Known as running doubles, heading out for a run twice a day is a common training tactic among elites, helping them easily log the big miles and boost their running recovery. But everyday runners can benefit from it too; so when should you do it and how does it work?
The Benefits of Running Doubles
- Body benefits - Doubling up on your runs puts your body in a glycogen-depleted state. As your body adapts to this new state it burns more fat and functions more economically by making use of your glycogen stores more efficiently, delaying fatigue and speeding up your recovery so you get fitter faster.
- Cumulative mileage - Doubling up once a week can give your total mileage a boost and help your body run further, for longer.
- Efficient recovery - Mixing your hard training sessions with short less strenuous runs will help increase blood flow to the active muscles, challenging and teaching your body to recover faster. If you can’t bear running again the same day as intervals or threshold, try a 30-minute cross-training session instead.
The Downsides to Running Doubles
- Recovery - Doubling up on run days can be tiring so make sure you rest completely on your down days to prevent overtraining and fatigue.
- Aerobic endurance - If you're a beginner or intermediate runner - if you haven’t been running 50+ miles a week consistently for 3- 5 years – then the majority of your running improvement is going to come from increasing your aerobic endurance by increasing your runs of around 60-90 minutes. Running doubles is often two shorter runs of around 30-45 minutes, which while beneficial, is less effective for enhancing your fitness.
- Time consuming - Doubles require time and dedication. Although it sometimes seems easier to split a run into one in the morning and one in the evening, you still need to factor in proper fuelling, post-run recovery, ensuring you get enough sleep, as well as showering and changing time.
- Running twice a day means you’re burning more calories and stimulating your metabolism more often. Make sure you fuel your runs properly and eat enough to recover, replenishing the essential nutrients you need.
- If you’re prone to injury, doubles probably aren’t for you. Make sure you get your gait analysed to help reduce your risk of injury, whatever your running training distance.
- Keep track of your weekly mileage. You should always follow the 10% rule, even when running doubles, only increasing your total weekly mileage by up to 10% each week.