Double Thresholds and other such workouts

The “double threshold” workout is taking over the world! From Jakob Ingebrigtsen to all kinds of runners in Flagstaff, they are being applied with a lot of success.

As always happens, with success comes emulation. Other pros and collegiate runners have already picked up on these workouts and they are filtering down through to high school and amateur adult runners.

Is this a good idea, though?

It sounds like a great idea, right? Emulate the best in the world to be your best. In general, I like the idea but we do need to think about the context in which these workouts are done.

The double threshold workout is a very demanding workout (actually pair of workouts) that needs a lot of training capacity and very precise execution. In fact, many runners who use this kind of training actually take lactate tests in the middle of their workouts to ensure they are in the proper range.

Before thinking of trying this workout, I suggest two questions. If you can answer yes to both of these, give it a shot. I do believe it’s a good workout. In fact, I remember doing things like this with a lot of success around 20 years ago (yes, what’s old is new again).

Do you have the capacity for two hard workouts in one day? Have you been doing two runs a day and handling them well? If you haven’t been doing two easy runs a day, you’re probably not ready for two hard runs a day. Save these workouts for those who have built up to it. Most runners don’t have the capacity for such a demanding training day.

Do you have the discipline to do this the right way? Many people don’t. Even the best test mid-workout to make sure they aren’t running too hard. If you go too hard, as demanding as this workout is, you can put yourself in a big hole. You can end up taking so much time to recover from the day that you will miss other workouts, in the end decreasing the total amount and quality of training you are getting in.

I’m not saying that these days are bad or that nobody should use them. What I am saying for these workouts or anything like them is that you need to consider the full context. They obviously work for the people who are using them but why? Do those principles apply to you also? If so, wonderful, try them out. If they don’t, consider the potential reward and risk of implementing them before diving right in. In this case, there is potential reward but the potential risk unless you have a very high training capacity and are either very disciplined or have the right tools to keep yourself honest is extremely high.

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