Should You Sprint or Jog? Try Both!
In the running world, there’s often talk about whether you should sprint or jog. Most runners use a combination of sprinting and jogging in order to get the most out of their workouts. Sprint training provides many benefits that jogging can’t offer, but the same goes for jogging. Since they both offer unique benefits, it’s worth it to do both. However, if you’re trying to decide whether to sprint, jog, or try both, it depends on your overall goals. Let’s take a look at the overall benefits and limitations of each training style and how they relate to various fitness goals.
Benefits of Sprinting
- Sprinting allows you to burn massive amounts of calories in a very short amount of time. In fact, you have to jog for about 45 minutes to burn the same amount of calories you can burn in 10 minutes of sprinting.
- Sprinting fires up your muscles and increases your heart rate quickly, so you don’t have to spend as much time warming up.
- You can also use sprinting as a way to reach speed goals and take minutes off your mile because it forces you to push your body as hard as you can. When you continually push your limits, your limits grow, which is why so many athletes love sprint training.
Limitations of Sprinting
There are some downsides to sprinting, though.
- For one thing, sprinting isn’t sustainable. If you’re training to run a marathon you can’t spend all of your training on sprint exercises because your body won’t be able to handle it. Marathon training requires long runs that train your body to stay upright and functional for 26.2 miles, and that takes endurance. Since sprinting 26.2 miles is out of the question, you still need to jog while marathon training.
- Also, sprinting is hard on your body, so if you’re just getting back into fitness or you’re recovering from health problems, it’s probably not an ideal choice.
Reaching Your Goals
If you want to reach your fitness goals, you need to understand how your body works and which types of exercises will help you get the most out of your workouts.
Sprinting vs. Jogging For Weight Loss
If you’re trying to lose weight then sprinting should absolutely be a part of your workout program. One of the best parts about sprinting is that it stimulates human growth hormone (HGH), which means you’re building lean muscle throughout your sprint. The more lean muscle you have in your body, the more fat you lose thanks to the way muscle boosts your metabolism. Once you reach a certain level, your metabolism will stay at its increased state and be able to burn fat even if you have to take a break from working out.
That being said, you should also incorporate jogging into your workouts for even more weight loss benefits. Jogging is easier than sprinting, and you can keep it up for a longer amount of time. Ten minutes of sprinting won’t get rid of that cheeseburger you ate, but an hour of jogging will. Of course, your ultimate goal should be to lead a mostly healthy lifestyle, so if you’re watching your diet and jogging you’ll experience an even greater benefit.
Sprinting vs. Jogging For Abs
If you’re going for that six pack, sprinting is your best option. Since you only sprint for short bursts at a time and the intensity of the workout promotes lean muscle growth you’ll be able to build those abs relatively quickly. Jogging is a great exercise, but long-distance runners will tell you that running for a long time depletes bone density and muscle. Most distance runners have to supplement their diet with protein shakes so that they don’t lose critical muscle tone and density. Therefore, if building muscle is what you want to do, you should focus more on sprinting than jogging. Similarly, if your goal is bodybuilding you’ll be better off focusing on short sprints than long runs.
Sprinting vs. Jogging For Heart Health
Your heart will benefit from any kind of workout, but if you’re trying to increase your cardiovascular stamina, sprinting can definitely help get you there. By training your body to tolerate intense bursts of running for longer and longer periods of time, you’ll increase your heart’s ability to handle that kind of stress. Eventually, your heart will be more efficient, and you’ll be able to take on more challenging workouts. That being said, if you have any kind of heart problem or you’re not healthy to start with, sprinting might place too much of a burden on your body, so always ask your doctor before you start.
A combination of sprinting and jogging is usually the best way to go no matter what your goals are. I’ve seen the benefit of combined training in my own life. When I ran my first half-marathon I started out with a jogging-only training plan, but I kept losing strength and energy once the mileage increased. Adding sprint training twice a week significantly improved my strength, performance, and even took a few minutes off my overall time. It’s the best of both worlds, which is why I recommend and use a combination of both in my workouts.