Monday, January 25, 2010

Two for Tuesday - Getting Ready to Run Double

When I flipped the page over on my training program this morning, I found the customary "Easy run" waiting for me.  Nothing too crazy.  Starting week four, it's increased from 40-50 minutes to 45-60 minutes.  What I happened to notice, however, was the side note: This is a good week to begin adding one to two double runs to meet your mileage goals.

"Huh," I thought.  "A double run.  I'm going to be tired...and hungry!"  

This definitely creates a new element to the training.  I read in last month's Running Times about the benefit of adding double runs to the training program.  Mostly, it's a safe way to add mileage without risking injury since you're breaking up the accumulated mileage for the day.  And after listening to Ryan Hall and reading some fellow loopsters who've done it, the best day to double dip is on a speed day, using that morning run as a type of warm up to get the legs limber and the toxins flushed out.

So, it was with this in mind that I set out on my 8-mile easy run tonight.  The weather seemed to change by the minute today.  I woke up to an unseasonably warm January day this morning - a mild 60 degrees. The wind picked up as the day went on and you could watch the purple and gray clouds rushing over the sky.  I actually pulled some shorts out to run in, but as I took the dog out for a quick walk before my own run, I had to put the iPod away because a storm moved in and those clouds finally overflowed.  From the window, it looked like an April spring day, a customary thunderstorm blowing through in the late afternoon.  The only difference was that rain was COLD!  Mattie and I returned, soaked and shivering.  But after stretching and zipping up my windbreaker, the rain had stopped -- one side of the sky glowing orange, the other apocalyptic.  

It seemed like I was running toward the storm, this mass of angry clouds gathering.  But the farther I ran, the more the storm moved away, and those extra minutes of daylight disappeared into a clear night with a liquid moon shining down like a spotlight.

Well, it was on this run, between thoughts of where to go after each distant rumble of thunder, that I thought about how to tackle tomorrow's double.  I've tried unsuccessfully to run in the mornings (I'm usually worthless by 11:00 a.m. from exhaustion, and bed time starts at 9:00) in the past.  There's something about getting those muscles loosened up and functioning in wasn't working.

But those days came with 7 and 8 milers to try and beat the humidity.  Unfortunately it was still humid and my run was timed with what seemed an endless caravan of garbage trucks.  This time, I'm only after an easy 20-30 minutes, meaning the alarm doesn't have to go off quite as early.  

I'm a planner, though.  I've spent a good 20 minutes tonight laying out clothes and food for tomorrow to minimize extra running around in the morning.  From breakfast following my run, and a more fortified morning snack, to an extra sandwich to munch on at lunch and a double portion of brown rice.  Before it was all about preparing for the next run, except the next run was always 24 hours away.  Now I'm looking at an 11 hour turn around twice.  Eek!

A new challenge is always exciting, though.  I'm hoping that tackling this once a week for a couple weeks will prime me for a second double in the coming weeks, boost the mileage, and *fingers crossed* make me faster.  

Of one thing I'm certain, I will be sleeping very well tomorrow night.

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