Running twice a day can be very beneficial to your training plan if it is done safely and intentionally. And despite what you might think, running twice a day is not only for elite athletes or elite runners. Both experienced runners and unexperienced runners can utilize double runs to maximize their running performance.
In this article, we’ll cover why running twice a day might be a good option for you, and how to run twice a day safely to avoid injury risk.
If you’re a student athlete, you might be required to run twice a day, whether you’re doing two-a-days practices or just being required to run once on your own and once in practice.
If you’re training for a distance race, running twice a day might be the only way to reach your weekly mileage given your everyday schedule.
Or if you’re an ultra runner, two-a-day runs might be necessary to get your body used to spending that much time on your legs.
No matter your situation, breaking up your runs into two separate runs is an excellent tool to help your run form. On a long run, whatever that distance might be for you, your form can start to suffer as you get tired. And when run form suffers, injury risk goes up.
If you divide your daily run between two shorter runs, and you are able to run with good form all the way through each run, you will be better off in the long run. Not only will you be less prone to injury, but you will have trained your body to run only with proper form only. You will build your muscle memory to know only proper run form.
Another benefit of double runs is forcing your body to train on tired legs. Even if you are doing daily runs, they are all runs on relatively fresh legs, or at least legs that have had the benefit of sleep.
And when you get to mile 10 of your half marathon, let’s say, your legs might not feel so fresh. This is where it helps to have trained on tired legs; your body will be familiar with the feeling.
Lastly, running twice a day might simply be more convenient, especially if you are running long distances. By breaking up your long run into two runs, you do not need to pack all of the fuel and electrolytes you would need for the long run; you can just head out the door.
It will also be easier to find routes for each run, because you now won’t have to consider if there are places to fill up your water, or if there’s a bathroom along the way. If you don’t have enough time to prepare before your long run, consider breaking it into two and just heading out the door.
To begin, we are not recommending that you run twice a day every day. Instead, these tips are just to help you on the days where you do run twice a day, but your training schedule should mix up your training to incorporate strength training, rest days, and mobility work.
But for the days you are running twice a day, here are some tips that are vital to minimizing injury risk and maximizing the benefits of double runs.
Just because you have another run coming up later in the day does not mean you can skip the cool down from your first run. And just because you ran earlier does not mean you can skip the warm up for your second run. Running twice a day doubles any risk of injury you would have with only one run in a day. This means that it is that much more important to take care of yourself before and after your runs. Treat each run as if it’s the only run you’re doing that day when it comes to the warm up and cool down. You don’t need to take extra time with either of these, but just be sure you’re not skipping them. This will improve blood flow and circulation throughout your runs.
As we said earlier, your second run is taking place on tired legs in a depleted state, and those tired legs need to be strong enough to get you through the run and keep you injury-free. To do this, make strength training a priority. If your training schedule does not already have strength training worked in, find the time for it.
Simple exercises like lunges, air squats, push ups, and core work can all be very effective if done with proper form, and they do not take up much space if you don’t have enough time to get to the gym. There are plenty of online workouts you can try if you’re not sure how to structure your strength workout. No matter how or where you do your strength training, just be sure that you incorporate it. Insert workout video clip.
Think ahead here. Keep your second run in mind when fueling after your first run, and know your distances ahead of time. For instance, if your first run of the day is an easy run, but your second run is gong to be a longer run, schedule your larger meals accordingly.
This process might look different on everyone, as running nutrition is highly individual. All we’re saying is to intentionally plan ahead. If you know you don’t like a larger meal before a longer run, hold off on dinner until that longer run is over, and eat smaller meals throughout the day. If you know you have a tempo run in the morning, consider eating a lighter breakfast, and consuming that larger meal once your tempo run is over.
If you are running for weight loss, diet plays a huge role. Running doubles does not have to change your meal plan, but it may change the timing of your meal plan depending on your mileage.
Hydration also becomes important when you’re running twice a day. Hydrate consistently throughout the day, and consider increasing the amount of fluids you drink when you only have one workout that day. If you don’t you will feel the effects of it on one if not both of your runs. Minimize the chances of cramping or injuries during either of your runs by simply drinking water and electrolytes regularly throughout the day.
And for higher mileage runs, let’s say anything longer than an hour, you will likely need to bring supplies with you on the run – fluids for sure, and maybe a gel or an energy block if your body needs it.
Doubling up on your training heightens the importance of sleep. While going to bed earlier is a great option for those running two-a-days, it’s not the only option. Naps are your friend. Even just a fifteen or twenty nap during the day can help get your blood flow going the other way, and help reset your body and mind for your second run that day.
Running twice a day can be beneficial in different ways for different runners, depending on their schedule, mileage, and experience. However, if you are running twice a day, utilize these tips to stay injury free and maximize the benefits of two-a-days.