Yesterday marked my first of many 20 mile days for the season. I split the run into 10 miles in the morning, where I got to run from Geaux Run with a couple of good friends, then I ran again about 2:00 p.m. at home to get in the last 10. The first 10 were a breeze since it wasn't hot yet, and I had great company. The last 10 were very hot, and the last few miles it felt like there were bricks tied to my ankles.
I will not be splitting up many of my long runs this way. I know they say that as long as you do both runs within a 24 hour time period that you get the same benefit as doing your long run all at once, but when it gets down to my peak weeks, I like to run all of my long runs in one piece. It's good to feel tired legs, and learn to ignore your body's protests and keep running.
By running some of your mileage in the morning and the rest later on during the day, your body is getting most of the same physical endurance training benefits of a continuous long run since you're not completely recovering in between runs. However, the benefits are not as great as when you do one continuous long run. And, of course, it's definitely easier mentally to run 10 miles in the morning and 8 miles at night, rather than 18 miles all at once -- which is why you don't want to do it every week. Ideally, you want to run your long run continuously, since that's what you'll be doing in your marathon. But splitting your run is a great way to squeeze a long run into a busy week and it definitely beats the alternative of skipping your long run altogether. (Click here for the article.)I think the heat training is paying off a little, though. It is getting to the point that midday runs are bearable for a little longer now, and early morning runs feel downright cool. As for now, I am cutting back on my super-hot runs to one a week. This should be sufficient to hold onto any gains I may have made, without leaving me feeling completely wiped out all of the time. While running in the heat has long term benefits. it definitely takes its toll.
I almost hate to admit this, but I am not sure what is on the schedule for this week. I usually look at my schedule the night before I am running to see how far I am going. Whether its 6, 9, or 12 miles doesn't really matter except to figure out how early I have to get up that morning. If you could see the alarm clock on my iPhone, you would see alarm times that I have programmed from 4:00 a.m. all the way up to 7:00 a.m. Most of my weekday long runs (when they get into double digits) have me getting up about 5:00 a.m., with shoes on the pavement no later than 5:30. This way I can run for 2 hours, and have time to stretch a bit, and get ready for work. During this time, my usual bedtime is around 9 or 9:30 p.m. Not because I am rigid about getting enough sleep, but because I can't keep my eyes open much later than that. The life of an ultrarunner - not much partying going on.
Miles run last week: 35
Make it a great week, folks!