If you have the time and energy to boot, running twice a day will help you burn more calories to reach your weight-loss goals. But running doubles, as runners call it, is about more than just burning extra calories -- if you're training for a marathon or are an elite athlete keeping shape during the off-season, running twice a day gives you benefits beyond just the burning of calories.
Calories and Fat
If you plan to dedicate yourself to running twice a day as a way of getting in shape, it's important to understand the connection between calories and fat. MayoClinic.com reports that one pound of fat equals 3,500 calories, which means that if you want to lose a pound, you'll need to burn 3,500 calories beyond what you consume. The idea of burning 3,500 calories might seem daunting, but if you aim to create a deficit of 500 calories per day between diet and exercise, losing a pound per week is reasonable.
One key to burning calories quickly is to pick the right activity, and running is an exercise that burns calories faster than most others. A 185-pound person who runs 5 miles per hour for 30 minutes will burn 355 calories. If this person can increase her speed to just 5.2 miles per hour, she'll burn 400 calories during the run. By running twice a day, this person would burn 710 calories at 5 miles per hour or 800 calories at 5.2 miles per hour.
Running twice per day is about more than just doubling the calories you burn. According to Competitor, running twice daily better prepares your body when training for an event such as a marathon and helps your muscles recover faster. Additionally, according to an article that appeared in the Journal of Applied Physiology, when you train twice per day, your glycogen content, fat oxidation and enzyme activity increase pushing you to get fit faster. A simple reason to run twice daily is your time considerations; if you don't have time for an hour-long run in the morning before work, run for 30 minutes and then try another 30-minute run in the evening.
Experienced athletes often turn to twice-daily runs to prepare for upcoming competitions, but if you're a recreational runner, think twice before committing to two runs a day. Running Planet warns that running twice daily can increase your risk of developing an injury and may cause you to feel burned out. The website notes that unless you've chosen to run to acutely focus on fat loss, running once per day is likely enough.
- MayoClinic.com: Exercise for Weight Loss: Calories Burned in 1 Hour
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
- Harvard Medical School: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- Journal of Applied Physiology: Skeletal Muscle Adaptation and Performance Responses to Once a Day Versus Twice Every Second Day Endurance Training Regimens
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.