When I prepared for my first marathon in the early ’80s, I’ve been running twice a day, running early in the morning and later in the afternoon. I usually start my run in the morning as early as 5:00 AM and finish before 7:00 AM, running a minimum of 10 kilometers. In the afternoon, I start my run at 5:00 PM and finish before 7:00 PM running almost the same distance as what I had covered in the morning.
I was able to do all these runs because I was still young at that time and could easily recover from muscle pains and aches due to running after few hours of sleep and rest. I was glad I did not have any major injuries except for leg cramps, shin splints, and stomach cramps. These pains and aches became my “body signals” when to stop running or reduce my mileage. While I was building my endurance capability, I did not focus on speed for longer distances or tempo play but more on “fartlek” of lesser distances up to 200 meters.
It appears in my readings that there were elite runners who started to introduce lesser mileage and more speed works/tempo runs in their running workouts plus more days to recover in order to improve one’s time to finish the marathon. But this approach to training is only good to elite runners who had reached their peak or best PR and starting to get older. Lesser mileages and more speed/tempo runs as training workout for new/younger runners is not advisable. This will lead to injuries, frustrations and inconsistencies.
I am reminded of the comment of our postman in Los Angeles who is also a marathoner/runner. After knowing that I ‘ve stopped running for so many years and trying to return to marathon training, he said, “It will be a hard and painful one for you to go back”. I guess, he is telling the truth!
Starting on New Year’s Day, I will be running twice-a-day on my easy runs to build-up my endurance and slowly get serious with “tempo” runs/speed plays. This will be a very slow process but I am sure this is the right direction to be back as a competitive runner at my age. I know it will take months and years but this is a commitment I should start doing for the year 2008.
To all the Runners, Happy New Year, More Miles To Run & Injury-Free In 2008!!!