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All Running Is NOT Equal

All Running Is NOT Equal

  • Admin
  • Mar 12, 2019

If you're like most people trying to get into better shape and achieve a better level of fitness, you probably have some semblance of a diet, you probably do some sort of strength training, and you probably do some sort of "cardio," or cardiovascular training.

Cardiovascular training's main purpose is to raise an athlete's heart rate. There are countless different types of exercise that could be described as cardiovascular in nature -- including running, cycling and swimming. For this article, we will focus on running to explain how the differences in intensity and methodology of cardiovascular exercise are extremely significant. Keep in mind, though, that these differences apply to most forms of cardio, not just running.

Athlete A and Athlete B both run for 30 minutes three times a week. Athlete A follows a routine in which he runs intervals of very high intensity sprinting for one minute with two minutes of rest in between each sprint. Athlete B runs at a steady pace for the full 30 minutes, never increasing nor decreasing his pace. After six months, Athlete A is noticeably stronger, leaner and more explosive. Athlete B can run farther in 30 minutes than he could six months ago, but that's about it.

While it may seem that I'm criticizing steady-state running/cardiovascular exercise, this is not my intention. My intention is to make it absolutely clear that different intensities and methodologies of running/cardio produce different results. To be perfectly clear, I have tremendous respect for high-level marathon runners and I've spent many years of my life favoring steady-state exercise. However, for many of those years, I didn't understand why I looked more like Athlete B than Athlete A. I don't want you to remain similarly ignorant.

For the best results, you need to be constantly evaluating your training and making sure that it matches your goals. If your goal is to run a quick mile, your training should look vastly different than if your goal is to complete a marathon. Look into the benefits of running with different distances, paces, intensities and gradients. All running is not equal, but all running is useful. Make sure the running you're doing is the most useful for you.

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