Monday, June 30, 2008

Running Twice a Day

Running twice a day is something that may conjure up images of training fanatics or elite athletes (or both). Two-time Olympic marathoner Pete Pfitzinger offers his expertise on the topic at Pete states that runners should not introduce running twice a day into the training regime until their weekly mileage exceeds 55 miles for runners targeting a 5 km race, or 75 miles for marathoners. For runners attempting to push themselves to the limit and run as fast as their body’s will allow, following the advice of experts like Pete only makes sense. For the rest of us, running twice a day can still be beneficial, but for different reasons, depending on our individual running goals.

As a fifteen to twenty-something mile a week runner, I fall well short of Pete’s guidance for even considering running twice a day. Occasionally, however, I manage to run twice a day – and feel good about it (I do not consider myself a training fanatic and I am definitely not an elite athlete). As my schedule permits, I run during lunch at work. Although my lunchtime run usually only lasts twenty minutes, it recharges my batteries and enables me to better focus on the rest of the day’s tasks. Arriving home after work, my son sometimes wants to go for a run, and the dog is always ready to run. So, periodically I will head out again for another twenty or thirty minute run with my two favorite training partners. Physically, there may be more gain from running four miles, rather than two miles twice in the same day. Mentally, however, running twice gives me the mid-day boost that I need to get through the day and an opportunity to visit with my son.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Dog, a Stroller, and a Runner

Run with a dog, run with a stroller, but don’t run with both. This is sage advice I have heard in person and read online. But what is life without a little hectic multi-tasking; get a nice run in, enjoy some quality time with my son, and exercise the dog all at the same time. Fortunately, the routes I run are not terribly busy, and much of it is in a city park, which allows us the luxury of added space when it comes to keeping the three of us moving in the same direction at the same time. My son was seven months old the first time I strapped him into a running stroller and took him for a jaunt through town. Shortly thereafter our dog, a boxer, joined us on our runs. That was two years ago, and since that time the three of us have logged a lot of miles together. Every run is interesting, but usually more so when there are a lot of squirrels on the route. Boxers are rather easily distracted, and at the first site of a squirrel he forgets all about being tethered to my arm… But when we get into a rhythm, we can make some good time. Joe, the dog, will take the point. My son must think that Joe does all the work. This must be what it looks like to drive a dog sled team. I wonder if any boxers have led a team during the Iditarod…..well, probably not unless there are no squirrels in Alaska.

We run enough together that if I go for a run without my two companions, some people will actually stop me and ask about my son and dog. It is kind of cool for us to be somewhat recognizable in town as “that guy that runs with a dog and pushes his son in a stroller.”