You may go for a run every day, but it’s just the one run, right? If you answered yes, you might want to consider adding a second run to your schedule. Although it’s not always easy to squeeze in the time, by running twice daily, you could see a whole host of health perks. What are these?
Here are the benefits of running twice a day:
- Gives your body time to recover between runs
- Could help you get in marathon shape more quickly
- May be more convenient for your schedule
- Might help you lose weight
- Improves week-by-week mileage
In this article, we’ll discuss further the benefits of running twice a day. Then we’ll delve into how often you should add a second run to your schedule and how to adjust to more time on the running trail. You’re not going to want to miss it!
Benefits of Running Twice a Day
More Recovery Time from Your First Run to Your Second
If you’re planning to run once a day, then you’re going to put your all into that run. You’ll go a certain number of miles in one fell swoop because this is your only chance to do so. In keeping with your goals, you’re not exactly helping your body. Running 10 miles all at once is harder on you than it is to run five miles twice a day.
The more strenuous activity you put your muscles through, the longer your recovery takes. This means you could wake up in the morning with sorer muscles than if you ran twice a day in shorter increments both times.
Shorter runs are typically easier ones where you put a little less effort into hitting your mileage. In other words, these runs are made for recovering. Two easy runs may seem like a cop-out, but what you’re really doing is doubling how many nutrients and how much oxygen and blood your muscles get.
To optimize your recovery even further, plan for at least six hours between your first and second run of the day. This will give your muscles a good amount of time to recover before you use them again.
Gets You in Marathon Shape
Are you gearing up for a marathon soon? Whether this is your third marathon or your fiftieth, training never does seem to get easier. Well, that could be because you’re only running once a day rather than twice.
The reason prepping for a marathon isn’t easy is because you need to deprive your body of glycogen. If you missed our last post on foods to eat and not to eat before a run, we’ll recap the importance of glycogen for you now.
All food becomes a simple sugar called glucose when you consume it. Some foods, such as carbs, have more glucose than others. When glucose arrives in the body, it undergoes a process called glycogenesis where it becomes glycogen. The liver stores glycogen and can use it as an energy source.
Depleting your body of glycogen means burning through the current glycogen stores and adding to them no further. Since you rarely get a chance to take a break and eat during a marathon, you’re naturally in a state of glycogen depletion. Now you have to get there in your training.
By running more often, such as twice a day, it’s possible to do just that. So confirms this 2008 study from the Journal of Applied Physiology. According to that and other research, when you double up on your runs, you also increase the activity of enzymes, fat oxidation, and glycogen content.
What does all this mean? That you’ll get marathon-fit by running twice a day sooner than you would by running only once a day.
Could Work Better for Your Schedule
You still remember when you first got into running. It was so hard to figure out where in your day you would have the time to run. You’ve got it mostly sorted now, although admittedly, on some days, you still struggle to schedule the time for running.
That’s fair, especially if you have quite a busy life. Would it perhaps be easier for you to find two periods of 30 or 40 minutes each than two consecutive hours to dedicate to running? More than likely, yes, we’d imagine. That makes running twice a day perfect for you.
Could Help You Lose Weight
Are you trying to drop a few extra pounds? Running is a great way to do that. Verywell Fit states that you may be able to lose up to two pounds a week through running. If you do strength training in between your runs, you could lose the weight and add muscle.
In running, there’s a phenomenon called a depletion run that may be especially helpful towards your weight loss goals. What is depletion running, you ask?
When you go on a depletion run, it’s usually first thing in the morning or before you’ve had a chance to eat breakfast. You’ve just slept for seven, eight, or even nine hours and your glycogen levels are low since it’s been at least that long since you’ve last grabbed a bite to eat.
Although we need glycogen for energy, when we deplete it through double runs, something incredible happens. Your body has no more energy through glucose, but it needs to provide us fuel so we can stay alive. Instead of using glycogen, the body can begin burning fat instead.
This is the entire basis behind fasting, where you forego food and caloric beverages for a time. Between the calorie restriction and the fat burning, fasters usually lose weight.
Adds More Mileage to Your Weekly Totals
You log the mileage of every run you do, even on those days when you’re tired and you don’t go as far. At the start of the week, you set a bushy-tailed mileage goal, but by the time the week ends, you’re always disappointed that you didn’t hit your goal.
Setting realistic benchmarks is always recommended, so if that’s your issue, make sure you ameliorate that. If it’s just a matter of you being a few miles short each week, then running twice a day might help. Since you’re running more often, you’re bound to log more miles. When you check your weekly mileage totals, you’ll be happier with what you see!
Who Should Run Twice a Day?
Running twice daily is certainly advantageous, but it can just as easily have many downsides if you’re inexperienced at running. You could mismanage your energy levels, fatiguing yourself and increasing your risk of injury.
If you’re not yet running 50 miles per week, then doubling your runs is not within your best interest yet. Everything in moderation, even running. As you adjust to more and more mileage and eventually hit that 50-mile benchmark, you can revisit the idea of doubling up on your runs. Until then, you’d accumulate so much mileage quickly that the above health risks would likely become a reality.
Even if you do want to soon aspire to run twice a week, don’t make unsafe leaps and bounds to get there. You should gradually increase your running mileage by 10 percent each week. This is why you can’t be in a rush. Remember, although it takes a long time to get to the point where you’re running 50 miles a week, it will take a lot longer to get there if you’re sidelined with a burnout injury.
Even when you do start running 50 miles every week, you still don’t want to jump into running twice a week quite yet. Maintain your running pace for at least a month so you can adjust to the energy load running this much requires. Then you’re free to add the second run when you’re ready to.
How Often Should You Run Twice a Day?
Woohoo, today will be the first day you run twice. You’re pretty amped up and ready to go. How often are you going to be running more than once? Since this is your first time, we’d suggest starting slowly. Try running doubles once a week and see how you feel.
For at least three weeks, choose one day for a double run and run only once on your other scheduled days. Make sure you’re giving yourself plenty of time to rest and recover your muscles. Taking a day off after your double run is a good idea.
After those three weeks are over, start running doubles for a second day of the week. That’s about as often as most runners will do doubles. If you log huge numbers of miles a week, then you might wish to run doubles three times a week, but anything more than that is excessive and even dangerous.
How to Incorporate Two Runs into Your Schedule
Let’s wrap up with some tips on how to safely run doubles so you can maximize the above benefits.
Add the Second Run on Your Easy Days First
Your running week consists of easier days and harder ones. The former is when you want to run doubles as you get started. By running twice a day on your easier days, you’ll prove to yourself that hey, you can do this and that it wasn’t as tough as you thought.
The rule of thumb is that for your easier doubles, you want to add five miles to your overall mileage and keep your running pace moderate. This is not the time to pretend you’re running a marathon!
Later, Incorporate the Second Run into Your Medium and Longer Runs, Even Workout Days
You’ll soon adjust to running doubles on your easier days. At that point, it’s time to try running on a medium-length or steady-state day where you run a little harder and/or longer. As we said before, add a second run once a week for the first few weeks, maybe even the first month.
At that point, you’ve graduated to adding a second run to your longer runs, including cruise intervals and tempo runs. This is going to be some of your most difficult running yet, so make sure you listen to your body. If you feel sick, dizzy, or otherwise out of sorts, we’d recommend taking a break. Assess how you feel from the sidelines and stop running altogether if you’re not in a good enough state to continue.
Some runners will run doubles on their speed workout days, which is another option.
Do Doubles on Your Less Busy Days at First
If you’re looking at the days of the week to plan a double run, we’d suggest picking the days where you have a lot less going on. For instance, you might run twice on a Saturday, as you have no other energy-consuming obligations.
Make Sure You Eat!
Since you’re depleting glycogen and running further on your doubles, you may burn calories at twice the rate you normally do. Even if you’re trying to lose weight, you still need to nourish your body with food, possibly even slightly more than you would eat when you were only running once a day. Please don’t skip this.
Running twice a day can help you get fit for a marathon, log more miles, and even lose weight. Although it’s not recommended for beginners, once you find a way to add a second run to your routine, you’ll feel like an even more accomplished runner!
If you’re planning to eat before you run, you want to schedule your mealtime at least two hours ahead of lacing up your shoes. You also want to stick within a range of 300 and 400 calories. Which foods will fuel you up before you run versus weighing you down?
Let’s face it, we’re all quite attached to our phones, quite literally. You don’t want to miss a friend’s text message, a family member’s social media post, or that important work email when you’re out running, but you’re just not sure of an efficient way to carry your phone. What are your options?