Long ride and long run on the weekends - bad to stress the body that way on back to back days?

Over the past year since I’ve started real, structured training (for swim, bike, and run), I’ve generally planned my long ride on Saturdays and my long run on Sundays. But after some of the recent TR podcasts where they’ve dove deep into different types of training, energy systems, etc, I’ve started to wonder if that approach is a bad idea, and maybe it’s not good to tax the body that way 2 days in a row.

It’s worth me providing some context and some definition for what I mean.
Cycling: Almost every week, I do 2 hard one-hour sessions on the trainer (sometimes trainerroad, sometimes in my triathlon cycling class), and aim for a longer, relatively “easy” ride on the weekends - I try to keep it zone 1 and 2 only. My longer ride is mostly for the purpose of improving my endurance and being comfortable with multiple hours in the saddle. Prior to last year, I didn’t have much/any experience riding more than 1.5-2 hours. For my current long rides, I’ve been focusing more on time, rather on distance, but they usually are between 2-3 hours long, around 25-40 miles. And to be clear, even though these are z1/z2 only, they still tax me. My legs are always feeling very “done” by the end, and I’m always sore the next day.
Running: I typically run 2-3 times per week. Usually 1 short run “off the bike”, right after one of my trainer rides - 2-3 miles at an easy pace. Most weeks I have another shorter (4-6 mile) run that has some higher intensity, e.g. tempo run, intervals, etc. And on the weekend, I like to do a run in the 1-1.5 hour range at an easy pace.

My initial thought in doing both “long” efforts on the weekend is mostly from a time economy perspective - much easier to find the time to fit those in on the weekend. I also thought it made more sense from a training perspective, in that my hard, intense efforts for both running and cycling would be during the week (usually Tues and Thurs), and weekends would be more zone 1 and 2 focused.

But now I’m wondering if it may actually be counter-productive to do 2 longer, endurance-focused efforts on back to back days. Maybe I’m not giving my body time to recover from the Saturday effort, before stressing the body in exactly the same way again on Sunday.

What do you all think?

Speaking from an n=1 perspective, if you’re truly training in Z1/2, your body doesn’t need to “recover” from those efforts. It’s healthy exercise, there is minimal stress, both chronic and acute.

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I would do the run on Saturday and the bike on Sunday. are you overweight? seems like an easy day to have your legs sore. Do you have a power meter on the bike?

TBH i think it’s mostly based off a Mon-Fri work week, but I think it’s important to keep them together for a few reasons. (I’m assuming you’re training for an event here, but if not it’s probably not as big a deal)

I think specificity is an important consideration here- of course a short brick run covers part of that and is probably more specific to the initial ‘Jelly leg’ feeling, but it doesn’t really put you in a position where you’re running with a decent bit of fatigue in your legs, which I feel is more important in determining performance on the day. It might also give you some hints regarding how you execute your bike leg- if you’re already exhausted from the long ride the day before, what can you change to be able to run well off the bike on race day? as others have mentioned you might want to look at pacing, and IMO nutrition is a big one too- I find if I don’t eat enough during/after a long ride it can really knock me around.

Regarding energy systems, I don’t think consecutive z1/2 days are as much of a concern as threshold, v02 etc. The point of z2 is that it can be sustained for large volumes of time without the “diminishing returns” you would expect to see with the higher zones, and regardless adaptations are usually created by extending duration and creating cumulative fatigue. This is particularly relevant if you’re looking at doing longer- distance events- you’re unlikely to do that sort of time in an individual session, so the long bike and run kind of simulate that without the excessive fatigue (and logistical difficulties.) that would be created by a 6-12 hour effort.

There is an argument against it if you’re more prone to running injuries, but my personal stance on that is that if you’re getting injuries whenever you’re fatigued that’s probably a sign you need to take a look at your running mechanics- again, that won’t go away on race day.

If you are an Ironman triathlete this is pretty standard…bike Saturday - run Sunday - did it for 3 months the year I did an Ironman (Saturday 5hr 30 bike/30 min run Sunday 2hr 30min run). That said I think if I was doing it now I would alternate - long ride 6 hrs and a 90 min run next day one week and then 3 hour ride and 2.5 hr run the following weekend.

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As an ex …yes ex Triathlete, I used to train about 12 to 14 sessions a week. Double up most days. Swim Bike. Swim Run. The difficult bit was Bike run… but it paid so much dividend to do that. I organised races at weekends. Run/bike/Bike… And had lots of people turn up.

Getting used to doing a 2- 3 mile run after the bike 25 miles was great.

It also meant if you wanted too do another 5 mile run and that was the training finished for the day. Fuel well stretch well.

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Yeah, that’s part of the problem. Definitely stay in Z1/Z2 on the ride, but legs pretty sore the next day. For example, I did a 40 mi ride yesterday, and the last 10 miles my legs were definitely feeling some sharp tightness in them and I was looking forward to being done. Even though my HR was still well in Zone 1. I think I just need to continue building that endurance. I’ve done 2-2.75 hr rides probably 10 times over the past three months and I’d hoped I would be able to move past that soreness by now, but I’ll still keep plugging away.

I like that alternating strategy. Allows the chance to focus on ride or run a little more each weekend. And the other one, on the opposite weekends.

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Personally I always separate my long ride and long run by a couple of days, though I know many people do it over consecutive days at the weekend and it works for them. My main reason for splitting them up is injury prevention. I’m quite prone to injuries from running so I try and avoid putting unnecessary stress on my body when running, i.e. avoid running on overly tired legs. if you feel your body is fairly robust then you may be ok to do back-to-back days.

I prefer to do my long run on Saturdays - run on slightly fresher legs. I do my long bike with the local group on Sunday, with the occasional brick. Any run injuries I’ve gotten have been from speed work as opposed to long runs.

Its fine and pretty common to do your long sessions on the weekend. Essentially like everything else you just need to build it up slowly over time.

Before lockdown I would do a long swim Saturday am, eat and then do a long run just before lunch. Sunday was long 4hour+ bike rides. Recover Monday and then do the intensity sessions mid week. If you are really keeping these at zone 2 you should be fine as long as you build up the time slowly. Group rides can make this harder than it should be but just pace yourself.