Back to back long runs are a popular training technique used by runners to prepare for ultra marathon races. This technique involves running long distances on two consecutive days, usually on a Saturday and Sunday. The idea behind back-to-back long runs is to simulate the physical and mental demands of ultra races, which often require runners to cover long distances over multiple days.
Some experts believe that back-to-back long runs can help runners build endurance and improve their overall performance in ultra races. However, others argue that this training technique may increase the risk of injury and lead to overtraining if not done correctly. Therefore, it is important for runners to approach back-to-back long runs with caution and follow a structured training plan that includes proper rest and recovery periods.
What are Back-to-Back Long Runs?
Back-to-back long training runs are a training technique where a runner completes two long runs on consecutive days, usually on the weekend. The idea behind this technique is to mimic the fatigue and endurance required for long-distance running events. This technique is commonly used by ultra-marathon runners, but it can also be beneficial for runners training for shorter distance races.
The length of the back-to-back runs varies depending on the runner’s experience and the race distance they are preparing for. For example, a runner preparing for a half marathon may complete two runs of 10-12 miles, while a runner preparing for a full marathon may complete two runs of 18-20 miles. The goal is to accumulate a high weekly mileage without increasing the risk of injury.
The benefits of back-to-back long runs include:
- Building endurance: Running on tired legs helps to build endurance and stamina, which are essential for long-distance running events.
- Mental preparation: Completing two long runs on consecutive days can help runners mentally prepare for the mental and physical challenges that come with long-distance running events.
- Injury prevention: By spreading out the mileage over two days, runners reduce the risk of injury associated with completing one long run.
However, back-to-back workouts are not suitable for all runners. It is important to gradually increase the mileage and listen to the body to avoid overtraining and injury. Runners should also consider their fitness level, experience, and race goals before incorporating back-to-back long runs into their training plan.
Why are Back-to-Back Long Runs Important?
Back-to-back long runs are a crucial part of any training plan, especially for runners who are preparing for a long-distance race like a marathon or an ultramarathon. These runs involve doing two long runs on consecutive days, with the second run being done on tired legs. Here are some reasons why back-to-back long runs are important:
1. Builds Endurance and Volume
Running back-to-back long runs help runners build endurance and volume, which are essential for long-distance running. By doing two long runs on consecutive days, runners are able to accumulate more mileage without risking injury. This helps them adapt to the stress of running long distances and prepares them for race day.
2. Mimics Race Day Conditions
Back-to-back long runs help runners mimic race day conditions, where they have to run on tired legs. This helps them learn how to push through fatigue and maintain their pace in the later stages of the race. By doing back-to-back long runs, runners can also practice their race day nutrition and hydration strategies.
3. Provides Mental Training
Back-to-back long runs also provide mental training, as runners have to find an extra dose of grit to finish the intended distance on the second day. This helps them build confidence in their ability to push through tough times and finish strong on race day.
4. Reduces Injury Risk
Back-to-back long runs reduce the risk of injury compared to doing the entire distance in one go. By breaking up the long run into two parts, runners are able to recover better and reduce the stress on their bodies. This also helps them recover faster and get ready for their next training session.
5. Increases Adaptation
Back-to-back long runs increase adaptation by exposing runners to a greater volume of mileage or “time on feet” applicable to ultra marathon training. This greater exposure to stress helps runners build a big base and put a lot of area under the training curve. Running easy most of the time is necessary for staying healthy, allowing that big base to form.
Overall, back-to-back long runs are an essential part of any training plan for long-distance runners. They help runners build endurance, mimic race day conditions, provide mental training, reduce injury risk, and increase adaptation. By incorporating back-to-back long runs into their training plan, runners can prepare themselves for the challenges of race day and achieve their goals.
How to Incorporate Back-to-Back Long Runs into Your Training
When training for a long-distance race, incorporating back-to-back long runs into your training plan can be extremely beneficial. However, it’s important to do it right in order to reap the benefits and avoid injury. Here are some tips for successfully incorporating back-to-back long runs into your training plan.
Building Up to Back-to-Back Long Runs
Before jumping into back-to-back long runs, it’s important to build up your base mileage and endurance. This means gradually increasing your weekly mileage and long run distance over several weeks or months. Once you have a solid base, you can start incorporating back-to-back long runs into your training plan.
Choosing the Right Routes
When planning your back-to-back long runs, it’s important to choose routes that will challenge you, but also allow you to recover in between runs. This means avoiding too much elevation gain, technical terrain, or extreme weather conditions. Choose routes that are similar in terrain and distance to your goal race.
Fueling and Hydration
Proper fueling and hydration are crucial for successful back-to-back long runs. Make sure to eat a balanced diet leading up to your runs and fuel properly during your runs with easily digestible carbohydrates and electrolytes. It’s also important to stay hydrated before, during, and after your runs.
Recovery and Injury Prevention
Recovery is just as important as the runs themselves when it comes to back-to-back long runs. Make sure to stretch, foam roll, and get enough sleep to aid in recovery. It’s also important to listen to your body and take rest days when needed to avoid injury.
Incorporating back-to-back long runs into your training plan can lead to gains in endurance, confidence, and overall fitness. However, it’s important to do it right in order to avoid injury and reap the benefits. By gradually building up your mileage, choosing the right routes, fueling and hydrating properly, and focusing on recovery and injury prevention, you can successfully incorporate back-to-back long runs into your training plan.
Tips for Success
When it comes to back-to-back long runs, there are a few tips that can help ensure success. These runs can be a valuable part of any training plan, whether you’re preparing for a marathon, ultramarathon, or other distance race. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Start Slow and Gradually Increase
One of the keys to success with back-to-back long runs is to start slow and gradually increase the distance. This allows your body to adapt to the increased stress and mileage over time. It’s important to remember that these runs are not meant to be all-out efforts, but rather a way to build endurance and volume.
Listen to Your Body
It’s important to listen to your body during back-to-back long runs. If you’re feeling tired or experiencing pain or discomfort, it’s okay to cut the run short or take a break. Pushing through pain or injury can lead to further stress and injury risk.
Run with Friends
Running with friends can make back-to-back long runs more enjoyable and provide a sense of accountability. It can also help you push through tired legs and build confidence for race day.
Mix Up Your Routes and Terrain
Mixing up your routes and terrain can help prevent boredom and provide a variety of stress on your body. Incorporating hills, trails, and different surfaces can also help build strength and skills.
Remember to also pay attention to nutrition, hydration, and recovery during back-to-back long runs. Fueling your body with the right nutrients and electrolytes can help prevent fatigue and injury. Stretching, foam rolling, and getting enough sleep can also aid in recovery and adaptation.
Overall, back-to-back long runs can provide many benefits for runners, including physiological adaptations and mental strength. Incorporating them into your training program can help build endurance and confidence for race day.
Back-to-back long runs can be a valuable training tool for runners preparing for long-distance races. The benefits of this training method include increased endurance, improved mental toughness, and better race-day nutrition strategies. However, it is important to approach back-to-back long runs with caution and proper planning to avoid injury and burnout.
When planning back-to-back long runs, runners should consider factors such as distance, pace, terrain, and weather. It is important to gradually increase the distance and intensity of the runs over time to avoid injury and burnout. Runners should also pay attention to their nutrition and hydration needs during and after the runs to ensure proper recovery and preparation for the next day.
In addition to physical preparation, mental preparation is also key for successful back-to-back long runs. Runners should have a positive attitude and focus on the benefits of the training method rather than the challenges. They should also be prepared for unexpected obstacles and setbacks and have a plan in place to overcome them.
Overall, back-to-back long runs can be an effective training method for runners preparing for long-distance races. With proper planning and preparation, runners can reap the benefits of increased endurance, improved mental toughness, and better race-day nutrition strategies.
Is it bad to do two long runs in a row?
Back-to-back long runs help develop strong legs and a strong mind, which are both key to a successful ultra-marathon. However, it is important to note that back-to-back long runs take some getting used to, and it may be necessary to alternate a regular long run with fast finish long runs to avoid injury. Therefore, it is not necessarily bad to do two long runs in a row, but it is important to incorporate them into a well-structured training plan and to listen to your body to avoid overtraining and injury.
Should I still do a back to back run if I am extremely exhausted?
If you are extremely exhausted, it may not be advisable to do a back-to-back run. Back-to-back long runs are a staple of ultra-marathon training, but it is important to listen to your body and avoid overtraining, which can lead to fatigue and burnout. It is recommended to include cut-back weeks in mileage to allow the body time to recover and adapt. If you are feeling exhausted, it may be beneficial to take an extra rest day or shorten your long run to allow your body to recover. Ultimately, it is important to prioritize rest and recovery to avoid injury and burnout.