Running twice a day: worth it?


Running twice a day sounds like something only elite athletes, or runners clocking up massive distances, would do.

But I’ve been doing some interesting reading recently,which convinced me it’s worth giving it a go, despite the fact I will never/have never been anything close to an elite athlete.

If you’re trying to build endurance, received wisdom says you should go for longer runs, which makes sense. So the following opinions are generally presented with the proviso you have built your general base endurance, and are chucking in at least one longer run per week. Because it is easier to maintain endurance than build it, this maintenance run is enough, whereas if you’re on a mission to build distance, you may want to do longer runs more regularly.

Some sporty types believe there are massive benefits to be had by going on two runs in one day. At the most basic end of things, you can clock up some extra miles. No time for a 10k dash? You may be able to squeeze in two five ks.

It’s also thought that because your second run is done in a pre-fatigued state, you’re accessing deeper glycogen supplies, and different muscle fibres that you may not usually use.

So what was my personal experience?

I racked up a couple of 5k runs yesterday. The first was on a trail during my lunch break, the second was a road-style run around the docklands. By far, the second was more enjoyable and felt easier.

There are a few reasons for this: firstly, the temperature. During lunch, I was running in temperatures of around 25 C, in non-shaded areas. In addition, the variable terrain meant I was exerting more energy. By the evening it was much cooler, and while concrete is harder on the joints, your feet ‘bounce’ off it, making it a less energetic effort.

Notably, during my second outing, I didn’t suffer from the tight calves I generally get during the first km or so of a run. In fact, I didn’t get any of the physical or mental discomfort I usually experience in the first 10 minutes. By that time I had actually already eased into the run and started getting a good endorphin rush not long after. While I used to feel that good during every jog, the high had been conspicuously absent in recent workouts, so it was a welcome return.

Although I had been warned to expect additional fatigue during the first time I did a second run, this didn’t happen. I did experience more muscle soreness upon waking today though, and that has lingered throughout the day.

In the long term though recovery should be quicker, and that should start improving from my second two-day run, which is planned for tomorrow (with today as a rest day).

Overall it’s far too early to say whether this technique is something that’s really going to benefit my training, but so far, all the signs are good.

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