MarathonMaiden's Blog

June 2, 2010

How Running Can Rock: Doubles

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — marathonmaiden @ 18:17

Yay for today: National Running Day.  Yes that is today.  June 2nd.  I’m actually surprised I remembered given how I’m trying to limit my internet / blogging / fb/ anything but MCAT/essay time.  But I remembered and did a double today (duh) to celebrate.  Well I’d be doing a double anyway.

So I said in a previous post that I wanted to go into the factors that I believed to be clutch in my running so well (case in point: today’s first run was at 8:42 pace and the second one was at 8:45 which I’m still wrapping my mind around how they feel slow but clearly aren’t).  And I’ve drafted some other posts to go up later this week / weekend (because I have no concept of days so if you take reading blogs hiatuses over the weekend you’re going to miss out 😉 )but I think the crux of this is the double.  Sure, I’m confident that I’d be running well if I wasn’t doing doubles (and I think I was during Senior Week) but I’m starting to really get into them.

Which I think it’s apropos to give you a little background, not JUST on why I do doubles but why people in general should do doubles particularly if you are in training for something.  Maybe not the majority of days of the week but every once in a while.


  • Ability to get more miles in.  I think this comes down to basic energy math: is it easier to do one 20 miler or two 10 milers with 4+ hours to recover? Of course if you’re in marathon training the 20 miler has it’s own benefits but running doubles is a great way to overall increase your mileage while not beating up your body too much. As long as you take sufficient steps to recover from each workout.  Ideally you should wait at least 4 hours before going out for run #2 and I would imagine that 6-8 hours (say before and after work?) would be perfect for many people.
  • Higher cardiovascular endurance and running economy.  I think of doubles in terms of intervals.  I know that each run isn’t like each individual interval but rather the overall arch is the same: you run, recovery, run again, recover.  Like intervals, doubles are letting you use less energy to run fast as your body gets more fit.
  • If you have a hard session in the AM, you can use the PM one to shake out the legs. Conversely if you have a hard PM session you can use the AM one to loosen up your legs.
  • This goes hand-in-hand with mentality but it’s great as a release for pent up energy.  There’s a reason they used to give kids in elementary school 2 recesses a day.


  • Easier to mentally handle said higher mileage.  Back to the example of 1X20 or 2X10.  I think that only having to do 10 (or 5 or whatever) at once is easier to wrap your mind around.  Of course, sometimes motivation to get out and do that second run wanes a bit when you know that you’ve already run but…
  • Double post-run high.  If you run twice then you get that mood enhancer twice.
  • Breaks up the day.  For me, my body itches to get moving after a marathon like study session so it’s easier for me to do what I’ve been doing: study-run-study-run-essay.  I’m able to focus better after getting my pent up energy out and clear the mind of the stress that has accrued.

Where to begin?

To start:

  1. Be running 5-6 days a week already and be able to complete 40 minutes minimum a day and 60+ for your long run.
  2. Add a double workout on an every other day basis and NOT on a hard quality (ie speedwork) day.
  3. The double run only has to be 20 minutes if it’s what you have to start with.  You can still derive benefits from this! The idea in the first few doubles / weeks is to get your mind and body around two workouts.  Ideally you can work up to 40ish minutes but slowly building up is the way to go.
  4. In order to NOT injure yourself the other “regular” run of the day should be ~10-20 minutes shorter initially and like I mentioned above wait 4+ hours between workouts.
  5. In the recovery time make sure to refuel with a mix of carbs, fats and protein.  (More on that later when I start posting that post in the series)

What to avoid / be careful of?

  • Too much too soon.  As with anything you should ease into it using the tips above.
  • Any disturbances in eating / sleeping / mood patterns.  Remember that doubles are suppose to be a BENEFIT.  And if you start to sleep funny or lose your appetite or get cranky and irritable over small things then maybe it’s time to back off because it sounds like overtraining.
  • Injuries.  Any increase in activity increases your risk of injury so running twice in one day definitely does.  Again, ease into it and be prepared to ice, stretch and recover well to avoid getting hurt.  And as soon as you notice something physically isn’t right then back off and move into doubles slower.

So those are the benefits of running doubles.  Now you can be all BAMF and hardcore when you say that you ran twice 🙂

And here are some random musings.  Mostly thought of during my runs today.

  • How many cops does it take to supervise paving a road that is, at most, a half mile long as well as NOT a main road?  Well if you guessed 7 then you’re right.  3 at one end of the road to stop cars from driving down.  2 with the construction vehicles.  2 more at the other end of the road.
  • But freshly paved road is soooo nice to run on because it is sooooo soft.  It felt amazing.  And no Mr. Cop #4 I do not want to hop on the sidewalk. Oh wait this area is so freshly paved that it’s actually hot? Okay then.  You win
  • I have semi-retracted my Obama cursing over the Restore America’s Roadways after running on said freshly paved road.
  • Is mapmyrun really accurate? I’m running really really fast.  But I used the same sight when at school and it seemed pretty accurate.  And my hometown is even hillier than school.
  • Little girl: if I’m running on the grass next to the sidewalk and you are biking on the sidewalk then clearly we are NOT in each other’s ways.  Therefore you do not need to pull into the grass and collide with me.  I know you mother probably told you it’s polite to maneuver out of people’s ways but this was not the case and you did, in fact, get in my way.
  • Middle school girls: please do not feel shy to say hi to me while we are all out running. I know that I’m tall and BAMF but I LOVE that you are out running.  Let’s be friends.
  • I know I’m beautiful.  You do not need to tell me that Boy In Jeep.

I’ve also been using my runs as a way to flush out my ideas for my personal statement (Thanks Ada for all your help!) as well as hammer out troublesome concepts for the MCAT but I’m sure you guys don’t *really* care about the periodic trends, electron configurations or inclined planes that are not frictionless.

So I’m off to go put some of those more productive thoughts into action.  Enjoy the rest of your Wednesday!

Check out the giveaway from Sam @ peaveloverun



  1. I like your perspective on this post. Because my long run (ok, so it’s actually to where I can call it a “long run” and not feel so ridiculous because, in all reality, it wasn’t that long) is probably getting broken up on Saturday because I feel the strong urge to do a 5k that is close to where I live… but we shall see.

    Happy studying! 🙂

    Comment by Amy @ Second City Randomness — June 2, 2010 @ 18:29

    • Yeah there’s a 5k I kind of want to do this weekend too and will definitely be taking advantage of doubles!

      Comment by marathonmaiden — June 3, 2010 @ 23:36

  2. Great post! I havent done a double in so long! I really havent even run after work in a long time! I feel like doubles are like intervals workouts in the sense you always feel awesome in either case!

    Comment by J — June 2, 2010 @ 19:36

  3. Good for you, loving the doubles. That whole shower twice thing bugs me too much. Plus I like the finality of finishing a daily run, but you’re right, doubles can be great and when the mileage gets up towards 80, necessary as well. (though I didn’t when I was in the 80s and in retrospect, would have been better off)

    Comment by Flo — June 2, 2010 @ 20:23

  4. I do a lot of double workouts in the summer when I am off work and running with the cross country team from school. I love it, but I can’t stay there for long, I’m just too old :P. Good job at getting them in…and too funny about the boy in the jeep :).

    Comment by Jill — June 2, 2010 @ 21:19

  5. Your musings were too funny! Andd, power to the doubles! I’ve been loving on the doubles for awhile now (triples = even more amazing, but that’s besides the point!) It sounds like you are in a really good place with running right now and life (ie crazy studying!) I admire that so much! Keep up the good work! 🙂

    Comment by tmart — June 2, 2010 @ 22:35

  6. I thought I invented doubles? heehee
    Much to my hubbs dismay, I do doubles most days out of perference and necessity. It eases the guilt about being away from the kids for an extended period of time and it eases the burden on the body. At least that has been my experince over the years.

    I found your blog via the 1000+ spreadsheet. Holy Wowwzers! I can not wait to tell Hubbs that there is another crazy (way crazier) high mileage runner out there. I will be doing some reading to catch up. Too many blogs so little time!

    Comment by Shelly — June 3, 2010 @ 00:03

  7. Well you got me tempted to try doubles! I’m going to wait til after my half though as that is scarily soon and I don’t want to change anything before it, thanks for the helpful tips 🙂

    Comment by Laura — June 3, 2010 @ 01:57

  8. I enjoy helping you, it’s really no problem at all:) Good luck studying for the MCATs, it sounds like you’ve been really motivated and focused so far!

    Comment by Ada — June 3, 2010 @ 08:28

  9. I enjoy doubles and really should do them more often. Nice post!

    Comment by thefoodrunner — June 3, 2010 @ 09:11

  10. Great information. And good luck on your personal statement – that was the WORST part of grad school applications for me. Ugh! I wish I could handle doubles, but I highly doubt my body would be able to take the mileage. Oh. And I would tell the boy in Jeep that he is a hottie too. But that his mom was hotter last night – OH!

    Comment by sarah — June 3, 2010 @ 09:45

  11. I haven’t done running doubles lately (but I liked doing them once a week when I was running-only, if I were higher mileage I would have done more), but for triathlon I pretty much have to! Now my body can handle exercising at any time of day, but I take SO many showers. And don’t even get me started on the laundry…

    Comment by kristinschleicher — June 3, 2010 @ 13:16

  12. I’ve always thought it would be really hard to find time to do a double.

    I’m not sure if mapmyrun is accurate. I gave up trying to use it when it couldn’t figure out where I lived.

    Comment by Jess — June 3, 2010 @ 13:33

    • Sometimes I think it’s easier to find the time to do 2 shorter runs than one long one but I guess it depends on what else is going on in the day. And too funny about that site not finding your house!

      Comment by marathonmaiden — June 3, 2010 @ 23:38

  13. Great post, thanks! My doubles tend to be a bit of cross training as triathlon approaches, but the value is the same. Best tip is don’t go for equal effort/intensity and if you are struggling, go back to one – always better than none.

    Keep up the hard work, you’re gonna make it!

    Comment by Ian — June 3, 2010 @ 14:10

  14. I have never really run serious doubles. One summer I ran 2x a day, but that was only 3-4 miles at a time. You are so hardcore, though!

    Laughed at your observations. I hate when people yell rude things to runners. Seriously.

    Good luck with studying for the MCAT!

    Comment by Emily — June 3, 2010 @ 16:05

  15. I’ve found mapmyrun to be pretty accurate. There’s a one mile loop of my neighborhood at home in NY that I mapped to be 1 mile and then wheel measured it to be the same. Although now that I’m running mostly trails I stick to the wheel but that’s much more of a hassle.

    Interesting post on doubles. I started adding doubles in to my training again sometime in the past few weeks. Once I get around the 50 mile mark for weeks, I find it more conducive to throw in a few double days instead of allowing a whole bunch of runs to stretch into double digits. What I typically do is get up about 5:30 and do ~3 miles at a pace up to two minutes slower than my regular easy runs, basically a warm-up/cool-down pace just to get some blood in my legs and get my HR up. I usually use these mornings to recover from a long run or quality session and/or lift after. Then in the afternoon/evening, after 10-12 hours, I get my second run in which is more of a regular run. The first run never gets longer than 4 miles and I try to keep it to 3 (30 minutes). I figure this way the extra stress is kept to a minimum while still allowing me to benefit from the increase in volume.

    Comment by runningmanz — June 3, 2010 @ 16:56

    • I forgot to mention. On days where I race (~10k or less), I like to go out in the evening and do that half hour “shakeout” to get the blood flowing and the process of recovering started. I find myself fresher and less sore the day after when I do that

      Comment by runningmanz — June 3, 2010 @ 16:58

      • I totally do the same thing with races and extra runs

        Comment by marathonmaiden — June 3, 2010 @ 23:40

  16. I did a double today and thought of you!!! The double will be the key to my marathon succes

    Comment by Stephanie — June 3, 2010 @ 20:11

  17. I’ve been contemplating adding this in since the school year is winding down and I’d be able to run in the morning again 🙂 thanks for the advice on where to begin.

    Comment by Running on Faith — June 3, 2010 @ 21:11

  18. This post…is not for me…haha. I really can’t do this double thing. No time, and I tend to lose motivation as the day drags on. Great advices though, and LOVED your random musings! Amen on the thought to the little girls. Gets me everytime!

    Comment by sophia — June 4, 2010 @ 04:27

  19. […] Fueling, Running — marathonmaiden @ 09:00 I’m so glad that many of you are fans of doubles! It’s sooo nice to know that I’m not the only crazy […]

    Pingback by How [Double] Running Can Rock: Refueling « MarathonMaiden's Blog — June 4, 2010 @ 09:02

  20. […] you didn’t catch the first few pieces of “How Running Can Rock” I talked about: double runs, carbs and no/low […]

    Pingback by How [Double] Running Can Rock: Low(er) Mileage, Shorter Runs & Sleep « MarathonMaiden's Blog — June 7, 2010 @ 15:02

  21. Hi! I know this is an “old” post…all of 21 days old…but I enjoyed it! I’m considering doubles for my own workouts and am reading as much as I can about it. A lot of different philosophies out there! I’m planning on taking it easy with one or two doubles a week and the double being around 30 minutes. I’ll see how I’m feeling during that day and the day after, adjusting from there.

    Comment by carpeviam — June 23, 2010 @ 14:09

    • Sounds like a great way to ease yourself into doubles. Very smart to let your body adjust like that.

      Comment by marathonmaiden — June 24, 2010 @ 22:55

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