Thursday, May 23, 2013

Make It A Double

When I did my first Ironman 7 years ago, I remember being completely daunted by the thought that on some days, I was going to have to do 2 workouts a day.  Somewhere along the way, I must have grown accustomed to doing "doubles" because nowadays, I don't even bat an eyelash at the thought.  It's just something I do.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are my usual double days and it now looks like I'll be adding either Wednesday or Sunday in to the mix as well.  Doubles, for me, usually mean a morning workout and an evening workout.  Sometimes that can also mean a back to back workout, although that's not always what I call it.  A good example of a specific double is a "brick" workout (also known as a transition workout in triathlon circles).  Brick workouts are a staple in triathlon training.  A brick workout is usually a bike workout followed by a run workout, although on occasion I've done swim to bike workouts that have also been referred to as "bricks".  These workouts are key in training your muscles to get used to the transition from biking to running (or swimming to biking).  Last night I did my first brick of the year.  I figured I should probably get at least one in before Sunday's race.  I gotta say, I thought my legs were going to feel a whole lot worse than they did but surprisingly I felt amazing which has me totally jacked for Sunday.

Time in the saddle on the computrainer & booked it on the run in my Kinvaras
Chances are, if you're training for a triathlon, you'll have to fit in a double workout or two into your training routine.  And by doubles I mean either working out twice a day or doing a brick workout.  Sometimes I've had to do BOTH of those things.  For example, I'd have a morning weight workout and then my evening workout would be a ride followed by a short run.  That's a double that includes a brick.  Confused yet?  The longer the race distance the more doubles you'll probably have to do and there is a good chance that a lot of them will look like the one I just listed.  At least that's the way it's been in my experience.  Pretty much all of my Ironman training consisted of daily doubles (morning and evening workouts) at least 5 days a week.  No wonder if felt like a part time job!

Doubles can also be beneficial if you're training for a marathon, especially if you're only running 3-4 times a week and you need to get the mileage in.  The first time I trained for Boston, I had several 18-21km runs scheduled during the week!  Sometimes I'd be able to get the entire run done in one go but sometimes I wouldn't.  On days that I didn't think I'd be able to, I'd split the run up.  I'd do as much as possible in the morning and then try to finish it off in the evening.  Somehow a 5km run always seemed a bit more doable after a long day at work than anything double digit. 

The other good thing about doubles is the calorie burn.  When you exercise in the morning, your body obviously maintains a decent burn rate from the exercise and your daily activities.  If you exercise again in the evening, then you'll be getting the benefit of that calorie burn while you sleep.  I don't know about you, but I'd call that a double bonus, wouldn't you?

Do you incorporate doubles into your workout routine?
Have you thought about doing a triathlon?  If you have, stay tuned because over the next week I'll be doing several posts on how to approach each leg of a triathlon.  I'll cover everything from gear to how to lay your things out in transition to how to deal with the swim start.

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