20 October 2014

Double trouble

Paul Tergat (nicknamed the 'gentleman') stands at 
6 feet tall and weighs 62kg. He held the world record
 for the marathon from 2003 to 2007 with a time 
of 2.04.55 (2003 Berlin Marathon)

In my last post I asked the question - what on earth was the point to the slow easy run?  EWEN responded with a considered “if it contributes to your overall weekly/monthly volume and helps with recovery, it’s pretty useful”. He then pointed out the relative paces Paul Tergat runs at during his training week. The occasional 4.20/k from a man who’s raced a half at 2.48/k is worth noting. Ewen had wet my appetite on this Tergat character so off I went to learn more. It turns out that in the lead up to the Atlanta Olympics he was logging 300k per week. Now with that sort of mileage the ‘double’ becomes essential for a whole host of reasons. He was doing six a week and on the seventh he ran the morning only and counted that evening as his REST for the week … show off! It’s in the double that I now see a fit for the slow easy run. For Tergat, he ran his mornings hard and his evenings easy. Makes sense. 

As a ‘maturing’ runner I can look back over the last 2 years or so and note some big gains. I easily clock up 90k for the week compared to the modest 45k I used to consider meaningful. I run a minimum of 2 long runs per week. Currently 3 which I’ve found has really made a big difference to my endurance and strength and  I’ve shed 4-5kg which is by no means an end point either. Oh yes, and I understand that by being patient – good things will happen. I think it’s now time to consider the ‘double’ as I look to shift things up after the Auckland marathon.

From what I’ve read the experts suggest the ‘double’ forces you to run in a depleted state boosting the burning of fat. The double trains the body to use glycogen more efficiently, and stimulate mitochondria production (more mitochondria can delay fatigue). Greg McMillan says "By shortening the time between runs, you're challenging your body to recover faster and a fast recovery is a good thing."


I have to say that I’m feeling rather good. No doubt I went through a fairly dark period a while back but all of a sudden I’m feeling stronger and happier. Touch wood. I thought this week’s long run (30k) was one of the more mature ones I’ve completed (SPLITS HERE). I ran conservatively to begin and finished with 8 of my last 10 km’s under marathon goal pace. Must be those new shoes eh!



  1. That was a great 30k Mark. Keep those (and doubles) up and you'll wear out the new shoes in no time!
    Another interesting thing about Tergat's double days was that the first run was at 6am and the second at 10am (not the evening!), so minimal recovery between them but plenty of time after the 10am run before the next 6am run.
    When I was on leave in 2008 I ran about 3 weeks of doubles - usually late morning and evening. Did 147k one week. A couple of weeks later, ran two of my better races as a 50+ runner - 21:44 and 45:21. Wish I could have kept up a more measured double routine for a couple of months - reckon I would have broke all my 50+ PBs. I reckon balancing volume and recovery is the big secret. Anyway, good luck. And thanks for not mentioning the All Blacks.

  2. I might have pushed a little too hard Ewen. Should have left that one for race day. Reckon I might have a touch of the dreaded 'runners knee' back again. I'm not a happy camper at all. I've rested a couple of days and will give it a good go tomorrow. Your pertinent comment about balancing volume and recovery came one week too late. PS don't tell Bob. He'll laugh a lot given my cockiness over his recent hammy issue.

    1. Bugger! Sorry to hear that Mark. Your secret's safe with me - I won't tell Bob. Get well soon mate.