Runners World Articles: Archives
On the Double: Running twice a day can make you
fitter, healthier, and leaner. Here's how to pull it off
Think about how energized you feel after a run. Now consider how
great it's be to have that feeling twice a day instead of just once.
You can achieve this if you incorporate "two-a-days" into your running
program. Before you turn the page in horror, read on...it's easier
than you think.
My history with two-a-day runs began when I was in my 20s. The
mileage I added during my morning runs helped make me an Olympian,
and I never suffered a serious injury. I'm certain that lumping
all that mileage into single daily runs would have broken me.
My Olympic days are behind me, but I continue to run twice-sometimes
three times-daily, just because it makes me feel so good. Try it
and I'll bet you agree.
The benefits to running twice daily are many:
Flexibility. When you're doing two-a-day workouts, running
is no longer an all or nothing proposition. No time for a 6-mile
run? Squeeze in 3 miles in the morning and 3 in the evening. Don't
feel "in the groove" 15 minutes into your run? Cut it short and
log the rest of your miles later in the day.
Injury prevention. Running twice a day can soften the physical
stress of running in a couple ways. First, you can eliminate one
running day each week but maintain the same mileage (old schedule:
5 days per week, 4 miles per day; new schedule: 4 days per week,
2 miles in the morning and 3 in the afternoon). Second, you can
maintain your weekly schedule and divide each day's mileage into
two chunks-for example, cut a 6-mile run into a 3-mile run in the
morning and another in the afternoon.
Both methods lessen the impact of any given run. Plus many injuries
occur at the end of runs, when you're tired and more prone to poor
form. Reduce the mileage of each run, and you won't get as tired.
Weight Control. By covering fewer miles per run but more
runs per week, you can safely increase your overall mileage. Even
a small rise if weekly mileage will burn significantly more calories
during the course of a year: Five extra miles a week equals about
500 calories. That's 26,000 calories per year-almost 7.2 pounds
Motivation. An easy morning run will get your blood flowing
and prime your body for a terrific afternoon session. This is particularly
helpful if you're planning a speed session or a run with faster
friends later in the day.
Personally, I consider my morning run a chance to charge up for
a productive day and my evening run a way to unwind and decompress
at day's end.
Two-a-Day Principles. If you try two-a-days, keep these
seven guidelines in mind:
1. Separate your workouts by at least 2 hours; 4 hours is even
2. Be sure your first run of the day is very easy. Save any speed
sessions for later in the day.
3. Don't divide your long run into two shorter runs. Continue to
do your long run all at once-that's what makes it a long run.
4. Warm up for your second run of the day, as you did for your
5. If you're training for a race, at the end of your morning run
do three to six accelerations of 50 to 100 meters each (walk or
jog 100 meters in between to recover). Run them at your race pace.
6. Eat breakfast (or a high-carbohydrate snack) within 30 minutes
of finishing your morning run.
7. Increase your mileage by no more than 1 mile per run. If you
increase your weekly mileage more than 3 weeks in a row, don't raise
your total by more than 10 percent a week.
World, May 2000, p. 45
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