Posted: June 28, 2011 at 8:00 am

When laying out my workout plan for my half marathon training, I knew the workouts I wanted to include in my training. I needed things I enjoy and that will provide the variety of workouts my body needs for optimal function. I planned to include:

  • the four runs my training plan calls for (two short, one speed/tempo, one long)
  • two to three strength training sessions
  • a cycle class (an absolute must since I love them)
  • 1-2 cross training elliptical or DVD workouts if time/my body allows
  • additional stretching, foam rolling, etc added in after workouts.

I typically shoot for around an hour workout six days per week, with one full day of rest. I knew I could make that work, but did have a slight challenge. When to fit in cycle? Remember – it is a MUST for me!

Knowing Makenzie starts preschool mid-August, I wanted to get a routine established now that will coincide with that schedule change. I don’t want to get in a training groove only to have to rearrange it all six weeks later. I started laying out my plan by spacing out my runs adequately. I didn’t want to end up with three runs back to back or my speed work and long runs too close together. Then, I looked at the class schedule for my gym. The only cycle classes I could attend that wouldn’t interfere with my running and personal schedule were either Mondays at 5;30 am or 5:30 pm – a day I need to do one of my light runs to spread out my runs adequately.

Soooo….it looks like Mondays have become two-a-days! I end up doing just shy of 1.5 hours of workouts on Monday, but compensate by getting shorter, lighter workouts Thursday and Friday in exchange. My schedule ends up looking something like this -

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
AM: 45 min Cycle Class

PM: 2-3 mile Easy Run

Weights + 30 min elliptical Speedwork / Tempo Run Weights +
2-3 mile Easy Run
30-45 min DVD Workout Long Run Off

I followed this plan last week and it worked out well. I know my body and one two-a-day a week will certainly be manageable since I’m not adding extra volume overall. I think the toughest adjustment will be running in the afternoon for 20-30 minutes that one day. Sheesh it’s hot out there! Yesterday was my first go at the afternoon summer run. I got in my two miles and poured out 6897098 gallons of sweat. Oh, water, how I love you!


I took on the run with a safety plan of attack. Water. Water. Water. Slow and steady paces. And I would change my plan to hit up the treadmill if it was too unreasonable. At first I thought, “well I could also always do the PM cycle class and run in the morning to avoid the heat”, but that would put me running in the dark by myself. Call me a wuss, but it just doesn’t sit right with me for some reason. Better safe hot than sorry, right? Right!

  • Is there a workout you simply HAVE to include in your weekly rotation?
  • If you’re a runner, do you feel safe going out in the dark?

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70 Comments to “Two-A-Days”
  1. No running in the dark for me! I’m the biggest scardy cat you’ll ever meet! 🙂

  2. If I ever run outside (rarely) I am too scared to do it alone in the dark. I always try to get in at least 1 interval workout a week. I love them!

  3. Looks like you came up with a great schedule- the most important things for me are variety, being flexible, and taking rest days when they’re on the schedule!

    And I’d run in the dark if it’s a safe place, but I’d rather get up early in the am to beat the heat than run at night…

  4. Kim says:

    I try to avoid running in the dark if at all possible. I can’t have a good run if I’m constantly looking behind me and trying to make sure no one snatches me. That’s why I love summer — early sun rises brighten up the sky enough that I can get in a nice, long run before work.

  5. I am not worried about running in the dark from a “getting attacked” standpoint – since random violence, even where I live in DC, is incredibly rare. You would most likely know your attacker if anything ever happened to you.

    Now, cars. That’s different. Consider getting a reflective vest to wear over your running clothes.

    As for workouts I can’t live without? I can’t go more than 2-3 days without swimming without losing my mind.

    • Tina says:

      That’s another thing of mine. I’ve been hit by a car before as a pedestrian so I always have this slight anxiety when on sidewalks.

  6. I DO NOT like to run in the dark, even if I had a running buddy. Totally agree- better hot than sorry!

    Your schedule looks a lot like my half-marathon training plan! I officially start mine at the end of July; right now I’m just trying to get a good foundation of mileage. Good luck with your training!

  7. Kara says:

    I’m ok with running in the dark as long as I have my reflective vest and other gear.

    One point to consider for your training plan: I love rest days (I take 2 full rest days every week), but if you want to build endurance, don’t take a rest day after your long run. That’s when you should do the 2-3 mile run. It will simulate how you might feel at mile 10 during the race and help you figure out how to push through the fatigue.

    It’s hard with your schedule since you have other interests than running. It doesn’t really matter though, we all train differently and still cross the finish line 🙂

    • Tina says:

      Oh…that’s interesting! I don’t know if I can make that work because of church and other things going on Sundays, but I have never heard of that approach. Thanks for letting me know my running guru. You seriously rock and I appreciate your advice so much!

  8. At times I will do a 2-a-day with weights and a run – you are a rockstar doing 2x cardio!

    I used to like running down Peachtree after dark, but a couple of recent incidents in my neighborhood have made me hesitant to go alone. 🙁

  9. marcia says:

    I don’t run in the dark often, but sometimes it happens. It’s either just about to be light or just about to be dark. Or if it’s pitch black I have at least 1 other person running with me. I dress the part as well. Light colored clothes and or make sure the clothes/shoes I wear have reflectors on them. I also have an obnoxious blinking light I wear on my coat or hat.
    My training/teaching has so much variety I can’t say that I miss out on too much. I did love me some Zumba though, no time now! 😉

  10. I won’t run in the “dark dark,” but I love a good twilight run– right after the sun has gone down! When I was braver (re: STUPID) in college, I went on night runs all the time in Charleston, SC. Talk about a dumb move– I’m glad I never ran into trouble!

  11. Carolina says:

    Because I’m in Florida & am not a morning person I have to do my runs when I get home from work. It’s too hot to run at 6 so I head out at 7:30ish, about an hour before it gets dark because it’s cooler & its still light out (& one of the best times of the day in my opinion). I don’t feel safe running in the dark unless I’m with a group.

  12. weekly workouts I MUST include? Tae bo!! My core has never looked better! 🙂

  13. I find it hard enough to get in workouts 5 days a week being single (well, engaged) with no kids – I don’t know how you do it!

  14. I’ve never ran in dark before and I don’t plan on it! Just never sounded safe to me, especially if I was by myself! You’re workout plan looks great! Can’t wait to see the next post-baby body updates!

  15. I never run in the dark, especially since my at-home running route mostly has no street lights. I do have a reflective vest and even a head lamp, but I’m just too scared. Eek!
    My must-have workout is definitely running. I couldn’t fit a run in last weekend and got cranky. My poor family! So sorry!

  16. Girl, you are dedicated! I am a workout fanatic, but I couldn’t fit in two-a-days. My kids would probably tell me to “slow down mommy”. They already tell me that. Nvm. My morning gym workout is essential for me; cardio + strength training + abs five days a week. When I exercise in the a.m., I feel alive and have more energy for the day. Plus, no excuses!

  17. I wouldn’t run in the dark either…you just never know what could happen. My cousin’s ex-girlfriend went for a 5:00 AM run, and was hit by a driver who didn’t see her. It is not safe to run in the darkl!

  18. Erica says:

    GREAT plan. Again…you are my post baby inspiration! I will be leaning on you like crazy ;). The plan looks good to me. Teaching and running is always tough for me. I try to find balance in the schedule and will have to work extra hard to do so once the peanut is born.

  19. Ugh – the heat is a total beast for running. Water water more water and I agree, slower pace is safer until you get used to it. I will run i the dark with others. I have some shorts and a glow in the dark anklet that I can wear. They are by Brooks and are designed to be the most reflective fabric available. I will say that if the neighborhood isn’t well lit, I feel very unsteady though – worried about tripping and falling more than anything.

  20. Looks like a pretty good schedule. I’m with you on running in the dark, it just feels freaky to me. Granted, I live in an area with absolutely no street lights so after the sun goes down, it’s pretty dark out there.

  21. Rachel says:

    I hear ya! I also live in GA (Macon) and running for me in the afternoons/evenings has been nigh impossible lately. The last time I went I got too hot, nausea, and dizzy – mild heat stroke we think. I already get up at 5:30 to get to work so I’m retreating to indoor workouts for the time being. 🙂

  22. Emily says:

    I am so impressed by your fitness dedication Tina!! You are totally getting yourself in shape and rockin’ at it! If I am a mom some day I hope to be able to balance it all like you do 🙂

  23. The schedule looks great!

    I do two-a-days 2-3x per week due to teaching and the body does adjust quite well. I do notice that enough sleep and proper fuel is essential to feel my best though…but you already know that 🙂

  24. I used to run at night but only with someone. It is soooo refreshing to run in the evening/at night!!

  25. I have mixed feelings about running in the dark. I will do the run-by-street light thing, but only if I’m with someone else. There are so many factors to be concerned about…

  26. Oh, and no, I don’t run in the dark…I don’t feel comfortable. Heck, I don’t even run outside alone, I feel safe with another person or I go with my dogs. That’s just me thought!

  27. I’m not a fan of running in the dark unless someone is with me.

  28. Heather says:

    totally dont run in the dark alone. Since you are just doing 2-3 easy miles in the afternoon you should be ok. It just may be a REALLY easy run b/c of the heat (I have to do this too) or hit the treadmill. your schedule looks VERY similar to mine except for the cycle class. everything else is almost exactly the same, even the same days!

  29. Jess says:

    This is exactly what I battled when I first created my running/half training plan coupled with barre n9ne classes. I was running 5 days a week and taking barre n9ne classes 4–6 times a week. I was feeling good but knew I probably needed to dial it back just a teensy bit in favor of balance. That’s why I took out one of the runs per week and it’s working out great. Though I DO miss that AM run on Tuesdays so much, it just sets my day off right. So I’m having a hard time letting that run go but I know it’s for the best in the end.

  30. It can definitely be a challenge trying to fit all your workouts in a week! I found the same dilemma – where to fit in spin – when I was training with 4 running days/week. Then I just reduced to 3 running days per week.

    • Tina says:

      I did three running days per week before…but hated doing two four milers mid week. I t’s funny how different things work for different people huh? I love splitting one of those into two shorter ones.

  31. oh gosh this makes me really notice how much i’ve slacked with my workouts…. but that’s good! I need the motivation to start running, spinning, kickboxing and such again so I feel great and get stronger!

    love you girl! you’re so inspiring!

  32. Lee says:

    I sometimes do two-a-days. I typically will do one or both of them at the gym. I am not a fan of running in the dark.

  33. jobo says:

    Sounds like a rock solid plan!! I agree re: running in the dark, I wouldn’t want to do that either alone. What time do you get up that it’s still dark in the summer?? Damn, girl!

    • Tina says:

      I have to be home at 6:30 for Peter, so I would have to go out around 5:45. It’s getting light but it still makes me nervous.

  34. I don’t like going in the dark at all…if that’s the only time I have to workout I do a DVD in my living room 🙂

  35. I have to do the elliptical every week!! It just keeps me sane- allows me to clear my head and listen to new music. And I’ve never tried running at night!

  36. I HAVE to have a Bikram yoga each week. As a runner and moderate weight lifter I really get a good stretch and it helps loosen up all my tight areas. In the cooler months when it’s dark in the mornings and at night I usually rock my florescent vest. No joke, it’s hideous, but safety is fashionable, haha!

  37. I’m not a fan of running in the dark even with a running buddy. I just don’t like the fact of cars not being able to see me…

  38. Jessica says:

    I never run in the dark 1. because I am afraid and 2. because I don’t wear my glasses when I run and if I can’t see someone coming at me with them on in the darkness, adding no-glasses to it will probably lead to an incident! haha

  39. Jill says:

    Biking and Step Aerobics are 2 of my favorite exercises that I always include in my weekly workout (when I am not nursing an injury)!!!!

  40. I HAVE to lift AND run at least once a week or I feel like a total lame-o. I’m not really afraid of running in the dark, but I’d much prefer running in the daytime hours :D.

  41. Lisa says:

    I hate having to cancel my swims. I swim 2x a week and I love swimming. I try to fit that in no matter what!

  42. Mandy says:

    2 cardio workouts in one day! Girl, that is dedication 😉 I don’t think I’ve ever done that LOL!!!

    I MUST fit in Turbokick at least once a week or I get really sad. So I do just about anything to fit that in 🙂

    I hear ya on the adjusting your workout schedule to work with our toddler’s preschool plans. I am currently doing the same thing. I am not training for anything obviously but still like to have a schedule 🙂 THe only good thing for me is that Jerry will be taking her in the mornings and I’ll be picking her up at noon…and the gym is on the way to her school. So I’ll be going to the gym around my normal 10am-ish time 3 days a week before picking her up. The other 2 mornings will be work mornings for me so one of those days will be a rest day, one will be a workout at home day 🙂 But I also take 2 rest days right now. I hope after baby 2 is born I can knock that down to 1 rest day a week.

  43. I think it’s totally okay to do two-a-day to ensure you get the workout you want. I used to always HAVE to go to this kickboxing class but it’s all the way across town. In NYC, that’s a workout in itself. I’m trying to get myself back in the habit of the class.

    I DO NOT run in the dark. I don’t think it’s safe, even in NYC where there are tons of people. It is better to be safe than sorry 🙂

  44. Sarah says:

    I always try and run in the day time. Night runs make me uneasy.. not a fan. I think two-a-days are perfectly wonderful if it works best for you. I like your bondi band!!

  45. Whitney says:

    Negative Ghostwriter, on running in the dark! Girl, I watch too many Lifetime movies while I was on maternity leave. lol Now if my 6’5 husband is running with me, then I will consider it. 🙂

  46. Mac says:

    I love how I feel on two-a-days days, but I don’t like how they take over your day. Even though I don’t like that aspect, today is a two-a-day today for me 🙂 I like to be back in my casa by sundown when I go running. Even though I live in a pretty safe city, I am a paranoid person.

  47. I think it takes time to find the type of training schedule structure that works best for you, and it seems like you are really giving it a lot of thought and doing a great job of being realistic and making sure your plan fits with your lifestyle. I’ve found that my training is always changing both as my life and my body change, and as I learn more about what works for me.
    Running in the summer can be brutal – I tend to go very early or not at all. But a shorter run while bringing water is definitely manageable. And for the days when it’s reallly hot and humid, there is always a fallback of the treadmill.
    Thanks for sharing your plan and thought process!

  48. I just started running in the early morning before work because it has gotten way too hot to run at night (still 95F!!) and I would wait till the kiddos were in bed at 8pm to run! so now, I am up bright and early and I would have never thought I could do it, but it means that much too and I still feel its not cool enough. This morning it was 82F out at 5:30am! My neighborhood is well lit up anyways and its starting to lighten up but since I have done it a couple of times, I am not so hesitant like I used to be.

  49. Julie says:

    I don’t like to run in the dark without my husband, but I’ve been known to leash up one of my big, nasty looking German Shepherds and take them along for the fun. I can’t wait until Bo is big enough to go with me (funny, considering he’s 85 pounds at nine months old – have to wait for a year!). I’m a burpee freak. It works my entire body (I do several variations) I HAVE to do them once a week! On a day when I go burpee crazy – it’s usually 200 or 20 minutes – whatever comes faster.

    • Tina says:

      I did burpees in my workout today. 3 sets of 10 and that was killer for me. 200 burpees?! You are a hero!!!!

  50. hot dang! I can’t run in the heat–but at least they are short quick run!

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