I won’t be the only one who tells you that you can run twice a day and potentially double your fitness. Many runners do this to increase aerobic capacity – but doing so requires good planning so that you can recover properly.
Training once a day is difficult enough; especially for working parents – especially on the weekends. Fitting a long distance run in between church, soccer games and practices, birthday parties, grocery shopping and laundry is daunting, time-consuming, stressful, and tiring. One way around the pressure of doing one long run on the weekend is to plan to run two shorter runs or to break your run in a way to finish a distance you may not have time to complete in one training run.
Today I had a dilemma and knew I would have to split up my 10 mile run. I chose to run twice but would split my 1-mile run into 8.5 miles and 1.5 miles – odd, but easily attainable both mentally and physically, which would allow me to stop at 8.5 miles for about an hour and then run a 1.5 warm down. Orthodox? No. Necessary for me today? Yes!
You see, when I left for my 10 mile run I had a choice. I could either run my 10 miles and force my husband to take both kids to my son’s basketball tryout or I could do a planned stop at 8.5 miles to join the family. I knew my husband wanted to pay attention to eldest and did not want to watch our 4-year-old. As I ran, I thought about how I could have my cake and eat it too. I called home (while I was running) and explained that I’d run to the school where my son’s basketball practice was and watch our youngest. This meant I’d run 8.5 miles to the school (conveniently located along my running route), stop, wait for the family, hang out with everyone and then run 1.5 miles home after the tryout, change, and take our youngest to soccer practice. All my husband had to do was get both kids ready for both sporting events.
You see, I just got back from a two-week vacation traveling throughout Spain with my Sister-in-Law and Mother-in-Law. That meant this weekend was no time to be selfish. I feel that for the benefit of the family, something has to give. The good thing, however, is that just because you have to split up your run, doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from stopping and starting again. In fact, some people train this way all the time. Here are some rules of engagement about running double shifts:
“Allow at least four hours between your workouts so you can recover fully. After the first run, be sure to rehydrate, and consume at least 500 calories within 30 minutes of finishing to help speed recovery.” —
“A basic principle to follow is to not do double workouts until you have maximized the amount you can handle in single workouts. Staying with longer single runs builds endurance, while shorter doubles allow you to train at a faster pace. Double runs can also be beneficial in speeding recovery. Two short runs will help you recover more quickly than one longer run.”— Cococabanna Runners
Studies may not support our need to do doubles, however. In a study cited in the Ohio Journal of Science, (OHIOJ. SCI. 81(5): 207, 1981) Richard Mostardi and Thomas Allen Campbell studied 13 varsity track men and how their training and VO2 max adaptions changed working 1x per day versus 2x. In short, “The data suggest that training 2 times per day is not associated with improvements in VO2 max over training one time per day.”
Therefore, all I can tell you is that while I have seen some other studies that may show that running twice a day for some runners really improves fitness….and, most importantly, should you need to get in a long run and you need to split into two intervals to get the distance in, DO IT. It’s better than not getting the distance completed at all. Adaption occurs through repetition. Doing two easy to moderate runs in one day may be necessary to increase fitness as you prepare for a longer race, and really, running twice takes planning and time – that means two showers, a lot of planned eating, and at least for me, undo stress. I have enough of a time doing daily runs, but when I need to, I split the run to get the distance in. And for some of us, this is what we plan for – so do it – just be careful not to over train.
Should you want to read further about incorporating double workouts or consider the benefits…..read here.
Double Your Pleasure, Why Running Twice a Day Makes You Fit and Fast:
Should You Run Twice Per Day? http://pfitzinger.com/labreports/twoadays.shtml
Ultrarunner Forum I found….I would expect you guys need to run 2x per day: http://www.ultrunr.com/twiceday.html