Long distance running vs sprinting

Benefits of Long Distance Running vs Sprinting

If you want to know what’s better between long-distance running and sprinting, this article will show you the pros and cons of two these exercises.

Everyone knows that long distance running is a great way to stay in shape and lose weight. But most people don’t know the benefits of sprinting.

In this article you will discover the best training method between long distance running and sprinting #long #distance #running #sprinting #flabfix

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has popularized sprinting and now some people argue that it’s more effective than long-distance running.

Read on to know which of these two methods is more effective for weight loss, building muscles, and improving overall health.

Benefits of sprinting

Pros Cons
Better fat burning effects than running High injury risk
Sprints take less time to complete Requires high level of fitness
Builds more muscle mass Can cause cardiovascular problems
Sprinting increases bone density Longer recovery periods
Boosts human growth hormone
Increases speed and explosiveness
Sprinting improves heart health
Has higher metabolism increase
Burns more calories

As you can, the benefits of sprinting outweigh the risks. Now, let’s discuss the benefits and risks in detail.

Sprinting has better fat burning effects than running

Sprinting has great fat burning effects. In this study, researchers found that 2 minutes of sprint interval exercise, 3 times a week for 6 weeks had the same fat burning effects as 30 minutes of continuous endurance exercise.

These benefits were partly attributed post-exercise metabolism increase experienced after sprinting.

Sprints take less time to complete

Sprinting is a good exercise for busy folks. You can finish your workout in less than 15 minutes. Long distance runners, on the other hand, have to engage in one-hour workouts.

Sprinting builds more muscle mass

You’ve probably noticed that sprinters are muscular. That’s because sprinting increases muscle mass and strength. For one thing, the body uses a lot of muscles fibers (which are not engaged when doing other exercises) when sprinting.

The landing impact when sprinting is more than 3 times your body weight. So when done repeatedly, this high-impact movement forces your muscle to grow.

Lastly, this study found that sprinting boosts protein synthesis (a process that helps muscle grow) by up to 230 percent.

Sprinting increases bone density

Bone density reduces as we age. But it seems that sprinting can prevent this. Researchers say that high impact exercises lead to increased bone density and sturdier hipbones.

Make no mistake though, running also increases bone density. Only that sprinting is more effective.

Sprinting boosts human growth hormone

The growth hormone plays a vital role in our bodies. It stimulates protein synthesis, breaks down fat cells, boosts muscle growth, and increases bone density.

According to this study, sprinting can boost growth hormone levels. In this particular study, researchers compared growth hormone response in sprinters and endurance runners. They found that growth hormone response was higher in male and female sprinters compared to endurance runners.

Another study shows that 30-second sprints can boost growth hormone levels by 450 percent and keep it elevated for 120 minutes after the sprint.

Sprints increase speed and explosiveness

Sprinting is basically speed training. Plus, it engages fast-twitch muscle fibers which in turn increase your explosiveness. Sprinting can help you run faster and jump higher.

Sprinting improves heart health

According to this study, sprinting has the same heart health benefits as endurance training. During the study, one group performed four to six 30-second sprints, three times a week for six weeks. While the other group cycled for 40-60 minutes, five days a week for six weeks. At the end of the study, both groups experienced similar heart health improvements.

Sprinting has higher metabolism increase

Research shows that interval sprints boost metabolism and can even lower risk of diabetes. Sprinting has an ‘afterburn effect’ which keeps your metabolism elevated for hours after exercising.

Sprinting burns more calories

The number of calories you burn in any exercise depends on the duration of exercise, your body weight, gender, and intensity. So the number of calories burned when sprinting may vary from person to person.

Calories burned sprinting: According to research, you can burn up to 200 calories in just 2.5 minutes of sprint intervals. Now, the 200 calories aren’t burned in 2.5 minutes. In fact, only a small percentage of the calories are burned during the exercise. Most of the calories are burned later in the day due to ‘afterburn effect’.

Sprinting risks

By now you may think that sprinting is the king of all exercises. But it has a few risks you should be aware of.

High injury risk

Sprinters suffer more injuries than long-distance runners. In this study, 64 percent of sprinters reported having injuries while only 32 percent of long-distance runners had injuries.

Sprinting requires a high level of fitness

Most out of shape and overweight people can’t sprint. Sprinting is best suited for those who have been exercising for a while.

Can cause cardiovascular problems

Sprinting increases heart rate and this can cause cardiovascular problems for people with high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Steady cardio is safer than sprints for people with heart issues. But long-distance running can also cause heart problems. You may have heard of the 58-year old man who died of heart attack while participating in the New York marathon.

Longer recovery periods

You have to rest for 1-2 days for muscles to recover after a sprint workout. This limits the number of workouts you can do in a week.

Sprinter body

Bodies of people who sprint regularly look like this:

Male and female sprinter body

Benefits of long-distance running

Pros Cons
Improves cardiovascular health Muscle damage and inflammation
Long distance running builds endurance Requires a lot of time
Low injury risk Requires high calorie (carbs) intake
Running is good for beginners High risk of dehydration
Shorter recovery period
Strengthens bones, ligaments, and tendons
Increases VO2 max
Promotes fat burning and weight loss

Improves cardiovascular health

Long distance running is safe for people who don’t have heart disease. It strengthens the cardiovascular system and improves blood flow.

Realize that extreme long distance running can be fatal. But you have nothing to worry about if you run less than 20 miles a week, as this article explains.

Long distance running builds endurance

If you want to build endurance, long-distance running is your best bet. Running at a fast pace will give you the best results. Improving lung capacity will also help.

Low injury risk

As I mentioned earlier, running has lower injury risk compared to sprinting. You can avoid injuries by wearing proper running shores, improving your flexibility, eating healthy, staying hydrated, and warming up before every run.

Running is good for beginners

Running doesn’t require a high level of fitness and most out-of-shape people can run. But you may want to take it easy if you’re a beginner. Start with 20-minute runs then increase duration as you get fitter. Going for one-hour runs right out of the gate can cause injuries and inflammation.

Shorter recovery period

Unlike sprinting which requires at least one day of rest, you can run for two or three days consecutively without a problem. In fact, most runners only rest once a week.

But realize that factors like quality of sleep, age, and hydration determine how fast you recover. So listen to your body and give it a rest when it needs it.

Strengthens bones, ligaments, and tendons

Running will strengthen your bones, ligaments, and tendons. This will make it easier for you to perform more challenging exercises like hill sprints.

Increases VO2 max

VO2 is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can consume per kilogram of body weight per minute.

What I didn’t tell you about the 6-week study I mentioned earlier this that the VO2 of the endurance participants increased by 150 percent. But the VO2 of sprinters didn’t improve.

Running promotes fat burning and weight loss

If losing weight is your goal, running will definitely help you drop pounds. But as I said, sprinting has a higher fat burning effect.

Calories burned running: A 150-pound person burns approx. 11 calories per minute while running. That totals to 660 calories in an hour. Note that a heavier person will burn more calories. Check out this running calorie calculator.

Long distance running risks

Muscle damage and inflammation

Research shows that prolonged runs without rest (marathons) can cause damage due to prolonged muscle contractions. Another study shows that marathon runners experience inflammation up to 7 days after the marathon.

Requires a lot of time

Long distance running may not work for a busy person. You need to spare at least an hour for every workout.

Requires high calorie (carbs) intake

You can burn up to 3000 calories in a marathon. And the only way you can make up for those calories is to eat high-carb foods.

High risk of dehydration

Staying hydrated is a big challenge for long distance runners. In a hot day, a runner can lose more than four liters of water in a race, through sweating and exhalation. Dehydration weakens the immune system.

Long distance runner’s body

Most long distance runners look like this:

Runners body

Sprint workout for beginners

If you’re already fit enough to sprint, start using this 3-day routine. Get a day’s rest between the workouts. Don’t rest between sets, just jog back to starting position and sprint again.

Day 1: 50 meters – 6 sets at maximum speed – jog back to starting position

Day 2: 100 meters – 4 sets at maximum speed – jog back to starting position

Day 3: 200 meters – 3 sets at maximum speed – jog back to starting position

Long distance running workout for beginners

If you think long distance running will work best for you, use this 4-day routine.

Day 1: Run for 20 minutes at a moderate pace

Day 2: Run for 25 minutes at a moderate pace

Day 3: Run for 30 minutes at a moderate pace

Day 4: Run for 30 minutes at a fast pace

Final word

Sprinting and long-distance running have many benefits. Choose the training method best suited for your goals.

I prefer sprinting because it doesn’t take much time to complete. But I also do long distance runs every now and then. Feel free to combine these exercises.

Do you prefer sprinting or long distance running?

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