Double the Fun: Adding Double Runs to Your Training

Susanna and Jenny Kallur
Doubles can be a lot of fun. Just ask Susanna and Jenny Kallur, Sweden’s famous running twins! (image via
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?

I love doubles! They've been a part of my training since my first marathon.
I love doubles! They’ve been a part of my training since my first marathon.

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?

Trail and 100 mile ultra runner who still loves a good road marathon every now and then. Lifetime Northeast Ohio resident that dreams of the mountains out west, but loves CLE too much. Sometimes a vegan, sometimes does yoga, always loves a good craft beer and post race donuts.

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  1. I’ve never done doubles, but I’ve definitely thought about them to help get miles in when I’m really busy but have high mileage. I may have to look more closely at doing this now

  2. I’ve done low low low mileage doubles, like two three-milers in a day, or running with friends after a race, things like that. The high mileage seems daunting to me, especially since I know what it feels like to run on tired legs from running home after a long (long long) day at work from time to time. When you add in a double, what typically is the distance on your second run? Is it always at an easy pace?

    1. It honestly depends on what’s going on with work. Usually if I’m working that day, I do the easy run in the morning because I run so slow when I wake up and the hard run in the evening. If I’m off, then I take my time in the morning and do the hard workout in the morning. Usually I keep the distances equal, like a four miler in the morning and five in the evening. But my second run is usually pretty short.

  3. I usually don’t do doubles unless I am hitting high mileage (70 mpw or more). When I do them, usually I do them both easy, such as 6 miles easy in the am and 4 more easy miles in the pm.

  4. I like doubles on hard days – a 4-5 miles easy in the morning before an evening track workout, etc. I feel looser for the workout. I used to do a lot of short really slow recovery jogs in the evening after my long runs too. I really liked doing that. It was great for glycogen depletion/fat burning and I felt soooo much better on Mondays!

    1. Now that you say that, I guess I usually do easy runs in the morning before I do my track workouts in the summer for the Capitol Mile. I don’t think I could do a double on a long run day though!

  5. I often do once-weekly double runs for about 8 weeks when I’m training for our Club’s 50 mile relay race. The first two are pretty hard, but after that I can feel the improvement. They’re great training for relays because the race itself is a multi-run day!

  6. I typically don’t start doubling until I am trying to get my mileage up above 65/70 mpw. I like to hit those targets with singles for consistency etc. Once I am doubling I try to never take that second easy run up over 5 miles. The second run should never be a workout, it’s just aerobic miles. (Note that might be different if you are doubling at a lower mileage, but for me doubles mean my mileage is high and I need plenty of recovery miles). I’ve doubled up on any day, easy, hard, long etc. 4 easy recovery miles really fit into any day as long as you take them easy.