October 15, 2010

Splitting up your long runs

The idea of splitting up your long runs is not new. In the five years that I was coached by Australia's Pat Carroll he often had me run between 2 1/2 hours to 3 hours in the morning, with a 30-minute session in the afternoon, in preparation for a marathon.

Having trained as an (Ironman) triathlete in the previous four years, coached by Australia's John Hill, I was used to doing more than one training session a day, though rarely did those involve two runs in one day.

A couple of months ago I read Pam Reed's book The Extra Mile in which she describes that she'd run up to three times a day in between getting kids ready for school, dropping them off there, before picking them up, and her work as the race director for the Tucson Marathon (incidentally, check out that elevation profile!) 

My 100km road race in three weeks from now, the Haney to Harrison, is a little short of the distances Pam tackles but if splitting runs into two or more sessions a day is good enough for such an elite athlete it is good enough for me!

Today I began with an easy run, with my dog Luka, of about 90 - 100 minutes along the trails. After a three-hour break to work, my new inspiring running partner came by with her dog, as planned, and we went out for another solid hour of trail running in the early afternoon.

Initially I had planned to take a break following this hour, before finishing off the day with a 30-minute run in the evening. But, as a I felt good during the run with my friend I decided to tack on this half hour immediately instead. Sometimes it's hard to get out for that evening session, and I was very keen to get at least three hours of running in today.

The final 15 minutes were tiring, partly because they were mostly uphill, and while I am tired enough now, it was mentally and physically a great way to get a solid long run in today. I highly recommend splitting up your long runs though would advise you to do at least half of your intended run time in the morning.

On Wednesday I ran an hour in the morning and planned to do another 90-120 minutes in the late afternoon. However, my body had different ideas as I struggled through a 70-minute session before calling it a day.

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