Get Faster: Double Up

Run twice a day to up your cardiovascular fitness – and gain a competitive edge



by Ed Eyestone

double running sessions, running twice, fast running, PB, the fast lane Credit: R.M. Steele, Gettty Images

When I was at school, my cross-country team  began every day with a four-mile run and ended it with another. So the secret of our success is really no secret: instead of doing five runs a week, we did 10.

Studies have shown that runners who clock a higher mileage have better cardiovascular fitness and running economy. If you run five days a week for at least 40 minutes a day, you're ready for doubles. Here's how...

Follow a Formula

Instead of one run, divide your normal run into two. The first part should be half, and the second part three-quarters, of the original distance. So if you normally do eight miles, you'd run four miles in the morning and six miles in the afternoon. 

Take it Easy-Easy

Start weaving doubles into your routine by doing them twice a week on easy days. A double dose of laid-back runs is great for upping your mileage base.

Then Go Easy-Hard

After a month of easy doubles, start adding an easy morning run to one quality day. These early sessions will loosen you up and keep you from feeling sluggish during your evening intervals or tempos.

Top Off Mileage

It's not necessary to do doubles on your long-run days, but on occasion it's fine - especially if you're trying to boost overall mileage. Follow the extra-long effort with a rest or easy day.

Run Around Races

Prior to 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 afternoon or evening run of between 15 and 30 minutes can increase blood flow, which will reduce inflammation.

Know When to Back Off

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

Keep it Consistent

That said, don't expect to get results from doing sporadic doubles, only when you feel like it. Things will really take off when you do doubles  three or four times a week.

Weekly Plan

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

Monday
AM: 6 miles (easy)   PM: Rest

Tuesday
AM: 3 miles (easy)  PM: Intervals

Wednesday

AM: 5 miles (easy)  PM: seven miles (easy)

Thursday

AM: Tempo run  PM: Rest

Friday

AM: 4 miles easy   PM: 6 miles easy

Saturday

AM: 15 long   PM: Rest

Sunday

AM: 4 miles (easy)   PM: Rest

Ed Eyestone is an exercise physiologist and two-time Olympic marathon runner


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