With less than a handful of days to go before the Bataan Death March 102km Ultra, it is cramming time for me.
I have been resorting to a bag of tricks including a four-hour heat training on Valentine’s Day and a back-to-back 21kms on weekends. Add to this list is the practice of heading out for two runs in a single day --- logging “doubles” or “two-a-days.”
I first read about this standard practice among elite runners in an article entitled “Double Down” by Lisa Marshall in the March 2013 issue of Runner’s World Magazine. The write up pointed to studies that suggest doubling up and running in a depleted state can boost fat-burning, train the body to use glycogen more efficiently, and stimulate mitochondria production (more mitochondria can delay fatigue). By shortening the time between runs, we are challenging our body to recover faster. But bad things can happen if this is overdone. Here are a few tips to do it safely:
1. Run by time. Start with a second run of 20 minutes. Over time, build up to no more than 45 minutes.
2. Ease into it. Begin with one double per week. After a week or two, add a second. Build up to no more than four doubles per week.
3.Space it out. Allow for four hours between doubles, and be sure to hydrate and fuel well between each.
4.Stay alert. If you start to feel sick, run-down, crabby, or achy, back off. You’re probably overdoing it.
Following these guidelines for staying healthy and injury-free on the double, I logged a double this Tuesday. In the morning, I had a hill training run for 44 minutes and in the early evening, I had an easy run for 24 minutes.
Felt good doing doubles.