Should You Run Twice Per Day

By Peter Pfitzinger |

Runners often start running twice per day before weekly mileage warrants it. Doing “doubles” sounds like serious training, so it must be better preparation. In specific situations, this is true. Most runners, however, should resist the urge to switch from single runs to doubles as training mileage increases. Let’s take a look at when double workouts are and are not beneficial, and how to add doubles to your training program.

A basic principle to follow is to not do double workouts until you have maximized the amount you can handle in single workouts. Staying with longer single runs builds endurance, while shorter doubles allow you to train at a faster pace. Double runs can also be beneficial in speeding recovery. Two short runs will help you recover more quickly than one longer run.

The weekly mileage at which you should add double workouts to your training schedule depends on the distance you race (see table below). The longer the race, the more your training should focus on endurance-based adaptations such as depleting your glycogen reserves to provide a stimulus for your body to store more glycogen, and training your muscles to utilize more fat at a given speed. Logically, you will provide a greater stimulus for these adaptations through a single 12 mile run than by doing a 7 mile and a 5 mile run at the same pace.

As shown in the table, if you are preparing for a marathon and are running less than 75 miles per week, then you should not be running doubles. After you schedule your long run and a mid-week medium long run, there is really no reason to double to get in the remaining miles. Once your marathon training calls for more than 75 miles per week, however, there is a definite role for double workouts in your program.

The shorter the race that you are preparing for, the lower the mileage at which you should add double workouts. If you are preparing to race 5 km, for example, your interval workout is the most important training session of the week, and you will need to keep your legs fresh. You will also want to maintain a faster pace during some of your normal training runs, which is accomplished more easily during two short runs than one longer run.

Read more on how to introduce double runs into your training.



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