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I live about 3.2 miles from where I work, and the most efficient way to commute is running there in the morning and back in the evening.

  • Is 2 runs a day 3-5 days a week healthy?
  • Does it increase my risk of injury?
    • Especially repetitive stress injury?
    • I've had problems with this before from long-distance running in my ankles and knees
  • Would it be better to alternate between running and biking?
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If you start to feel sore, you could always walk or jog at a really slow pace, to reduce the strain. Besides, how experienced are you and what's your current fitness level? For example, a marathon runner probably wouldn't have trouble with such short runs (other than fitting it in their schedule) –  Ivo Flipse Jan 12 '13 at 9:11
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1 Answer

up vote 9 down vote accepted

It depends what you're doing right now. If you're not running that much right now, then yes, starting to run 3.2 miles, 2x per day will increase your risk of injury, specifically overuse injuries (like stress fractures, iliotibial band syndrome, achilles tendonitis, for example).

However, it is possible to build up to that amount of load safely. There's a runner's rule that says do not increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% per week. Strength training that loads the entire body (barbell squats and deadlifts) would increase your bone density to lower the risk of stress fracture if that's something you're particularly worried about, but the 10% rule should be enough to avoid that.

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+1 for an excellent answer. The only thing that I would add is addressing the repetitive injury. If you build up to it as Kate suggests, then there are only two things that can really cause it. A higher intensity than you are used to, or else your shoes need to be replaced. I run in somewhat minimalist shoes, but mine need to be replaced about every 300-350 miles. You will wear them out faster if you also use them to walk around in every day. –  JohnP Jan 13 '13 at 2:24
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