Ask the Coach – Splitting Up Long Workouts
Sometimes our schedules are so busy or circumstances are such that it isn’t practical to do one long, (i.e. 3 hour) workout at all at once. But instead of skipping the workout completely, if you can break it up into two workouts, you can still gain fitness benefits.
Here are some pros and cons of splitting up your long workout.
- You are still getting in total time in that sport for that day
- You are getting some rest in between so you might be able to add more “quality” to the total session.
- You could be more fatigued for the second workout, compromising quality
- You aren’t putting your body through what might be expected on race day
How you split it up will depend on your specific training goals. For example, if you are training for a 24 hour-type race, splitting up a long workout can be good because it will let you know what it feels like to exercise at different times of the day. If you are training for a long event like a marathon or century ride, you can try to make one session longer than the other.
If there is intensity in your training session, you could do that in the second session. Do a shorter, easier session first thing in the morning when your body is still “waking up” and the intensity in the second session when you have had a chance to fuel properly and your body is more warm.
Another factor in how you split up a workout is what you will be doing in between. If you are going to be moderately active, you might do a longer session first, then a shorter session second, as you will be more fatigued come the second session.
Make sure you fuel and hydrate properly in between sessions so that when you start the second session, you are ready for it. All in all, your schedule will likely dictate how you split up your training day. I don’t recommend always splitting up your long workouts, as we need to learn how to break through that “fatigue barrier,” but if it will ensure you get in your training time, then take a crack at it! You’ll still see the benefits.
Coach Nicole is the author of The Triathlete’s Guide to Race Week. She is also the founder and head coach for NEO Endurance Sports & Fitness, a Colorado-based endurance sport coaching company. She is a USAT Level 1 Certified Coach and also coaches triathlon for Team In Training. Learn more at http://neoendurancesports.com/. You can contact Coach Nicole with your questions for the Ask the Coach column on facebook, twitter or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.