Thursday, September 24, 2009

Two-a-day training for my marathon relay

Back when I started running I would often go out two or three times a day. This activity was performed primarily on weekends as my daily run was often limited to 15 minutes on the treadmill. On weekends I'd go out early and do a mile. I'd often try to stretch that to two miles but it took some time before I got there. Later in the day I'd do another short run (or two) so that I'd cover a total of 3 miles on Saturday or Sunday. Stretching out the time between runs was essential to that because in my early running days I'd need a lot of rest between activities. More recently, as runs have become longer and my conditiong has improved, I'm less apt to do multiple runs in one day unless the second run is a modest two mile jog with my daughter on a Sunday afternoon.

Training for my marathon relay brings back the idea of two-a-days and in my case that means two runs within two hours. Last Sunday was an interesting experience because it revealed my limits very quickly. My first segment went fine, a 3.1 mile run that would normally serve as a typical weekend distance (at the shorter end). I stayed in my running clothes to simulate the conditions for the race. I'm not expecting that I'll have access to a changing room during the actual event although I may change into a clean jersey in the team car. After toweling off I did swap shirts and then had a bowl of cereal with dried fruit as I waited to run my next segment. Exactly 120 minutes after I finished my first run I set out again for the second leg. The lesson I quickly learned was that two hours rest allowed me to recover well enough to go out with some energy but the wall comes up hard 30 minutes later. I struggled to continue at that point and came up short of my 9 mile total distance goal.

I have about four weekends left to train with these two-a-days. The biggest concern I have for the race relates to the unknown elevations of the course and the level of heat and sun that day. I'm going to assume it will be hot and hilly but I really hope I'm wrong. 9.05 miles, even broken up into two segments, would still be a record distance for a single day. I'm up to the challenge and hoping for the best.

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