While the preference for sprinting or jogging varies from one person to the other, with persistence and training we are all capable of both. In that case, you’re probably wondering – which running style is the best for you? Does interval training (sprinting) do more for your fitness level than jogging? Or is it the other way around? We reveal what the best strategy is for different individuals so you can start optimizing your workout sessions.
Maximum oxygen uptake
Maximum oxygen uptake or VO2 max is a standard measure of aerobic fitness. Those who seek to increase their VO2 max often wonder what kind of training is the best for them. Should you indulge in intense sprints or in slower long-distance running? While there is no definite scientific proof, recent studies have shown that high intensity interval training is more efficient at increasing the level of fitness. In other words, if you don’t have the time for long runs and want to increase your VO2 max, sprinting is the more practical option.
According to Galloway’s Book on Running, if your main goal is to lose weight, the recommended course of action is to run three times a week for about 40 to 60 minutes in one go. Longer running sessions, even if they are slower, are preferred because they help mobilize fat better than shorter jogs. The recommended hour-long running exercise can also incorporate short periods of walking, as long as you keep moving and keep your muscles active. When it comes to weight loss, Galloway also says that there isn’t much difference between sprints and slow running – on average, running burns about 100 calories per mile regardless of pace. However, you will burn more calories per hour if you run faster – since clearly, faster running means that you will cover more miles in a single hour.
Regardless of what you choose to pursue, remember one golden rule of running: to protect the health of your knees, avoid running on concrete! Instead, choose grassy terrain, forest/park paths or similar alternatives.