As a runner, you would like to sustain your pace and distance during practice runs. It is common for a runner to reach a maximum mileage with regular training. As you continue running, you may want to increase your mileage and performance. However, many runners find it difficult to break their plateau phase of running. This is the point when runners consider running twice a day.
This practice of running two times in a day, more commonly known as ‘doubling’, is very common among elite athletes and professional runners. But even non-professionals can include this in their schedule. In fact, runners at all levels of expertise are interested in running doubles. Let’s find out the pros and cons of running twice a day.
Why Do Runners Prefer Running Twice a Day
Some of the reasons they have for doing it are as follows:
- They don’t find enough time to run their desired distance in the morning and want to make up for it by running in the evening.
- They want to improve their mileage by running more.
- They want to train their body to recover faster, by decreasing the time between two consecutive runs.
- Running frequently has been correlated with a faster weight loss.
Therefore, running twice a day for beginners who want to achieve a target weight is getting popular.
When Should You Consider Running Twice a Day
If you are thinking about altering your training schedule and start doubling, there are a few things to think about. You cannot just wake up one fine day and decide to include two runs in your daily routine. You must have a specific fitness level to start and continue with your ‘twice a day’ schedule. Here is a list of things that you should consider:
- Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for the body’s recovery mechanisms to work well. If you sleep between seven and nine hours each night, then you are the right candidate to consider running twice a day.
- If you have been running for some time, and are targeting a big racing event, then it makes sense for you to start double runs. The positive effect of running two times daily will show soon enough.
- Tracking your injury record is vital. If you have had spells of injury free running for about six months, and you haven’t suffered from injury because of increasing your training, then you may consider running two times each day.
- If your body is able to manage dietary alteration like gap between two meals and alteration in the quantity of food you take, then you might try to run twice a day. This is because including an extra session of running in your daily routine tends to alter your metabolism and nutritional requirements.
- Runners who run 5 miles or more a day can split their running routine into two- 2 miles in the morning and 3 miles in the evening.
- If you are a runner who runs more than an hour or so, then running twice a day makes sense.
If most of the points mentioned above are applicable to you, then congratulations! You are eligible to shift to running twice a day. But, like everything else in life, this kind of training doesn’t come without its own set of rules. Let us see what are these rules are.
Rules that You Need to Adhere To while Running
Running twice a day, for beginners, is not an easy transition. Experienced runners and professionals usually have a trainer who guides them through this transition. Beginners are strongly advised to monitor their resting heart rate each morning as they wake up. Having this record will be useful for you when you take the plunge.
There may be many reasons why you want to run twice a day, but you have to adhere to some rules while doing it. These rules are as follows:
- If you observe that your resting heart rate is higher than normal, you must not do you second run that day. The same holds true for days when you feel too tired to go for a second run. There is always another day to do it. Don’t be cruel on your body.
- In the beginning, it is advisable that you take an easy run in the morning time. Your second run of the day should be more labour intensive.
- Try to take it slow and steady. For the first few weeks, do not add more than 30 minutes of time in your double runs.
- Keep minimum 6 hours gap between your two runs. Keeping a gap of 8 hours is even better. This time interval is important for letting your body recover from the effects of running.
- Keep in mind that your body doesn’t know the difference between running, swimming or working out in the gym. If you feel that the second run is making you more tired and affecting your daily life, please discontinue your ‘twice a day’ schedule.
If you think that you can follow the above-mentioned rules, then you should go ahead and include running workout 2 times a day.
Advantages of Running Twice a Day
In general, it is good to workout twice a day. The same holds true for running.There are many benefits of doubling for runners. The most important ones are mentioned below.
- Running twice a day trains your body to recover faster. Because of regular double runs, your body gets accustomed to a shorter interval of recovery. This can be hugely beneficial when you are injured in a major race.
- Runners experience that double runs enhance their performance, increase their stamina and boosts their endurance. These are clearly very much desirable for a runner.
- It is not uncommon for many runners to start running twice a day to lose weight. It is a very healthy way to use extra calories while providing other benefits to the runner.
- Running twice a day conditions your body to run faster. This is because of the different intensities of the two runs you do in your practice sessions. The easier run in the morning is, in fact, a signal to your body that it needs to run faster and stronger in the next run.
Drawbacks of Running Twice a Day
Like a double-edged sword, doubling has some drawbacks for the runner. These are discussed as follows:
- If you run more, the likelihood of getting injured increases. There is no way to guarantee protection from falling. The probability of getting hurt is directly proportional to the number of times you run,
- Additional steps in your body maintenance routine might be needed when you start running twice a day. This is because your body will tire more, use more energy and you will have a general feeling of fatigue. This will necessitate dietary and lifestyle changes in your routine.
- Doubling you runs would mean that you would have to consistently devote extra time to run the second round. This might make you absent from important family functions or outings. Also, people who have a job that involves flexible working hours or a lot of travel will surely find it difficult to continue with this pattern of running.
- If you are aiming to ace a race that is coming up soon, then it makes sense to train your body like this. However, if your aim is a general improvement in fitness, stamina and strength, then you may consider other options. You may continue running once a day as your routine, and plan your second work out to increase strength and stamina. You might include a second session of workout in the form of swimming, Zumba or exercising in the gym.
Now that you have seen and compared the various pros and cons of running twice a day, you will be able to decide if it is worth following. There is no doubt that a majority of elite runners are following this practice, and it does lead to a significant increase in their mileage and endurance. However, a valid question to ask yourself is- whether you need to run two times a day.