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Cross Training For Runners

Running Doubles 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Running Twice A Day

10 Mins read

Are you ready to take your training to new heights? Well, I’ve got an exciting proposition for you: running twice a day.

I know, I know, finding time for even one run can be a challenge, let alone squeezing in two.

But here’s the truth: double runs, or running twice a day, isn’t just reserved for elite athletes who eat, sleep, and breathe running. In fact, with the right approach, running doubles can be a game-changer for anyone looking to up their running game.

However, while there are potential benefits to be gained from incorporating double runs into a training routine, it is important to consider the potential drawbacks and individual factors that can influence its effectiveness.

In this comprehensive guide on running doubles, we’ll provide you with all the tools, tips, and insights you need to make the most of this training technique. I’ll ensure you avoid burnout and injury while reaping the incredible benefits. So, buckle up and get ready to discover the world of running twice a day.

The Power of Running Twice a Day

Let’s face it, finding time for even a single run can be a challenge for most people. So the idea of running twice a day might seem like a distant dream reserved only for elite athletes. But here’s the truth: double runs, or running twice a day, can actually be a game-changer for runners of all levels if approached correctly.

Picture this: you’re training for a long-distance race or striving to push your limits to new heights. Your weekly mileage and ambitious goals seem impossible to achieve given your jam-packed schedule. Enter double runs. Breaking your runs into two separate sessions might just be the key to conquering those challenges while balancing your everyday responsibilities.

And if you’re setting your sights on ultra-distance races, running twice a day becomes not just a preference but a necessity. It helps your body adapt to the grueling demands of spending prolonged periods on your feet, ensuring you’re ready to conquer the distance when race day arrives.

But even if you’re not aiming for specific goals, splitting your runs into two sessions can work wonders for your running technique. As fatigue sets in during long runs, your form may start to crumble, increasing the risk of injuries. By incorporating double runs, you give yourself a chance to maintain proper form and reduce the likelihood of those nagging pains that can hamper your progress.

Research suggests that the benefits of double runs extend beyond elite runners. Even if you consider yourself an average running enthusiast, adding an extra session to your day can enhance your endurance, boost fat burning, and improve overall fitness. However, it’s important to tread carefully, as running twice a day also comes with an increased risk of injury. It’s a double-edged sword that demands smart planning and careful execution.

When it comes to elite runners, running doubles are practically a part of their daily routine. Even if they don’t run twice every day, they often incorporate a second cardiovascular workout to enhance their endurance, aerobic capacity, overall fitness and delay the onset of fatigue.

How To Run Doubles

So, you’ve decided to take on the challenge of running twice a day. Bravo! But hold your horses—running doubles is not as simple as lacing up your shoes and hitting the pavement twice in one day.

It requires a strategic approach to maximize the benefits while minimizing the risk of overexertion.

Let’s get to it.

Recovery Is The Name Of The Game

First and foremost, your main objective should be prioritizing recovery. Giving yourself ample time between runs is key to ensuring your body can recharge and rebuild.

Here’s a suggested game plan: start by incorporating a second session into your day, focusing on a quality workout that pushes your limits, such as threshold or interval training.

This high-intensity session sets the stage for growth and improvement. Then, the second run should be easy and can be performed either before or after the intense session—preferably after.

How Far?

Now, here’s the secret ingredient—don’t obsess over how far or fast you’re going during the easy run. Instead, maintain an easy conversational pace to reap the maximum benefits of this recovery session.

Aim to space the two runs by approximately six to eight hours, with a minimum of five hours between them. Pushing the time frame below four hours might not allow your body sufficient recovery time, which is less than ideal.

But Are You Ready For Double Runs?

Let’s talk about a crucial factor: readiness. If you’re a beginner runner or currently out of shape, double runs may not be the best idea for you—at least not yet. Running once a day is enough of a challenge for your body during the early stages. Adding extra stress by completing two runs could potentially do more harm than good. I want you to progress steadily without risking injury or burnout.

However, if you’re in excellent shape and eager to take things to the next level, double runs can be a valuable tool in your arsenal. They provide an opportunity to challenge yourself, enhance your performance, and unlock new levels of endurance.

Let’s dive deeper into the science behind running doubles. When you log miles twice a day, you’re effectively reducing the time frame between runs. Over time, this trains your body to recover more efficiently.


Picture mitochondria as the powerhouses of your cells—they generate the majority of the chemical energy needed to fuel the biochemical reactions taking place within your body. By running doubles, you’re stimulating your mitochondria to work overtime, becoming more efficient at supplying energy to support your running endeavors.

But there’s more to it. Training multiple times per day also increases enzyme activity. Enzymes, those unsung heroes found within our bodies, speed up the rate of chemical reactions necessary for our survival. They play vital roles in muscle development, food digestion, waste disposal, and toxin elimination.

So, by engaging in double runs, you’re not only honing your physical performance but also optimizing the intricate workings of your body’s biochemical machinery.

The Benefits of Running Twice A Day

If you’re a runner seeking to take your performance to new heights, then running twice a day might just be the secret ingredient you’ve been searching for.

Anything you can do to increase your training load could contribute to your overall improvement, and running doubles offers a multitude of advantages that are bound to leave you in awe.

Increase Weekly Mileage 

Let’s start with the most apparent benefit—increased weekly mileage. Whether you’re running for stress relief or gearing up for your next race, running doubles allows you to rack up those miles, especially on days when your schedule is tight, and a single run won’t suffice.

It’s the perfect solution for maximizing your training output without sacrificing rest days or compromising on your current runs.

By adding a second run a couple of days a week, you can effortlessly squeeze in those extra miles without having to extend the duration of your current runs. It’s like finding a hidden path that leads to a treasure trove of mileage gains.

Improved Performance

Running doubles can have a profound impact on your overall running capabilities. While it’s true that not all athletes respond equally to this training method, there’s a fascinating phenomenon at play: muscle adaptation.

When you consistently run twice a day, your muscles have the opportunity to adapt and become more efficient, leading to enhanced performance.

It’s like your muscles are receiving an upgrade, equipping you with greater strength, endurance, and speed.

Research even suggests that increased training can stimulate the release of growth hormones, further contributing to your overall gains.

Improved Cardiovascular Health

Running regularly is known to improve cardiovascular fitness, and when you engage in double runs, you’re giving your heart an extra boost. Think of it as a turbocharger for your cardiovascular system. The miles you log twice a day will undoubtedly enhance your cardiovascular health, leaving you feeling energized and ready to conquer new running milestones.

Boosted Calorie Burn

Are you also on a mission to shed a few pounds or achieve your weight loss goals? Running doubles can be your secret weapon. By performing two workouts in a single day, you significantly increase the number of calories you burn.

It’s like turning up the heat on your weight loss efforts. But remember, pairing your miles with a balanced and nutritious diet is crucial to reap the full benefits and achieve sustainable weight loss.

Increased Training Benefits

Picture this: you lace up your running shoes, step out into the world, and embark on a journey that pushes your body to new limits.

The exhilarating feeling of running not just once but twice a day is like embarking on a daring adventure, where your body and mind are about to witness remarkable transformations.

Train in a Depleted State

One of the key advantages of running twice per day is the incredible impact it has on your body’s glycogen levels. Let me break it down for you. When you engage in double runs, your body enters a glycogen-depleted state.

Now, you might be wondering, what’s the big deal? Well, this magical state of glycogen depletion actually triggers a cascade of training adaptations within your body, especially if you’re training for a grueling endurance event like a marathon. But hey, don’t just take my word for it.

Research has shown that when you train twice per day, not only does your glycogen content increase, but your enzyme activity and fat oxidation also get a significant boost. In other words, you’re getting fitter faster. And who doesn’t want that?

Improved Body Response

Running twice a day not only puts your body in a glycogen-depleted state but also improves your body’s response to training. By challenging your endurance and recovery systems with the extra load, you’re actually training your body to respond faster and adapt more effectively. It’s like fine-tuning a well-oiled machine, where every part works harmoniously to propel you forward.

Better Recovery

When you engage in double runs, you’re intentionally reducing the time between sessions, forcing your body to bounce back faster. It’s like a dance between exertion and rejuvenation, where you optimize your body’s recovery abilities. And let me tell you, the faster you can recover, the better off you’ll be.

The Downsides Of Running Twice A Day

Let’s face it—running twice a day isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. As enticing as the benefits may be, there are some downsides that we need to address.

So, let’s dive into the realities of running doubles.

Lack of Recovery

First and foremost, we need to talk about the importance of recovery. Running twice a day can be exhilarating, but it can also be exhausting if you neglect to give your body ample time to rest and rejuvenate. Remember, rest days are not to be taken lightly. They are sacred opportunities to prevent fatigue and overtraining.

Increased injury Risk

It’s no secret that as you increase your mileage, you also increase your chances of encountering pesky injuries along the way. The more frequently you pound the pavement, the more vulnerable you become to overuse injuries or unfortunate twists and sprains. It’s like walking a tightrope between pushing your limits and safeguarding your body.

So, listen to your body’s cues, be mindful of any warning signs, and don’t be afraid to seek professional advice if needed. Remember, an injury can set you back, but a smart approach to training will keep you moving forward.

More Fatigue

The ever-present companion of running—fatigue. Yes, running is a demanding activity that places significant stress on your body. While this stress can trigger marvelous physical adaptations, introducing too much at once can lead to trouble. Overtraining is a real concern, my friend.

It can wreak havoc on your neuromuscular system, increase your risk of injury, suppress your immune system, disrupt your sleep patterns, and even mess with your hormonal balance.

So, be mindful of the signs of fatigue, prioritize rest and recovery, and find the delicate balance that allows you to thrive.

Aerobic Endurance

When it comes to building aerobic endurance, there’s a strategic approach to consider.

As a beginner runner, the most efficient way to enhance your endurance is by increasing the duration of your long runs to around 60 to 90 minutes.

These sustained efforts will work wonders for building your stamina. However, logging two shorter sessions of approximately 30 to 40 minutes, while beneficial in their own right, may not be as efficient for improving your endurance.

It’s like choosing between taking the scenic route or the expressway to your destination. Both have their merits, but it’s important to align your training approach with your goals.

Running Twice A Day – The Step-By-Step Guide

Now, let’s unravel the secret to running doubles the right way. To add a second run to your day, opt for an intense workout that challenges you—whether it’s a tempo run, hill repetitions, or intervals. Make sure the second run is easy and can be done at any time that suits your schedule, either before or after your high-quality workout. And here’s the best part: speed and intensity take a backseat during this second run. Simply aim for a conversational pace, where you can comfortably chat with your running buddy or have a little chat with yourself. Trust me, this conversational pace will work wonders for your body and mind.

Add More

When it comes to incorporating double runs into your training plan, it’s crucial to start gradually. Begin by completing just one double run per week for the first few weeks. This allows your body to acclimate to the increased load without overwhelming it. Think of it as testing the waters before diving headfirst into the deep end.

As you start feeling more comfortable with the extra load, you can gradually add a second double run to your weekly routine. Remember, patience is key. It’s all about finding the balance that works for you and your body’s unique needs.

Now, here’s where things get exciting. Once you’ve built a solid fitness foundation and your endurance starts to soar, you have the freedom to get creative with your double runs.

Tailor them to your specific fitness level and training goals. Whether you prefer alternating between moderate-paced sessions and speed-focused workouts or experimenting with different distances and terrains, the possibilities are endless. Embrace the versatility and make running doubles your playground of possibilities.

Don’t Break Up Your Long Runs

Before you get too carried away, there’s one golden rule you must not forget: don’t break up your long runs. Your long run day is sacred, my friend. Running twice a day should never replace the profound benefits gained from those continuous, long-distance efforts. It’s like savoring a rich, decadent dessert—nothing can quite compare to the blissful satisfaction of a well-executed long run. So, prioritize those weekly long runs for building muscle strength and endurance. They are the backbone of your training.

Running Twice a Day – The Conclusion

To sum it all up, my running compadre, the guidelines shared here, will set you on the path to running doubles with ease and efficiency.

But remember, the devil is in the details, and your unique journey will unfold with its own intricacies and surprises. Should you have any questions or wish to share your experiences, please don’t hesitate to drop a comment below.

Your insights are valuable, and together, we can elevate the running community to new heights.

Thank you for joining me on this running adventure. Keep that fire burning, chase your dreams with every stride, and may the road be ever kind to you.

Run strong and run free,

David D.

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