distances 3-5 weeks out from their goal race. While progressively building the long run is a safe and solid plan, many triathletes are starting to implement double run days, aka “The Split Long Run”. Doing your long run as two separate runs will allow you to perform the same amount of training without beating down your body as much. There is definitely a time and a place to go out for a continuous long run, but it doesn’t have to be every week. And triathletes that implement double run days, especially in place of their long runs, will carry less fatigue into the next week of training.
Let’s look at a few different ways that triathletes can split up their longest run of their week.
Option 1 – The Even Split
Instead of running 3 hours straight, run 90 minutes in the morning and 90 minutes in the afternoon. Be sure to give yourself 4-6 hours rest between the workouts. Both runs should be done at a similar effort and pace. Athletes will find that their heart rates are typically lower in the evening, and much of the time, the paces are equal or even a bit faster in the evening. Doing your long run this way will leave you feeling much less “beat up” on Monday morning.
Option 2 – The Evening Recovery Run
If you are looking to get any sort of intensity into your long run, it is sometimes easier to do the intensity in your first run. With this breakdown, the morning run is longer and includes your intervals. Then, the evening run is very easy and much shorter. The evening run will help with your overall durability, but it will also promote blood flow and help the recovery process.
Option 3 – The Wake Up Run
Some triathletes have trouble getting going in the morning. So doing intervals at this time usually isn’t best idea. This can happen more often when triathletes are deep into training blocks. If an athletes does a massive training day on Saturday, it is expected that they are going to feel a little rough on Sunday morning. So instead of hammering away first thing in the morning, head out for a shorter and easier run. That run will start to loosen things up and get you ready for your second run of the day. Still give yourself a few hours between runs, which should be enough time to eat and digest your food. When you head out for the longer second run, your legs should be feeling much better. Splitting your long run up like this is a good idea if you are planning efforts, but feel really rough in the morning.
AJ Baucco is an established long course professional triathlete from Cleveland, Ohio. He founded AJ Baucco Coaching LLC, which currently coaches nearly 50 age group triathletes from all over the country. He also runs an age group triathlon team called the “Baucco Squad”. In 2014, AJ Baucco was crowned the first ever Kona (Beer Mile) Champion. He has since been given legendary status on the Big Island.
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