Splitting Up Workouts

How do you feel about splitting up workouts? Let me clarify a bit.  If you workout twice a day (some people do), I’m not talking about hitting a spin class in the AM and some yoga in the PM.

What I mean by splitting up a workout is, say you had to run 5 miles today.  You did 2.5 in the AM and 2.5 in the PM, or however you want to split it.  Or maybe you do two workout DVDs and decided to split that up, one in the morning and one in the evening.

Do you consider splitting the workout like that, still as an intense or challenging workout?  Or do you think splitting it up isn’t quite as challenging?

I have mixed feelings on it.  On the one hand, I don’t think splitting up a run is very beneficial, especially if it’s part of a training program.  If you have to run 5 miles that day (or 8, or 10 or whatever), I think it should be done in one shot.  You can’t really build endurance or strength by splitting the mileage.  At the end of the day you only end up with a number and not the experience that goes along with it.

Workout DVDs? I’m not sure.  And this is what prompted the discussion.  This morning I did an arm and leg workout with Jackie.  I wanted to do Yoga Meltdown after that but I didn’t have time.  I plan on doing it this evening before I settle down for the night.  Am I still getting a challenging workout in today?  I think so though I admit that I don’t really like splitting it up!

I would rather have it all over and done with! However we have to pick and choose our battles right? I needed extra sleep this morning, therefore my workouts have to get split up.  I’m okay with it though it’s not really my preference.

What are your thoughts on splitting up workouts? Do you do it? Do you try to avoid it? I’m curious to know other people’s views on the topic.

9 thoughts on “Splitting Up Workouts

  1. Melissa says:

    I think the idea of having two workouts is excellent if you’re trying to lose weight–this has been found to be very beneficial for people who want to lose.

    However, I don’t see the point in it with distance running. Part of the objective, and yes, the thrill (!) of running long-distance is to do just that: to run, and keep running, the total distance.

    That said, I have a friend who is training for a marathon. He broke up the 26.2 miles into two separate days this weekend. He wants to meld them all into one run. There is probably some wisdom behind this that I have not yet learned–because I haven’t trained for a marathon. I was intrigued by it.

  2. Heidi says:

    Ironically, I am splitting up my workouts today. :) I have gotten out of the habit of working out in the morning, and want to get back into it. I was planning to get up early to do a workout video, but overslept. So I chose to get up and do a shorter video. Then tonight I’ll add some extra free weight work to complete the workout. I generally don’t like to split up a particular video, but I will break up a workout into shorter segments so I can get it done (and I think it can still be a challenging workout).

    However, I don’t like to split up runs. I did that once or twice while training for the half (both times the runs were interrupted by a downpour/thunderstorm). When I went our for the second half of the run, my legs were not happy about it. Plus I agree with you that doing two shorter runs is not the same as one longer run.

  3. I don’t usually split up workouts-unless I’m tri training & then I always do one workout in the morning & the 2nd after work. (otherwise I’d be waking up at 3am to fit it all in before work!)

    I have heard that for long distance runners w/ scheduling conflicts, it’s “ok” to split up a long run as long as you DON’T SLEEP between sessions. I guess if you sleep between them your body starts to recover, but if you don’t, your legs still “feel” as they would if you pumped out the miles in one sitting.

    I say, as long as you’re getting in whatever workout is best for you, do it when it fits! if that means getting it all done before everyone else gets up, so be it. If you need to split it up, that’s fine too. Just find what works for you!

  4. I think it’s fine to split up workouts assuming they are different workouts, like weights and cardio or even weights using different parts of the body. In some cases it may even be better because you may be “fresher” for the second workout and won’t burn out or start slacking because you are ready to be done with a super-long workout. I can’t imagine there’s much benefit in splitting runs, unless you were doing distance and then sprints or something else.

  5. I agree on the runs – if you are trying to follow a plan you should stick to it. I had a friend ask me if he could run 10 miles or his 20 in the morning in 10 in the evening. Well yeah, but you can’t do that during the marathon!

    I split yoga/cross/strength almost all the time though. Maybe it’s better to get your heart rate up multiple times a day?

  6. I think splitting up runs is fine as long as its not a tempo run or a long run. I prefer to get things done at once too, but sometimes scheduling is tough.

    BTW, I just read about your dog bite situation. You are so brave and rational. I’m glad you’re okay. The good news is now you can be in my super cool dog bite/dog lover club. Almost lost my left eye when I was 4. Still have a pretty rockin scar.

  7. I agree with you on the runs. However, if you only have so much time you gotta do what you gotta do. I’d just run each run a little harder than if I would have run the full amount at one time. Does that make sense?
    Whatever works I say!! No matter what, at least you’re out there exercising! :)

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