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Running Two Times A Day - Can It Work For You?

Running Two Times A Day - Can It Work For You? by bmoore


Can running two times a day (Doubles)  help improve your performance and build miles?

As I look toward training for a fall race I started doing some research into what it takes to build miles through running doubles rather than doing one or two long runs per week.

All the research seems to suggest that running doubles is definitely an alternative only if you are putting in 50 - 60 miles per week, or you have maxed out the amount of mileage you can do in a single workout and:

  •  You are struggling to find the time to get your long runs completed or maintain weekly mileage.

Running several Double workouts a week allows you to get more mileage in on a consistent basis. For some schedules it can be easier to log two 10-milers than a 20-miler.

  • You find yourself in a weight-loss plateau

Running 2 times daily increase calorie burn. If you think about it, it makes sense – it takes a couple of hours after you run for your metabolism to return to normal. Do that twice a day and you’re enjoying the benefit of two calorie-burning workouts – plus double the post-run boost.

Consistent high mileage will boost your running economy – the amount of energy you require to run fast.

Like all changes in your training, splitting your workouts into 2 sessions should be approached slowly and with some planning.


To Start:

According to distance coach  Pete Pfitzinger, you should start adding doubles to your runs in the following order:

1)     Long interval or speed workouts

2)     Tempo runs

3)     Races of 10K or less

4)     Recovery runs

5)     Medium long runs

A little planning is key. For example, an easy run in the morning will prepare you for a tougher interval workout in the evening. Once your training schedule calls for “recovery” days of 8 miles or more, switch those easy days to doubles (2 X 4 instead on one 8 miler). DO NOT do a second run on the same day you are doing your weekly long run. It will only slow down your recovery and increase your potential for injury.

To get started, move slowly into running double workouts. Start by doubling up just twice a week. Ed Eyestone, writing for Runners World suggests that you initially add an extra workout of as little as 20 minutes, initially dropping the length of that day’s main workout by 10 or 15 minutes. Then, as things get easier, return the main workout to its original level and extend the easier workout to 40 minutes. Double up on as many days as you want says Eyestone, but be sure to stay at each stage at least two weeks before adding more miles.

The Importance of Recovery

If you’re going to run Doubles, recovery is especially important. Allow at least 4 hours between workouts and be sure to rehydrate and consume 500 calories within 30 minutes of finishing each session.


Suggested Workouts

Here are several suggested Doubles workouts from Ed Eyestone.


Extra Aerobic work:

AM: 3 to 4 easy aerobic base pace / PM: Intervals


Improvement to Running Economy, Weekly Mileage Boost:

AM: 4 to 5 miles easy aerobic pace / PM: 4 to 8 miles conversational pace


Increased Blood Flow to Muscles, Speeds Recovery

AM: 5K or 10K race / PM: 2-3 miles conversational pace


After trolling the runners’ forums and doing the research it looks like there are some people who will periodically break up their longer run days into two workouts – simply for the convenience and especially when doing long runs for marathon training. But it seems that Doubles are best incorporated into the schedules of serious competitive marathoners, ultra-marathoners, or cross-country runners.

In other words, the best way for most of us to train distance is to run distance – in a single session.

What do you think? Have you ever run a Doubles schedule? 

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Posted by: bmoore on Jul 22, 2011 | Comments: 7 | Visits: 1745 | Posted in: Train


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Traxee user IntlAssnWomenRunners Good point! A runner who has a predisposition to injury requires a longer, more gradual ramp up in training and more scheduled rest time than her less frequently injured counterpart. Is this an argument for getting a personal coach? If the shoe fits…
Posted by: IntlAssnWomenRunners on Jul 27, 2011 at 06:40 PM
Traxee user bmoore This makes sense to me…and all the more reason to work with a personalized training schedule that helps meet your individual goals. The other thing, I think, is that for runners with a history of injury - these factors have to be taken into account when working a particular training cycle. this an argument for getting a personal coach LOL?
Posted by: bmoore on Jul 27, 2011 at 06:17 PM
Traxee user IntlAssnWomenRunners You hit the nail on the head on both counts! Younger runners can tolerate a much heavier workload than mature runners because they require far less recovery time than us. It would be counterproductive for most mature non-elite runners to run doubles or to exceed 50 miles per week. We have to train smarter and more efficiently, with LOTS of built-in rest. That’s why many mature runners run personal bests on reduced mileage and running frequency (please see the Traxee July 6th post “Running Your Personal Best on Three Days per Week”). Incidentally, the generic, cookie-cutter, “one training plan fits all” training schedules that many runners read in a magazine or download from the Internet are a major contributor to injury among middle-aged runners! A 50 year old can’t train with the same frequency as a 20 year old. However, these schedules do not differentiate. Everyone follows the same plan, with the mature runner often ending up injured.
Posted by: IntlAssnWomenRunners on Jul 27, 2011 at 05:43 PM
Traxee user bmoore Mmm… it looks like doubles training is used frequently with high school and cross-country runners as part of their training. Is this increased risk of injury from doing doubles lower in younger runners…or are you saying that unless you are truly a competitive runner, you shouldn't do them?
Posted by: bmoore on Jul 27, 2011 at 07:45 AM
Traxee user IntlAssnWomenRunners As a veteran women’s running coach, I advise against running doubles, due to the dramatic increased risk of injury. Serious non-elite runners (the vast majority of us) can run their personal best marathons running three days a week, one long run every 2-3 weeks, never exceeding 45 miles per week (running more than 40 miles per week only during the peak of your training). Of course, half-marathon training requires less weekly mileage. Incorporating speed workouts into one of your three weekly runs is a far more efficient way to lose weight and improve your speed than running doubles, without incurring the same injury risk.
Posted by: IntlAssnWomenRunners on Jul 26, 2011 at 07:22 PM
Traxee user bmoore @runner4life - let me know how it goes with your weight loss on this. I am actually needing to lose a few pounds myself at this point and I'm going to start easy into Doubles next week - first one day a week, then 2…gradually. I'm anxious to see what results I get.
Posted by: bmoore on Jul 24, 2011 at 04:03 PM
Traxee user runner4life going to start running twice a day....i need to work on pace, and get my weight back down....hate weighing over 120...i'm at 123 right now...want to get down to 115, i feel better at that weight and my running is better.....thank you for the info.
Posted by: runner4life on Jul 24, 2011 at 07:22 AM
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