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I commute to work which is 3.5 miles away by running in every few days. I was wondering if this was enough with the occasional longer evening run on the way back to train effectively for a half marathon without having to run a single distance of 10 miles at a time?

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    While you don't necessarily need to run a half mary distance in training, you usually need at least some level of overdistance weekly mileage. It's also a good idea to at least have run the distance before to get an idea of pacing. Also, it might help if you stated your goals. Just to finish, or to get a good time? – JohnP Sep 18 '18 at 17:52
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Running twice a day versus once a day can be something of a divisive issue among runners. There are certainly pros and cons to each option. Running twice a day means

  • You can boost your mileage, if you don't have anywhere near enough time on certain days to do a run of your target distance.
  • It can be beneficial if you need to recover from a hard workout earlier in the day, just to get your legs moving.
  • In certain cases, doing two smaller workouts on a certain day can make speed training more effective.

That said, there are some things to be cautious of:

  • For newer runners, doubling is likely too much of a stress on bones and muscles.
  • Substituting two short runs isn't going to be nearly as effective as your weekly long run (e.g. 8 miles in the morning and 5 in the afternoon won't give you as much of an aerobic workout), which is crucial for longer races.
  • You need to make sure you're not just running junk mileage. I have, on occasion, used an extra morning run as a short shakeout, but I still focus on making it a quality run.

It's been said that running twice a day shouldn't be done until you're running more than 50 miles a week. I think I agree with that; if you average 7-8 miles a day, splitting up the mileage isn't going to get you runs with any extended aerobic benefit. The runners I know who double regularly are at about 70-80 miles a week, and usually opt for something like 3 in the morning and 8 in the afternoon (I've personally never felt the need to double below 60). That said, I know folks who do 70-80+ miles a week but only run once a day, and seem to have similar results for distances 8k and up (still on the shorter end of long-distance running).

To make a long story short, yes, you can run twice a day when training for longer races. If you're doing half marathon training, you're probably at (or going to get to) that 50-60 mile per week mark, so doubling may be feasible, especially if you've got a tight schedule. However, it's not a good idea to do it more than a couple times a week, and it definitely shouldn't be a substitute for most of your longer aerobic workouts.

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