Friday, July 03, 2009


i've resumed 2-a-day workouts, after a year (more than a year) hiatus.

this is kind of a big step, even though it isn't anything extraordinary. generally, 2-a-days are pretty common in many sports--basketball, football, track & field, swimming, etc., all incorporate 2-a-day workouts at some point into their training schedule, with a training session in the morning and another training session in the evening. triathlon is no different, with many training programs listing 2-a-day workout regimens as de rigeur, since it's the only way to get in the requisite weekly mileage needed to build performance.

as commonplace as it may be, it's not something you see that often. most amateur athletes, especially recreational ones, do not do 2-a-days, nor do they need to. for the most part, they are not aiming for the kinds of goals or the kinds of races that require 2-a-days. in addition, they are not in situations that can accommodate the time needed for 2-a-days--for most people, between jobs, schools, families, bills, there's not much left over for the training and recovery time associated with 2 workouts per day.

that, and there's also the fact that the heavy training load brought by multiple daily workouts can actually be counter-productive if not conducted properly. when done correctly, 2-a-days can produce accelerated gains in performance and ability. however, without a measure of care in organizing the progression of training sessions, it's very easy for athletes to short-change their recovery time and over-stress their bodies, resulting in burn-out, the dreaded over-training syndrome, or outright injury. regardless, it ultimately means lost performance, which is the very point of undertaking 2-a-days to begin with.

which is why it is a big step.

because the decision, especially as an amateur athlete, signifies a commitment and a sacrifice. a commitment to better performance, with an attendant commitment to increased effort, mental focus, diligence, and discipline to create a constructive training plan and stick to it. and a sacrifice, in terms of lost time for the other aspects of your life (jobs, schools, families, friends, bills, etc., something has to go). in essence, the decision to begin 2-a-day workouts signifies the priority you are now placing on training and the priority you are now giving the objective of such training in your life. it's not a trivial decision.

for me, i decided it was time to start now. symbolically, it's a recognition of my return to racing, and the mindset of training for that purpose. for the past year, i've been maintaining a workout regimen (key word "a"), but it was more for maintenance purposes and hence contained to single daily workouts. but now that i've signed up for Ironman Utah 2010, i know that i need to begin the progression back to Ironman shape, and that this is a very big mountain to ascend...meaning that the sooner i start, the less steep (and the less painful) the climb is going to be.

note that i didn't say easy--this past week i've had 3 days of 2-a-days, and i'm already feeling the effects--just less painful.

but at least now i'm mentally prepared for it.


Trihardist said...

I've never really thought about it, before. But then again, I've never added much to my life that I would need to sacrifice for training. Work, train, and spend time with the family is all I really have time for, and all I really want. But when you put it this way, I suppose being willing to work out twice a day on a regular basis is unusual.

Bob Almighty said...

Two a days were the staple of my ironman training in 08 when my class scehdule was light and I had access to a swimming pool until 11 at night. In the summer it's just hard for me to get my two a days in during the week because of limited pool hours...because I usually like to do runs and swims and or short rides and save my long bricks for the weekends.

On the one of many mountains to climb it's not an exageration ...that bike leg is a beast, but you'll man handle it.