When can you run two days back-to-back?

Question for you folks. I've (almost) always had a rest day or two between my runs. When I was at the chiropractor this afternoon, she asked if I had been running consecutive days. I told her I didn't out of fear of injury. She said that I shouldn't be concerned about running back-to-back days unless I'm hurting (and of course, if they are not crazy intense days).

Any thoughts? There are times that two days in a row would be great due to weather, work, increasing the mileage per week differently from a long run etc. And I've seen some running plans that do have run days back to back.


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23 Replies

  • Yes - there are running plans which have back-to-back runs - but these are commonly for intermediate runners - those who have been running for some time. Even then back -to - back days often follow the HARD then EASY rule. So a hard day doing fast intervals might be followed by an easy slow run. Generally, for people starting out on C25k, their musculature /ligaments/bones are not accustomed to the high impact forces that running has and hence there is usually a rest day in between each run. There is no need to hurry the learning and strength building process. You don't even have to stick rigidly to each week - a week could flow over into the next week if necessary.

  • Bazza says it all. I read somewhere that you should run regularly for a year before you consider running on consecutive days, which seems a bit arbitrary. I have done it, for instance, a fast 5k followed by a gentle run of the same distance the following day, with no ill effects. It can't be worse for you than doing a hard 10k all in one go, surely.

    The other major considerations are your age and general condition, which obviously influence how quickly you recover. If you err on the side of caution, then I am sure you will be fine. Otherwise, how on earth is anyone here going to catch Juicy Ju?

  • I run both Saturday and Sunday at the moment because of the weather and lack of light. I don't run particularly fast so both days are quite gentle but sometimes it is a 5k parkrun followed by a 10k. When I first started running in my 40s I used to run 2 miles every morning I didn't know about rest days then and I wouldn't recommend every day. I think if you are sensible the odd days of back to back can't be too bad; though often I don't run as well on the second day.

  • Can't add much to the excellent advice above; running consecutive days is fine as long as you're not pushing yourself the whole time, just listen to your body and ease off if you start to feel discomfort. Start gently, with a shorter, slower run the day after one of your usual runs and you'll be fine.

    When I took up my challenge at the start of the new year, I was a bit concerned about running consecutively for so long, though I had been doing two days back-to-back for a while; I'm finding it more mental and psychological than physical, by a long way, but 27 days in now with no obvious ill effects other than being a bit tired.

    Running consecutively will be fine; give it a go, take it steady (it may take you a bit of time to get used to it) and report back, but I'm sure you'll be fine. Good luck. :-)

  • I started running four days a week for my HM plan and I agree with Miles in that it is mentally more tiring than physically! My plan has me doing a long run, rest day, short/gentle run, followed the next day by a fast run and it has been fine physically.

    Logistically it is sometimes just easier to run back to back days. You're experienced enough to know your own body after running so try it and see how you find it.

  • I MUST apologise for my post - I did not see that you are a C25K graduate - I was thinking that you were actually doing C25K . Please ignore most of my posting, it probably doesn't relate to you too much now.

  • There is nothing wrong with back-to-back running, as long as you listen to what your body is telling you about pain/discomfort etc. However, when I did it, I found that I was 'falling out of love' with running, and I enjoyed it far more when I ran one day, and cycled the next. You may be different, but that is my experience.

  • Yes I was thinking alone those lines Sal. You'd get fed up I think as it would seem relentless. I like to let my body have a rest between runs, and at 57 I think I need it

    If you run with your dogs though then that's something else and you're probably fitter than the rest of us who don't.

  • What I find slightly weird is that you were visiting a chiropractor (presumably not because you just wanted to be told what perfect shape you are in) and she asked you if you are running back to back.... and then said there's no problem with doing that.

    My brother is a good runner and he never *trains* two days in a row but he does *compete* on consecutive days. (He also stays off road as much as possible, although not having his own car, some road running is unavoidable)

    My feeling is that during the programme it is vital to observe non-running days - psychologically as well as physically. We've seen enough gungo-ho types on here, they never seem to get to collect their graduation badge. But after that there's going to be no magic about it, just a question of balance, lots of factors that will be different for everyone. There's a difference between 'running every day' and 'running on consecutive days' and there are probably difference between people choosing to do each - it may be the driven types who are most at risk of problems because they have an impaired ability to rest when needed, if that makes sense?

  • I also found it odd that the chiro would question my adherence to run one day, rest the next. I'm glad that sounds strange to someone else.

  • A couple of years ago, a year after graduating, I was on hols in France in an area with lovely flat trails through pine forests. I decided to treat it as a "training camp" and ran 10K on each of 10 consecutive days. Some days were hardish but overall it was perfectly fine, with no injuries, and I think it did my stamina a lot of good. So listen to your body and if runs on consecutive days feels OK...go for it.

  • That sounds rather heavenly. So many different factors!

  • I'm doing a 'Miles'. I've been streaking since Thanksgiving (well the Tuesday before as the Monday was my last planned rest day). Still going strong, but after back to back 10ks at the weekend and the big 10k coming up on Sunday I'm only running short runs this week before work, 2.5 to 4k (unless I fancy a sneaky 6k). I'll back off and keep to the 2.5k route until my time comes down a bit (I run slower when my legs are tired) then do a 4k, then back down again and parkrun on Saturday, 10k Sunday. Tired legs? Yes, but not excessively so, but if I stop now that number (which is 2/3 of the way to triple figures, hopefully) goes back to 0. Too much to lose.

    Yes, I know I'm obsessive. It must be my mid-life crisis. I can't get a motorbike, had one of those for years, a fancy car doesn't do anything for me so..... What else do people (women) do for mid-life crises?

  • Hi Beads, :-)

    Hmmmm. I have a motorbike. Am I having a MLC?! :D

    Glad to hear you're still enjoying the running streak. How are you finding it mentally? Physically I'm absolutely fine, I think, but do get tired although that's probably because I spend all day driving and don't get as much sleep as perhaps I should. No major issues really; the first 5 days were the most difficult mentally but I just settled into it after that. Quite strangely I find it easier than having rest days; it was often tempting to shuffle rest days about when I had them but now it's not an issue as, well, I haven't got any rest days, so I just get on with it!

    I too am having an easy week; 3.33K yesterday, 3.5K today, around 2.5K tomorrow, and so on all week; I hit 61K last week and it's been about that each week all month, so this is my Low Mileage Week (LMW) as I have a race on Sunday, but all in all I'm surprised at how comfortable it has been.

    Nice to meet another streaker. :D You're doing brilliantly - an inspiration! I'm on day 27. How long are you keeping on for? My challenge is to run every day this year but when (thinking positive!) I make it to that target, I can't see me wanting to stop. As you say, there's too much to lose. I can't envisage stopping now, let alone then. I'm into it now and only a major catastrophe will get me to stop and even then it'll have a bloody job on its hands in doing so, if I've anything to do with it!

    I don't think you're obsessive; it's a brilliant thing to do, and a lot of fun, as I'm sure you know by now! The thought of it is the most daunting thing, I find; it's a lot scarier than actually doing it!

    Happy streaking - do please keep us updated. I'm very interested in how you're getting on with it. :-)

  • I was off the 2 weeks over Christmas and new year. I averaged just under 50k the first 3 weeks of December, then hit 77k Christmas week (10 miles the Sunday before Christmas, 14 miles Boxing day contributed a lot of those ks) and 69k New Year Week (my weeks run Sunday to Saturday), had a relatively easy week the first full week of Jan (back at work really affects my mileage) of 49.9k (yes, if I'd known I could have snuck the extra 100m in!), then for some reason (can't think why it might have been) but last week I was rather tired, only managed 29k, mainly short runs. Up to 24k already this week though, but only another 3 days to go.

    Physically, after slightly overdoing it I was rather tired; but mentally I'm not having a problem, though I do wish the mornings would hurry up and get lighter so I can vary my routes somewhat and get off road a bit more.

    Re the motorbike and MLC: how long have you had your bike? What is it? That's the thing isn't it, they reckon men get their midlife crisis and get a motorbike or sports car or something similar; what are those of us meant to do that have been riding bikes since our teens? By the way, my poor bike failed his MOT and is currently languishing in the shed waiting for hubby to get round to dealing with whatever he failed on, which unfortunately will be after hubby fixes his own bike.

  • Funny. I'm convinced running is my mid life crisis.

    Your dedication to daily running is really impressive. I love running, but not enough to dedicate myself like that. Very cool.

  • Running isn't my mid life crisis, but the Insanity class that I started last week (last week was a taster session, I did the first of the 6 week course tonight) just may well be. Though I did run rings round some much younger people!

  • And it's not my dedication to daily running that's impressive so much as my dedication to eating everything I can! If I run I can have cake!

  • I was running to my limit 4 times a week including 3 consecutive days and was always getting injuries. I got shin splints which didn't heal for about 6 months despite taking periods of up to 3 weeks off from running. It is a case of listening to your body and don't push too hard. Cross training and stretching exercises should also help to curtail injury.

  • I have read that "Masters" runners need longer time for recovery after a hard workout. I think that "masters" are defined as being over 40??? - so I am not sure where that leaves me at 68??? Maybe I will create a new class of runner - "Silly old Fogey" ??

    Anyway , I have been running every second day now for the past 2 months. I am doing a 16 week programme that calls for 4 days per week of running - so my running week is 8 days . After I have finished it, I will move up another to another 16 week programme which calls for 5 days per week - so my running week will then become 10 days. I still get to carry out the required daily tasks --but just over a longer time period.

  • I like that 'title', master. It suggests I'm an expert in something! Much better than 'veteran' (my parkrun age category is WV45-49 (women's veteran)), makes me sound like one of the old crocks (vintage cars) which stubbornly attempt London to Brighton the first Sunday in November!

  • I did the RunStreak from Thanksgiving until New Year's Day. I didn't do long runs, and I found it a) quite boring and b) quite hard on my body. I was also running through quite a bit of snow and ice which didn't help matters. However, I went to my chiropractor for work on my shoulder after about the first couple of weeks and asked what she thought. She gave me advice on mixing up my running so that some days I was working on speed, some on stamina and some on hills. She gave me exercises to do (core, hip and knee) to strengthen everything (and tutted when I admitted I wasn't doing them to start with).

    I should point out that I'm not in the peak of fitness to start with, and by the end of it I was knackered. It has really made me appreciate my rest days - and at the same time, it increased my fitness and running speed and stamina. So I wouldn't do it again for such a long time, but I wouldn't hesitate to do some back-to-back runs. Hope this helps!

  • Thanks for all of your replies. I think I'll throw in the occasional extra consecutive day when weather/mood/cabin fever dictates I should. And I'll make sure to run easy. I'm happy to hear the whole spectrum of advice and experiences. I guess it fundamentally comes down to monitoring your body.

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