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?