I crawled out of bed feeling a little less-achy than I crawled into it the evening before. I really like when that happens on my "rest" day. I got just enough over the previous few days that the one-to-ten scale of "how bad am I hurting" was only a two, and not in a place I was used to feeling pain. So I decided to take a little "hair of the dog."
Not "that" "hair of the dog," but a very brief aerobic workout. Just a little "something-something" to make me feel less guilty about doing "nothing."
The problem, I've learned, is that any real increase in training volume has to happen in a very gradual and incremental manner. Sure, I'm only doing 35 miles a week, but I need to be up to forty about three weeks from now. With some speed training, too. Which means stretching out three or four of my weekly runs beyond sixty minutes.
What to do? My favorite (shaded) running route is on the opposite side of town; once I get near home after work I'm not inclined to go out far. That leaves me the option of running on a shorter loop a few miles away or indoors on a treadmill. Weather conditions being the way they have been - infernal or electrical - the treadmill has been my go-to. I'm suicidal only one or two mornings a week; even then the morning run is as early as practicable.
Rare is the soul who can stand a treadmill for longer than sixty minutes. Even the best gyms aren't air-conditioned well enough to keep the sweat at bay; there's going to be the need to "stop and mop" if you want to go longer. What's a driven athlete to do when getting up at three o'clock in the morning is beyond unsatisfactory?
How about splitting the workout?
The time of day you best perform - and most runners who deal with time constraints have figured it out - is probably going to be the best time to do the "main" workout. I once was blessed with the ability to be one of those "doesn't matter what time of the day" folks, but that had a lot to do with being very single, having a flexible work schedule and only one graduate school class. Like Friedrich Nietzsche said "when one has much to put into them, the day has a hundred pockets." Now it's a different story. I can get the quality workout in the evening and get just enough in during the early morning hours (should I decide to do so) that I'm almost not dripping after the shower while rushing out the door to the car, cup of coffee in hand.
It might be the best strategy for guys who have physical or stand-on-your-feet-all-day jobs, but the sedentary desk worker can benefit from that little extra piece of workout 12 hours or so to the opposite of the main workout. I wouldn't recommend splitting it up evenly into two halves unless it's during those seasons when the weather conditions are closer to arbitrary and capricious. That way if the spit hits the fan you haven't lost much beyond half that day's workout.
The bad news would be that dirty workout clothes multiply at an astounding clip. And the shoes which need to dry. Work out too hard on one workout and you run the risk of going into the second piece incompletely recovered...risk of injury awaits. This strategy would merit making certain all efforts are easy, vary between hard and easy, or vary between running and low-impact activities like the elliptical trainer or spinning bike, swimming or bicycling, rowing machine, and so on. Let your conscience be your guide.
Imagination and ingenuity, as well as self-knowledge, can help you figure out how to get those little extra bits of training volume in without doing damage to your schedule or your body.