For most of us, winter is winding down and training plans are taking shape as our big spring races are getting closer. Here at Salty Running, where we’re all about working hard to achieve big goals, we want to take our running to the next level.
No matter what “the next level” means to you, there’s a lot to learn from the elites out there. If you look at anything written about elite training programs you’ll probably see doubles on the schedule, meaning two runs in one day. It may sound like a lot with everything we have on our plates already, but if you can make the time you too can reap the benefits of running doubles!
Some advantages of running doubles:
- More miles without having to worry about being late or getting up at 3 am.
- The second run helps to train the body to burn fat, by running in a more glycogen-depleted state.
- Teach your body to recover faster by increasing blood circulation through your tired legs.
Double runs are particularly great for:
- Runners with crazy work schedules (yes, really!)
- Those who have little time to get longer runs in and need to maximize shorter amounts of time.
- Runners with a lot of time on their hands.
- People who LOVE to run!
According to a 2012 article from Competitor, the best ways to incorporate doubles are to tack an extra easy run onto a speed work, tempo run, or a medium-long day, or to double up on easy days and just do two easy runs.
So, that basically sounds like it doesn’t matter what day you choose for your double, as long as it’s not a rest day or a long run day, right?
Well, not exactly. To determine the best day for you to add a second run, think about what your typical week looks like now and why you’re adding a double to the schedule.
Do you want to add mileage? Then maybe make an easy day a double day. I like to run a double once a week on my easy days at the beginning of my training cycle, then add in a second day closer to the peak weeks for my A race. Because of my varying work hours, doubles help me get more miles in. I can get 12-18 miles in on a work day!
Do you want to recover more quickly? Maybe add a short easy run in the evening of a speed work day. I like to double up the days of tempo runs too because it helps me recover faster. And for long distance runners like us, it’s good to get used to running when I’m tired, exhausted and don’t want to run.
Want to train yourself to be more mentally tough at the end of longer races? Maybe add another run on those medium long run days. When I do, during the second run I am tired and it feels similar to how I will feel in the later stages of an ultra marathon.
Just like any other training program, start slow. Try it out for a few weeks to see how it works for you. And maybe, just maybe, as the days get longer, it’ll be hard to resist going out for that second run.
Are doubles a part of your schedule? What are your tips for adding in the second run?