The benefits of running twice a day include increase fat-burning and also training the body to use glycogen more efficiently.
As quoted by Greg Mcmillan, an exercise physiologist: ‘By shortening the time between runs, you’re challenge your body to recover faster’.
However, there is a risk of overdoing it which would result in overtraining - turning into a huge injury risk. Provided below are some tips on how you can start incorporating double sessions like an elite athlete!
Determine what your purpose of running a second time in a day isThis is important because you need to know the exact reasons to reap the benefits out of it, else you would be adding Junk Miles to your training regime - leaving you with additional fatigue for nothing, which can be a huge blow to your motivation!
- For recovery - Split mileage for the day as evenly as possible. You minimize fatigue but reap all the benefits of running twice a day. For example, if you have a 10km run scheduled the day after a hard workout, split it into 2 runs of 5km - 1 in the morning and 1 in the evening. Don’t beat yourself up over pace during these recovery runs as they are intended to increase blood flow to the muscles and flush out lactic acid to prepare you for the next run the following day. In addition, you have an excuse to sleep extra in the morning!
- For preparing yourself for workouts/races - Have an evening interval session or a race scheduled? You might want to wake up a little earlier for a short morning run. This preps and pumps your body up by flushing the system and loosening the tight knots in your muscles so that you are physically ready to take down that evening workout! When doing this, you want to keep your morning sessions short and sweet, from 3km to 5km or if you prefer running by time, 30 minutes maximum. Add some light strides at the end of your run to top things off. Sure, sleeping in to ‘preserve energy’ for a hard workout seems wise, but sometimes, the sacrifice is worth it when you feel fresher and have looser muscles to tackle anything that comes your way.
- For targeting a personal best - Have a lofty time goal and am a seasoned and race-hardened runner with a solid running base on hand, but hitting a plateau in your races and workouts? Then you might think of trying two targeted workouts in a day!
‘This approach is for people who have pushed their training as far as they can and are looking for an extra boost’ Magness, a cross-country coach for the University of Houston.
For example, do your usual speedwork in the morning and add shorter faster intervals in the evening to end your day. A typical example for a 10k race goes like this:
AM - 4 x 2k repetitions at 10k pace, 3 mins rest intervals.
PM - 4 x 400m at 3k pace, 60 seconds rest intervals.
Most workouts, you come in fresh and ready. On the contrary, these workouts you come in tired and have to use muscle fibers you don’t usually utilize.
ConclusionAs with when you first started running, adding a second session will be a new stimulus. Following a new stimulus, adaptation has to occur to receive the full benefits. You would feel sluggish at the beginning, but that’s your body getting used to it. If you are new to double sessions, take it slow and steady by adding one day of doubles per week, and two days of doubles for two weeks and so on and so fore until you are comfortable.
The crucial part about managing double sessions or even running itself? Listen to your body. If at any time you don’t feel good, learn to pull back and save it for another day.
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