A blog by runners. For runners.

The rules of running twice a day

two-a-day-runs

Running two times per day is typical practice for elite runners. That’s how they can log 70+ miles per week without running long each time. But everyday runners can also benefit from two-a-days. Running twice per day may help:

  • Boost your metabolism. After each run, our resting metabolic rate spikes which help spark weight loss. The more often you run, the more often you receive this benefit.
  • Recover faster between runs. Breaking up your midweek 8-miler into two 4-milers will teach your body how to recover more quickly between runs.
  • Improve your running economy. By running more often, your body may start to require less energy to run long or fast. In other words, running will feel easier.

Still, two-a-days aren’t for everyone. Sometimes the quality of your miles is better than the quantity. If you are injury prone or are a lower mileage runner, running twice a day may not be a good idea. If your only goal is to increase your total weekly mileage, tacking on a few miles to a single run is usually a safer strategy than running twice per day.

If you want to give two-a-days a shot, follow these rules to reduce your risk of injury and burnout:

  • Don’t double up every day. At first, only run twice one or two days per week (but not on back-to-back days to start) and keep the second run short. As you get used to two-a-days, you’ll be able to do them more often and increase distance.
  • Always make one run easy. A tempo run in the morning followed by mile repeats in the evening is the perfect recipe for injury for most runners. Keep one run each day easy so you don’t overdo it. On the same note, don’t run twice on the day of your long run. Your body needs extra recovery time after high mileage workouts.
  • Watch the clock. Ideally, your second run should happen 4-10 hours after your first run – especially when your first workout was a hard run. Running again easy within this time frame will aid in recovery by increasing blood flow to the muscles and flushing out lactic acid.
  • Don’t break up your long run. If you’re training for a marathon, breaking up your 20-miler into two runs likely won’t do you any favors. Most running experts say you should do your long run all in one shot to build endurance, strength, and confidence.
  • Keep an eye on your weekly mileage. Most runners should follow the 10 percent rule – meaning you shouldn’t increase your total weekly mileage by more than 10 percent each week.
  • Pay extra attention to your body’s signals. If you’re too tired to lace up your shoes for a second time, try pool running or biking. You’ll get the same recovery benefits without the pounding.
  • Take a full rest day each week. Take one day completely off from running and other exercise every week. 

Have you tried running twice per day? Does it work for you? I’ve tried a few times, but always end up injured. However, I do well with two workouts a day during triathlon training – as long as they’re both not runs!

Written by Jen Matz.

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