Double Up Your Runs

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By Ed Eyestone

When I was in high school, my cross-country team began every school day with a 5–6km run and ended it with another run. We placed first or second at the provincial meet every year. The secret of our success is really no secret. Instead of running five times a week, we ran 10 times.

Studies have shown that runners who run a higher mileage have better economy and cardiovascular fitness than those who run less.

If you’re currently running five days a week for at least 40 minutes a day, you’re ready for doubles.

Here’s how to pack the most into the season so that you’ll have an edge on the competition.

Follow a Formula

Instead of going out for one run, divide your normal run by two. This gives you the distance of your first run. Your second run will be three-quarters of the distance of your normal run. So on a day in which you’d normally do 12km, you’d run 6km in the morning and 9km in the evening.

(12 x .5 = 6 and 12 x .75 = 9).

Take It Easy-Easy

Start weaving doubles into your routine by doing them twice a week on your easy days. A double dose of laid-back runs is great for building cardiovascular conditioning and increasing your mileage base. This is the duo you’ll run the most.

Then Go Easy-Hard

After a month of easy doubles, add an easy morning run to one quality day. These early sessions will loosen you up and keep you from feeling sluggish during evening intervals or tempo runs. Once your body has adapted to the mileage boost, turn another hard day into a double.

Top-Off Mileage

It’s not necessary to do doubles on your long days, but on occasion it’s fine – especially if you’re trying to boost overall mileage for the week and are planning to follow the extra-long effort with a rest or easy day.

Run Around Races

Before an afternoon race, a 15-minute morning jog can iron out travel kinks and flush muscles with blood, which enhances flexibility. After a morning race, an easy 15- to 30-minute evening run can increase blood flow, which will reduce inflammation.

Back Off

Keep one run in the 60 to 70% effort range to progress safely. And remember, the goal is not to run doubles every day, but to run as many as you can without getting wiped out.

Keep It Consistent

Don’t expect results from sporadic doubles. One of my athletes was an average high school runner who became a top athlete at university after consistently performing duos. In his words: ‘It wasn’t until I was doing doubles three or four times a week, every week, that things really took off.’

Build up to a week that includes three two-a-days:

Day A.M. P.M.
Monday 10km easy Off
Tuesday 5km easy Intervals
Wednesday 8km easy 10km easy
Thursday Tempo run Off
Friday 6km easy 9km easy
Saturday 24km long Off
Sunday Rest or 6km  easy Off

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2 Responses to Double Up Your Runs

  1. Annelie January 24, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    I was wandering if primary school children can also double up on their training to improve their fitness? and if it will have an impact on their development and growth?

  2. Francois Nel February 21, 2014 at 8:40 am #

    Doubling up on my runs REALLY improved my race times. I run to work in the mornings and back home in the evenings. The total distance per day is about 15km. I do it 3 to 5 days a week. I went from a 3h06 marathon to a 2h50 marathon in less than a year. And from 1h26 to 1h22 on a half marathon.
    The only problem is to schedule any other type of training (speed work, hills, cross-training, etc.), but try get them in on the weekends.

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