When you started your running journey, you probably never imagined a day when you would feel compelled to run not just once but twice a day. Truthfully, this probably isn’t a training tactic for new runners. However, once you get a little experience under your belt you may find running twice a day beneficial to your training.
Benefits Of Running Twice a Day
The first benefit of running twice a day is it adds mileage and when you are gunning for improvement: mileage matters. For people who really need a rest day or two each week, adding a second workout a couple of days a week can help you achieve both the higher mileage while honoring your rest days.
How Much Time Should Be Between Two-a-Day Workouts
If you’re planning two-a-day workouts, you should have anywhere from 4-10 hours between workouts. This gives your body some time to bounce back. Also, you should consider what the second workout will look like.
If your early workout is a physically taxing one, like speed work or a challenging fartlek, the later run should be a super easy pace run. As in, run so easy you could talk to a training partner the entire time.
Makes Mid-Week High Miles Feel Easier
If you’re training for a distance run, like a marathon or ultra-marathon, you will have higher distance midweek runs. These can feel intimidating both from a physical standpoint and when looking at scheduling. Here is one-way doubles can really help you.
If you’re looking to run longer, dividing the run into two segments can be easier both on your body and your calendar. That workout you love before heading into work still gets done, yet you can also have a brain cleaning easy run early evening when it’s cool and quiet outside.
What Happens If I Run Twice a Day?
Running twice a day has many benefits. First, it will help you to build fitness. Also, if your first workout is a challenging one, a second and easier run later in the day can assist in recovery. You become more efficient at recovering with this tool.
Another benefit is that it makes longer training runs more manageable, as mentioned previously.
Splitting your runs into two segments can also put considerably less stress on your body than getting it all done in one workout. That could result in getting you to the finish line in a better position to end the race healthy.
As With Everything, There Are Disadvantages
Runs varying from 60 to 90 minutes in length are excellent for building up your aerobic endurance. If you are splitting what would have been a 90 minute run into two, 45-minute sessions, you won’t reap the same benefits.
If you are training for a distance event, your time on feet is very important. If you run 10-minute miles, for example, you will be on your feet for a long time during a marathon. For this reason, splitting your weekly long run into two sessions means you are not getting acclimated to what you will experience on race day.
While it’s okay to split into two runs for workouts, you should not do it on the regular for your weekly long run.
Also, splitting the workout could leave you feeling mentally fatigued. Why? Because you are now trying to fit two workouts into your life instead of just one. While for some people the scheduling seems easier, for others it makes it feel harder or more stressful. This is why running and scheduling workouts can be so deeply personal.
Are Doubles Good For All Runners?
Most elites do pull doubles. Of course, elite runners have very high and lofty goals for themselves. The question is: are doubles good for us mere mortals?
The answer is that anyone can use doubles as a workout tool. While many coaches think doubles are not worth your effort unless you are dipping into high mileage, others adamantly disagree.
A popular school of thought is that if you aren’t running at a pretty good clip, the miles don’t count. Some coaches call these easy miles junk miles. If you are hoping to debunk this theory, it’s pretty easy. Simply peek inside the training log of an elite. They all have very, very easy runs as part of their regiment. And when we say easy, we mean super easy.
An elite marathoner who averages sub-five minute miles for the 26.2 may run as slowly as an 8:30 pace for easy recovery runs. That’s like a 10-minute miler slowing down to 13s or 14s. Most of us feel like that’s a waste of our time. The professional coaching world would tell you that you’re wrong.
How Many Times a Day Can You Run?
Elite Kenyans often do triples as they get deep into their workout regiment. Their day might start with an easy effort at 6:00 a.m. Then, they would do their most challenging workout of the day just a few hours later, around 10:00 a.m.
Since these are professional athletes we are talking about, then they give fueling and resting some serious time and consideration. These athletes will often come back to another easy run around suppertime.
While most of us aren’t professional athletes, there are other people who do run multiple times a day. Individuals who offer in-person coaching often run with every athlete they coach, unless they are completing track workouts.
These coaches might run as many as five or six times in a day. Now the key to this is that for most of those miles, the coach is nowhere near his or her race paces. While these runs build miles and add time on feet, they don’t tax the coach from a cardiovascular perspective.
Speaking to these people proves that you can run multiple times each day. Now the question is: should you?
Honestly, unless you have a reason to run that many times a day, such as a paycheck, you probably shouldn’t bother. Racking up this volume of mileage without the experience or knowledge could result in you getting injured.
So.. Should I Or Shouldn’t I?
First, that’s a very important question that really is individual to your body and your training. It certainly is safe to run twice a day, as long as you aren’t super new to running.
Signs You Might Enjoy Running Twice a Day:
✓ If you love a sunrise run but also enjoy clearing your brain at the end of the day.
✓ If you are hoping to add mileage to your weekly mileage.
✓ If you try running twice in a day once each week, and your body responds positively to it.
✓ If you seem to recover well during your training cycle.
✓ If you are training with a friend who is considerably slower than you, then you can do your quality workout in the morning and train with your buddy later in the day.
✓ If you coach and love to run with the athletes. Many junior and senior high school coaches do two runs: one for their own training and one with their athletes.
Basically, the short answer is: if you think you might enjoy or benefit from doubles, give it a try!