Running has been on my mind a lot lately. Mostly I’ve been pondering my love/hate [okay, mostly hate] relationship with this activity.
I’m also trying to better understand why it is that I even care to keep running as part of my regime, considering I [mostly] hate it.
My hope is that once I sort all of that out I will be in a better position to decide how, or if, running actually fits in my life going forward.
I have much to explore on this topic but, in the spirit of brevity, I’m going to break my thoughts up into a series of shorter posts.
Does two qualify as a series?
No? Never mind then. Let’s just call it a two-part post on running.
The first question I started with is, why is running so important?
Sure it’s a great activity for cardio conditioning, but as I wrote in this post from March 2013,
I know running is not the be-all, end-all exercise in my weight-loss and fitness journey, but it certainly is the one activity that people seem to take the most pride in. Think about it. When was the last time you heard someone bragging about their killer workout on the elliptical?
My perception has always been that running is what makes a true athlete.
Runners are fit. Runners are healthy. Runners have low body fat.
Okay, maybe. But how many people are actually running when they claim they’re running?
As it turns out, I, for one, am not.
According to decals displayed on the treadmills at my gym:
- 2.0 mph is a walk
- 4.0 mph is a jog
- 6.0 mph is a run
Since I tend to ‘run’ at approximately 5.0 mph, I am not, in actual fact, running at all. I am jogging.
Oh. Okay. So maybe that changes things.
I decided to investigate, and found a great article on the Health Me Up site, titled: Is Sprinting Better Than Jogging?
As it turns out, there are many benefits to both sprinting and jogging — but let there be no doubt, they are quite different.
Since I know you are unlikely to actually click on the link, I’m copying the meat of the article here:
|Sprinting: Quick Results||Jogging: Slow and Easy|
Sprinting is a must do if you want to lose weight. This is because sprinting stimulates HGH (human growth hormones) and helps build lean muscle. This increases metabolism. Once your metabolism increases it stays that way for a long time and you will be able to burn fat even if you take a break from working out for a while. Time Sprinting takes less time.You can do quick 100 meter or 50-meter sprints in 15 or 20 minutes. All you have to do is sprint (run as fast as your legs can take you) for 50 meters, walk till you get your breath back, then sprint again for 50 meters and so on. Fat loss vs weight loss Sprinting is a pure fat loss tool. Sprinting does not eat into your bones for weight loss, nor does it eat into muscle. In fact sprinting adds to bone density as well as lean muscle mass, and sprinters though they look lean probably weigh a lot more than they look. Physical shape
A sprinters body will mostly be tight, athletic, toned, and lean. A sprinter mostly has flat tight abs and even female sprinters hardly have feminine curves, as their bodies are very athletic in order for them to run fast. High bone density and lean muscle mass with very little body fat percentage makes up a sprinters body.
Jogging helps you lose weight too but relies on the calorie in – calorie out method. So if you eat food high in calories you can burn it off by jogging. But this would mean that you would have to continue jogging all your life. If you continue eating your regular diet and if you stop jogging you will gain weight.
To burn the same amount of calories, you will need to jog for a lot longer. At least 45 minutes in a day of jogging will burn similar calories as compared to 10 minutes of sprints (as fast as you can run), thrice a week.
Fat loss vs weight loss
Running slowly for a longer period of time is more of a weight loss tool. Jogging burns the calories that you have consumed and jogging for long periods of time eats into your lean muscle mass. Therefore jogging must be supplemented with weight training and yoga to ensure that your muscle is conserved. Physical shape
A long distance runner or a daily jogger on the other hand may not have firm and taut bodies. Many runners, who are not professional, but run for the love of running, risk being skinny fat. A long distance runner will come across as thin but may have higher percentage of body fat as compared to their weight because running depletes bone density and lean muscle mass.
Let’s recap, shall we?
- Jogging may promote weight loss, but not specifically fat loss. It’s fat loss I’m after.
- Sprinting in intervals will get me to my desired calorie burn faster than a straight out jog. And I can finish the workout that much sooner.
- Sprinting will boost my metabolism and help me add more lean muscle mass. Jogging just sucks the life out of me. And hurts my knees.
Add to this list the fact that I really
hate don’t enjoy long, slow, laborious ‘runs’ that see me out for 50 to 60 minutes at a time and it’s a no-brainer.
It’s not me; it’s you.
You just don’t give me what I need.
Could there be more to my attachment to the idea of running than the physical and health benefits alone?
More to explore in part deux, mes amis.
Related post: See part two of this “series” here.