Back-to-Backs Leading Up to Chicago
Last week I was going over my 5K time trial with my coach and I mentioned how surprised I was that I PR’d. My mileage has been so low the last couple of months and my speedwork has been almost nonexistent… so how did it happen?
My coach reminded me that even though I wasn’t able to log as many miles as I would have liked to while I healed from hip bursitis I put in serious time at the gym.
This training cycle my coach is having me run a hybrid of the Hanson’s method. Some weekends I’ll be doing back-to-backs and some weekends I’ll be doing a single long run.
When I was training for Portland last year I ran about 30-35 miles per week with a peak of 42 miles twice. As you can imagine, about half of my weekly mileage came directly from the long run.
Last year my long runs included two 15-milers, and only one 16, 17 and 20-miler (I never ran an 18 or 19-miler). While it would put me at risk for injury to do more than one 20-miler since it takes me well over four hours, my coach does want me to get that long distance experience more than one time. Hence the introduction of back-to-backs in my training plan.
I’ll only be doing one 20 miler but I’ll do several double digit back-to-back runs leading up to Chicago. There is a lot of research that shows back-to-back runs have the same effect on the body as a single long run. We stop gaining any physical benefit from running over 2.5 hours – in fact we put ourselves at risk for injury when we do. That’s why it’s just not beneficial for someone like me to run multiple 20-milers in marathon training.
Portland was my first marathon and my training plan last year felt right to me. A part of me thought I should probably be running higher mileage but another part of me was glad that I wasn’t. This year I know what to expect and I’m ready to train hard.
This weekend I logged my first back-to-back. I was supposed to do a 6 miler on Saturday and an 8 miler on Sunday. I ended up doing 4 miles on Saturday and 8 miles on Sunday.
On Friday night I went out to celebrate a colleague’s birthday and let’s just say I drank too much and stayed out too late. On Saturday morning my head was pounding, my stomach hurt and my legs fought me through every step. I guess I’m not 20 anymore!
Sunday’s run went much, much better even though I ran on the treadmill because it was just TOO HOT outside. Honestly the treadmill wasn’t bad; I watched a couple episodes of Wayward Pines to pass the time. Afterwards I rewarded myself with the juiciest orange ever! Mmmmmm!
After a long run there is nothing better than oranges, cantaloups or watermelon! I’m so happy that summer is here and my favorite fruits are in season again. It off sets how dreadful the sweltering temperatures are!
I hope you had a great weekend filled with friends, family and miles :).
Do you watch Wayward Pines? I’m only 3.5 episodes in right now.
Have you ever used back-to-backs in training? Thoughts?