Running is probably one of the most natural ways of moving for human beings. Our ancestors couldn't probably live a day without running, because their lives may have depended on their ability to run. They had to catch animals to feed their family or they had to escape an enemy.
Running is also one of the most common physical activities in modern times. People run all kinds of distances, from sprints to ultramarathons. It's fun and keeps us healthy.
Running is one of the most affordable ways of exercising.
I used to run a lot. For many years I ran at least 10K every single day, usually even more. I also finished numerous half marathons and three marathons.
Even though I don't run that much any more, long distance running definitely has its place in my training regime and in my heart. I find it very therapeutic. There are not too many better things than feeling the nice soreness and good appetite after a great long run.
Soreness is your muscles saying “thank you,” right?
However, right now I am focusing more on lifting and metabolic training. Long distance running keeps you skinny, but it doesn't do much to help you gain muscle and lean out – that's what I am looking for right now.
But running definitely has important role in metabolic training and muscle building, when in comes in form of sprinting.
Your sprinting speed tells much about your overall condition.
In decathlon, where the competitors complete 10 different events in two days, it's possible to estimate their condition after the first event, 100 meters run.
If the athlete is really fast on the first event, his overall shape is usually good too. Sure, there are nine more events and a lot of things can happen throughout the two day competition. But when the sprinting speed is not great, there's a good chance that the rest of the events are not anything spectacular either.
So what are the benefits of sprinting?
1. Compared to low-impact long running, sprinting is more efficient in terms of calorie burning. After short, fast sessions of running your body keeps up the burning mode even after you have finished your workout. By reducing fat, sprinting helps to change body composition.
2. Sprinting increases muscle mass and strength, especially in women. Also, lot of us want to get better glutes. Sprinting is a great tool for that. Look at those 100m runners!
3. A sprint workout takes remarkably less time than a long cardio session. Of course, when you are going to run a marathon, you need to get your long runs in – there's no other way. But if you are short on time, sprints are your thing.
4. Sprinting is shown to improve insulin sensitivity. Simply saying, if your insulin sensitivity is bad, there will be excess amount of insulin in your blood circulation that never enters your cells. The higher the level of excess insulin, the more fat stored. To lose body fat, it's important to keep your insulin level low – and this is where sprinting helps you.
5. Even though in this post I focused on running, there are so many other forms of sprinting. You can do it on a bike or rowing machine, by mixing in some spurts to your workout. Try a 12 minute workout on a stationary bike or rowing machine, starting out with biking or rowing 3 minute steady, then picking up the speed and sprinting for 30 seconds. Then lower the pace for one minute to recover, and do another 30 second sprint.
Finally, I put together a pyramid style sprinting workout that also incorporates some bodyweight exercises. Hope you enjoy it!
Running – yay or nay?
Do you do sprints?