Running twice a day might sound obsessive to some, but those who regularly run doubles know just how advantageous it can be. Runners of every ability level can benefit from running twice a day – whether you’re simply trying to lose weight or hoping to increase speed or endurance.
What is running double?
Running double simply refers to running twice a day. Many runners use the terms running doubles or running two-a-days in their training to reference the days where they have two runs scheduled.
Running twice a day can be incorporated into beginner training plans as well as more advanced training. The act of running two times within a 24 hour period may sound a bit strange or intimidating at first, but once you start running doubles on a regular basis, most will tell you that it actually feels easier than a consolidated run.
Is running twice a day good for you?
When most runners see two runs in a single day, they usually question the point. Finding time to fit in one run feels challenging enough, let alone two.
Benefits of Running Twice a Day
There are numerous benefits to running twice a day, and each of which can be experienced regardless of your current fitness level. Beginners and seasoned runners alike can reap the benefits of running doubles, as long as they are implemented correctly. Check out the four main benefits of running two-a-days.
Perhaps the most surprising is that running double actually helps improve your recovery.
It might initially sound counterintuitive – the fact that running twice, as opposed to once, means you’ll recover better – but science has proven that a second run enhances your body’s recovery process.
A second run increases blood flow, allowing more blood to circulate to the muscles and helping flush out lactic acid and waste products that may have accumulated during the first run. The key, however, to successfully using two runs a day to improve recovery, is keeping the second run easy.
Supports optimal weight loss.
In addition, running twice a day can often help improve weight loss, as the double run causes your resting metabolic rate to spike twice.
Boosts overall mileage.
Another benefit is that running doubles makes it easier to increase your overall mileage. For many, it is easier to fit in two 4 mile runs than it is to find time for a full 8 mile run in the middle of the week. If you’re a beginner trying to increase your mileage, it might be easier to run a shorter run in the morning and then head out for a second run after you’ve gotten a bit of a break.
Helps improve speed.
A final benefit of running twice a day is that most runners find it easier to push the pace when their run is split up into two shorter runs. Maintaining a challenging pace is much easier for a shorter duration of time, and running double allows you to break a run into half.
Running Doubles: How to Try Running Twice a Day
If you’re sold on the benefits and are ready for your first running two-a-day, here’s what you’ll need to know to successfully incorporate doubles in your training.
When to Run Twice a Day
The key to running double without increasing your risk of injury or burnout is learning the optimal time to complete a second run. The day of your double run, you’ll want to be sure there is enough space in between each run. Aim to complete your second run about 4-10 hours after your first.
4 hours allows your body enough time to rest after the first run, while a break of 10 hours or less ensures that you’ll complete your second run during the recovery window for your first.
When it comes to deciding when to include running twice a day in your training plan, the safest place to start is to find the days that you’d like to boost your total miles, need extra recovery, or have more miles scheduled than you have time for.
- To add a second run in addition to what is already scheduled, try adding a short, 20-40 minute run on an easy run day.
- When using the double run for extra recovery, add a short, easy effort of 30 minutes or less on the day of a speed workout.
- When breaking a longer run into two, find your longest mid-week run and break it into two runs in the same day.
Sometimes, runners want the benefits of running twice a day but are physically unable to run a second time, for whatever reason. If this is the case, try pool running or using the elliptical on the same day as a run. These types of activities are similar to running, and will provide some of the same benefits as running doubles.
Running Double to Increase Speed
Running twice a day can be an effective strategy to help increase speed and achieve a PR at your next race. To do so, you’ll want to schedule your double runs on a speed day.
Running Double to Increase Endurance
Running twice a day can also be an effective strategy to help improve endurance. To do so, you’ll want to schedule your double runs on the day of a mid-distance run at moderate effort. Avoid running again after easy runs or your hardest efforts, and instead aim for a moderately challenging run in between.
Try adding another run after a morning mid-distance run. This run should be your second longest training run of the week, after the long run. Add a second run of about ¼ to ½ the length of the first at an easy effort.
Running Twice a Day to Lose Weight
Many runners also find success with running twice a day to boost their weight loss. Adding a second run any day of the week can provide healthy benefits, so choose a day that best suits your abilities.
If you are a beginner runner, try adding a second short, easy run after a morning easy run. If you’re more advanced, add a second run after a morning speed session or interval workout.
Running twice a day doesn’t have to involve tons of effort. A short, simple run completed at the end of the day after running in the morning provides a great deal of benefit.
Try running doubles on a day when you have some extra time in the afternoon or evening and see how your body responds. Break down that longer mid-week run into two shorter runs and you might find it becomes much more manageable.
However you choose to fit run two-a-days, be sure to plan ahead, listen to your body, and adjust as you go.