Doubling Up, the Rapid 71-Year Old Marathoner, and a Brutal Twilight Race.

Running twice in one day doesn’t sound like something any sane person would want to do, but I have recently been testing the waters by training twice a day, once a week. I initially did this anticipating a busy week at work, making full use of one of my days off to cram as much quality mileage into a single day as I could. On these double days I tend to do one hard, fast interval session, and one much gentler, steady run, and not for much longer than 30 mins.

And I have to say it is working for me.

I went out for a midweek road run and found myself running naturally quicker at what felt like a simple, steady pace. Noticing the increase in speed I allowed myself to push through to the 5k mark and went through at 20:07, which is a way off my actual PB but is my quickest 5k since my serious return to running. Then, this week, I went out for a 5-miler which I was quite ready to do at a nice laid-back pace since I doubled up the day before. Again, my natural pace seemed to just be quicker, and I finished the 5 with a mile average of 6:48.

I was curious as to how immediate the effect of doubling up could be, so I did a little googling and found this old Runners World article which contained some very interesting information.

“Studies 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).”

The article notes three main areas of improvement which can be gained from doubling up. Firstly, they identify that by following up a fast session with a second, gentler session later in the day, you prep yourself for the next run, with that second running acting like a massage for your tired legs, making sure the next time you lace up you’re good to go.

Secondly, they look at how splitting up some midweek mileage into two gives you a double dose of growth hormone and encourages faster running across the same culminative mileage as one long run. However, they do admit there is no substitute from the benefits which can be gained from that one long, weekly run, especially for those training for marathons and half marathons.

Finally, for those looking to push their PBs, there are benefits to be gained from training hard twice in one day, as long as you keep that second workout short and intense. By training tired you force your body to use different muscle fibres and grow accustomed to the kind of strain it might be put under in race conditions. Just remember to really rest on those rest days to recover and avoid injury.

Since I already feel like I’m seeing the benefits, I’m definitely going to keep trying to double up at least once a week. Hopefully come the next 5k I’ll see the results.

News // Gene Dykes: 71, and a 2:54 Marathoner.

Gene Dykes is the fastest marathoner in the world in his age category. However, it is worth noting that Mr Dykes does not just train for marathons, he does not just race marathons. No, they aren’t quite enough for him. He runs ultras as well, and those long, slow races haven’t hampered his marathon running at all, in fact, he and his coach believe they must be helping him.

In an article written by Dykes himself on Podium Runner, he details his journey to world record holder, and proves himself to be an inspirational madman.

On his marathon/ultra habit he writes:

“While I wasn’t sure exactly what my coach would think of my dual running career in the beginning, I’m pretty sure he banged his head against the wall every time I signed up for an ultra trail event. Nevertheless, he always was willing to tailor my marathon training to fit between those races. I’ll bet we both thought that running all those ultras was probably going to limit my success in marathons.”

That head-banging coach believes that this may be a classic case of mind over matter. Physically you might imagine that running such long, slow races would hamper your chances of smashing out a marathon PB but also, imagine standing on the start line of a marathon knowing that you have, on multiple occasions, raced over 100 miles. Suddenly, 26.2 miles doesn’t seem so bad. Might as well just go for it! Or at least, Gene did.

Plenty of younger men than him will be jealous of those times (read: me) and will probably be inspired to up their mileage in a hope of replicating his feat.

However, I’m not so sure I’m up for the race of the week…

Race Focus // Midnight Mountain Marathon

This Welsh workout is no ordinary marathon. For starters you kick off at 17:30 and have until midnight to reach the finish line.

Secondly, it’s brutally hard.

Streams, forests, and mountains stand in your way. Yes mountains. And amongst those mountains is the highest peak in Wales, Pen y Fan (2,907ft/886m).

The current record course is 3:17:26.

For more information check out

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