Ugh, it’s that time of the season.
Many athletes I coach are trying to build a bigger peak for the last part of their seasons. So what can we do to improve the odds of increasing our peak? I hate to say it we need to work a bit harder. I know-I know the tag line at Positive Performance Coaching is Train Smarter Not Harder but sometimes some good old fashion training volume is required.
However, I am not talking about tacking on an extra hour of training on to the end of your existing workouts. Instead, I am talking about “Two A Days”.
Typically a Two A Day is a workout in the AM and again in the Eve. The two individual workouts can not only help you to increase late season aerobic capacity but may help you to work on more than one training factor.
The Two A Day concept is not new to endurance athletes. Multisport athletes have been putting in Two A Day’s to keep up with the demands of competing in three sports ever since the beginning of Triathlon. Endurance athletes who focus just on cycling or running can really benefit from completing Two A Days.
I find that the summer is often the best time for a 2 a Day as the heat can be brutal during the day. So an early ride or run followed by a late evening run or ride works for most.
So, for instance, you may find that a 30 minute to 1.5-hour workout focusing on the sharp end of anaerobic performance such as jumping and sprinting in the AM followed by a 40 minute to 1.5 hours easier or tempo ride in the evenings will have you moving much faster and sooner!
I often get questions from new and experienced athletes about the validity of doing this sort of training. By doing this type of training in the summer months several things will occur. You increase your volume, you increase your exposure to higher temperatures and you increase your training stress. Increasing training volume in smaller segments actually may provide you more time to recover between workouts. Exposing yourself to hotter temperatures during shorter training bouts has been proven to improve heat acclimation by increasing blood plasma volume. Increased training stress is often the trigger to making adaptations that lead to greater physical fitness.
Take it when first starting 2 a days if you are new to this type of training. Just try once a week and early in the week to see how your body adapts to the increased training stress. Masters level athletes may not do well as it can take much longer to recover than younger athletes.
If you chose to add two days a week of 2 a days I strongly suggest you give yourself 2 days between each of your 2 Days. So I would use the following weekly training pattern Mondays x2, Tuesday x1, Wednesday x2, Thursday x2, Friday x1 or off, Saturday x1 and Sunday x1.
Be very strict with your rest, nutrition, and hydration when you start your 2 a days. Eat clean, eat enough and drink lots of fluids before during and after.
2 a Days aren’t just for endurance training.
Don’t forget that if you are going to the gym at lunch and riding or running in the AM or Evening you are effectively training on a 2 a Day program!
Some of us just don’t have a choice. If we want to be competitive or more competitive and don’t have the luxury of a professional athlete’s schedule we must split up our workouts. I like to look at it like this. It’s a wonderful way to start and end the day doing what I love. Running, Riding and Lifting!
Until Next Time,
Train Smarter Not Harder,
Strategies for Doubling