One Very Long Run or Back to Backs?

So I did something different last weekend.

For all of my previous ultras, I've done 1 single long run on the weekends. The core of what makes a long run for me seems to be about 5 hours or 30-31 miles, though I've done a few at 5.5 hours and as long as 35 miles.

The other school of thought is to do back long runs, but have them be shorter. Until this past weekend, I'd never done that.

I can't say going into it, I had a great reason for doing it, either, other than training plans for 50 milers don't look much different than training plans for 100 milers, and that just scares me, so I decided different might be good.

On the other hand, many runners say that the risk of injury is greater on back to backs, and hey, I'm not getting any younger here, so injury is a concern.

To recap, last weekend, I did 31.1 miles in 4:55 of total running.

For some reason, even though I'm a stickler about running time for ultras, I focused on miles for my btob.

On Saturday, I did 20.3 miles in 2:56. On Sunday, I did 14.8 in 2:15. So, in the end, I did just over 35 miles in 5:11.

On the plus side, both runs were faster than my average pace when I go very long. On the surprising side, the second run was much easier than I expected it to be, as I loosened up nicely after the 3rd mile or so.

But even so, I can't say I was a big fan of it.

I've become very accustomed to psyching myself up for 1 tragic workout over the weekend. It takes a ton of time, I punch the clock, I come home exhausted and sleep great, and then have a wonderful second half to my weekend.

Here, even though I didn't have to really psyche myself up, I still had to get up early and get myself mentally prepared twice. And then afterward, because the runs were still 20 and 15 miles, I was pretty tired. And since I ran on both days, I'm stuck with taking a rest day today (Monday).

I haven't decided if I'll repeat the back to back again on this build. I posted about this at RunningAhead and one of the speedy runners suggested that the back-to-backs would likely help with speed. That makes sense, but it's also not really my focus for my first 100 - survival is.

Either way, it was nice to put another long weekend in the books, regardless of how many runs it took.

Blood-sugar-wise, I fought lows the whole run on Saturday, but finished in the 80s. I was more cautious on Sunday, and finished at 98. Fuel of choice for both runs were the fig newtons.


  1. Fig newtons FTW!

    I smiled when you used the words "tragic workout" only because they do sound totally tragic! You're a beast of a different breed, which is fun for me to read about, but I could never imagine running for the amount of time as you do. Seems like it shouldn't even be possible, which, I suppose, is why I enjoy following you through it.

    Hope the shoulder is still doing well!


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