From the July 2013 issue of Runner’s World
Run a.m. tempos and p.m. intervals
By Alex Hutchinson
I thought running twice a day was hard enough – until I started training with coach Matt Centrowitz Sr. back in 2002. Every Thursday, his group ran a tempo in the a.m. and a track or hill workout in the p.m. “Super doubles” helped us practise running fast on tired legs. The demands are severe, but if you can nail this session, you’ll have the confidence of knowing that when the going gets tough, you can stay on pace.
Build your base
Centro started me off with easy 20-minute morning runs two or three times a week on quality days that gradually built to 40 minutes. After six months, I got the green light for the tempo run. Plan to log a similar amount of easy double time before doing super-d’s.
Run tempo in the a.m.
Starting with a tempo run has advantages: it’s easier to recover from than an interval session, and the medium-hard to hard effort progression simulates a race. Coach Sean Cleary suggests doing a six-kilometre tempo at 9 to 12 seconds per kilometre slower than current 10K pace, or during periods of higher mileage, running up to 13 kilometres at 19 to 25 seconds per kilometre slower than 10K pace. Lean toward the slower end of your tempo zone; get carried away in that first run, and you’ll torpedo the second one.
Hit race pace in the p.m.
The second workout should come at least six hours after the first to allow for ample recovery (in this interim period, you’ll want to refuel and hydrate sufficiently and stay off your feet as much as possible). The afternoon session should also be shorter and sharper to practise running goal pace with tired legs, so schedule efforts like 4 to 5 x 800 metres at 10K pace with 2:00 rest, or 5 to 8 x 300 metres at 5K pace with 1:30 rest. Alternately, find a short hill that takes 20 to 30 seconds to run up, and do eight to 12 repetitions, jogging down for recovery. While I didn’t experience this personally (regrettably, I can assure you), many athletes find that after a few weeks of doing super doubles, they come into the second run ready to go: Cleary’s runners, he says, are often more warmed up and more efficient than usual for their afternoon session.
Add doubles to 42.2 training
Another version of the double has marathoners combining two long sessions on a single day, building endurance without incurring the fatigue of a single long marathon-pace run – what US Olympian Ryan Hall’s new coach, Renato Canova, calls “special blocks.” For an elite marathoner, the morning session might include 10 kilometres at half-marathon pace, and the afternoon session would be 5 x 2000 metres at 10K pace. As you get stronger, add an extended warm-up of up to 11 kilometres before each session. Do it once a month during your marathon build-up, in place of that week’s long run.
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