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  • Sprints and Distance Running



    Hey guys - Me again with another question:

    I have been following the PB plan now for about 3-4weeks and I have been eating low-carb and Lifting Heavy Things, HIITing It (ha!) And Sprinting. (10 sets of 20 second sprints followed by a 10 sec. slow-jog recovery. That sounds more like Intervals, now that I've written it.) ANYWAY, here's my question - Do you think Sprinting is a better workout than distance running? The reason I ask, is because I have a 15k run I want to do on March 13, 2010. I wanna know If I should continue sprinting, or do some longer distance stuff (Like a 3-4 mile run). IF the longer distance, I fear it turning into "Chronic Cardio."

    Any thoughts?


    Thanks!!


  • #2
    1



    Hey Casual Warrior,


    You should certainly keep up the sprint intervals. I did a post on my site about how Interval Training improves endurance better than endurance exercise. It is based on a recent scientific study...


    http://fitnessblackbook.com/aerobic-exercise/interval-training-improves-your-endurance-better-than-endurance-exercise/


    That being said...you will need to do some distance work to prepare your bones and body for the extended effort of your race.


    Also...one of the readers of my site made a great point about this study:


    "If someone wanted to improve their 5 mile jog time, then they should practice jogging 5 miles. If someone wants to increase their VO2 max, then yeah, intervals are great. I can assure you that endurance track athletes do not spend more time doing intervals than they do endurance-style training. Up until a few years ago, people used VO2 max to measure a person's endurance…but that line of thought has been discarded."


    So you still have to do some distance work.


    Hope that helps!


    Rusty

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    • #3
      1



      I'm a marathoner, and what was written above was absolutely right. Sprints help with metabolic conditioning, but you still need to do the long runs.


      Unfortunately, when training for a 15K (9.3 miles), 3-4 miles doesn't qualify as a "long" run. For that distance you'd want to cover at least 9 miles a few times and, preferably, have a couple of runs of 10-13 miles.


      The good thing is you have plenty of time between now and March. So my recommendation is to look at "move slowly" as your primary training for the remainder of 2009. Frequent hikes, jogs, and (if you're able) runs at 55-75% of your max heart rate (as Mark recommends) will build your aerobic base and make you a stronger fat-burning runner. Focus on the intensity, not the mode of movement. It doesn't matter if you're hiking, walking, jogging, or running. As long as you stay in that low heart rate zone, don't sweat it. At those levels of intensity it's not what Mark calls "chronic cardio." Keep up your sprint workouts and your lifting as those will help with your metabolic conditioning, but remember it's those low intensity workouts that are your primary training here. Primal eating will help you lean out, and even a 2-1/2 or 3 hour hike at these low intensity heart rates won't deeply deplete your glygocen stores, so ignore all the nonsense about carbo-loading, gels, and such.


      Once you roll into December you could think about adding one so-called "quality" long run each month - a run where you move just a hair lower than race pace for 7-9 miles. That'll give you the "race-specific" training that was touched on above without breaking you down a whole bunch. Be warned though, these runs will have more of an impact on your glycogen reserves. You'd do well to have some high-glycemic carbs (sports drink) during the run and some more shortly after but combine the post-run carbs with protein to spare your muscles (somewhat) from excess catabolism. Organic chocolate milk works very well for this. Also, expect those runs to take more out of you, so on weeks you go long and hard don't sprint and don't lift for a few days before and after.


      Otherwise just keep it up with a lot of the "move slowly" and your occasional lifting and sprinting. And, of course, eat Primally. (A celebratory post race libation will, of course, be excused). You'll kick butt on race day without compromising Primal life too much.

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      • #4
        1



        Could jogging lightly for a half hour or so be considered "moving slowly"? What exactly qualifies here?

        On a mission to help others master movement, build unbreakable strength, & eat MORE food (can't beat that.) Weekly fitness, health & nutrition articles at indulgentfitness.com.

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        • #5
          1



          per the PB it's keeping your heartrate in the 50-70% range (roughly), of course the better shape you are in the higher actual BPM that will work out too...eg one person may just be able to walk at a brisk pace, where as someone who has a running background may be able to jog/run at a good clip and not break this range

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          • #6
            1



            Depends on your heart rate. If you're between 55-75% of your max heart rate when you jog then a half-hour's jog (or even more) should be o.k. (See. "The Primal Blueprint" pp. 171-174)


            I'm a distance runner, and I can jog comfortably at those heart rates. Others may need to walk. The point is that the level of perceived effort is really low. You want your body to work a little harder than normal, just a little. Another point that's missed is that it doesn't matter a whole lot where you are in this zone. 55% is pretty much as good as 75%. You might get a little more benefit a little faster at higher heart rates, but the principle's the same. (FWIW I set my heart rate monitor alarms at 55% and 75% of my max and just try to move comfortably in that range and keep it quiet.)


            As long as you're moving in that range of exertion, it doesn't really matter what you do (See "The Primal Blueprint" p. 170).

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            • #7
              1



              Thanks for the clarification Geoff...did not have my book handy as a friend is borrowing it....

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              • #8
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                Thanks for the help, everyone. I must confess, I get a little confused with all of the 55-75% Heart rate stuff. (Not exactly sure what that means). I just did my first Triathlon in July, and wasn't really looking forward to grinding out more training - still enjoying life with shorter, more intense workouts, ya know? But, your response Geoff, was awesome. Thank you! I've worked out since I was in 5th grade and am prone to burnout. I have an All or nothing mentality - so, it's easy to get burnt out esp. when working out hard. . Shorter workouts, play days, rest. . I was just getting used to all of it.

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                • #9
                  1



                  And Rusty, too! Awesome response!! You all are da bomb!! Thanks!

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                  • #10
                    1



                    i have tried strenght training, bodyweight circuits, 7 mile jogs, and i have decided that i dont really want to be cut, or have well defined abs or chest etc, i am a bit on the big side with some muscle hiding under a bit of fat, if i engaged in only sprints 4 times a week, will i end up skinny fat or slim and toned. thanks thanks thanks

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                    • #11
                      1



                      CasualWarrior:


                      Scrap the distance running. If you 'have' to get in a 3 or 4 mile run, limit it to once/week.


                      Do your sprints at least 2 times/week. I would suggest taking a longer rest than you mentioned in your itital post. For example: run 100 yards and then walk that same 100 yards back. This will ensure that you are pushing as hard as you can during the sprint. Not allowing enough rest (but not too much) will hurt the intention of the sprint. Here's a great article on sprinting.


                      http://tinyurl.com/lb8lzr


                      Want extra benefit? Do it in a fasted state.


                      Hope this helps

                      http://sterlingadvice.blogspot.com
                      http://teambeachbody.com/coachster
                      sterlingpurdy@gmail.com

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                      • #12
                        1



                        I'm always confused by people who agree that chronic cardio isn't good for you, but they want to compete in a marathon, or triathlon, or whatever and need advice on how to sneak around the fact that you pretty much need to do endurance training to participate in an endurance event.


                        Why exactly do you want to do it, if you agree that it's not the healthy thing to do? Most people say they want the sense of accomplishment.


                        How about getting a sense of accomplishment from something healthier, like a new personal pull-up record or lifting something heavy?

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                        • #13
                          1



                          DM - In a sense you are correct. Traditional marathon training is "chronic cardio" and breaks you down, but, respectfully, traditional distance training wasn't what I suggested.


                          Mark defines "chronic cardio" as prolonged, repetitive steady state exercise happening "at heart rates above 75 percent and up to 95 percent of maximum." (See "The Primal Blueprint" p 174). As a marathoner who did Chronic Cardio for years I concur that it's not conducive to optimal health or gene expression.


                          What I suggested was very different than conventional distance training. I suggested CasualWarrior do the vast majority of his training in the "move slowly" heart rate zone - supplemented with regular lifting and sprinting - with only a very small number of so-called "quality" long runs, far fewer than most standard training plans for that distance would involve. As I see it, this is perfectly consistent with Mark's assertion that "If serious endurance exercise is a centerpiece of your life, I don't wish to deprive you of your passion. That's right go ahead and hammer that three-hour group ride or 15 mile trail run with the big boys or big girls once in a while....Just don't do it every weekend, or even every other weekend" ("The Primal Blueprint" p. 177).


                          Yes, Mark cautions against regular marathoning (and, with my commitment to living more Primally, the one I run this October will likely be my last), but if a 15 mile run is o.k. "once in a while," then certainly a 15K must also be o.k. "once in a while." Heck, Mark's given advice to someone looking to run across the U.S. that was actually pretty consistent with what I wrote (http://www.marksdailyapple.com/running-across-the-us/)


                          I think you raise a very good point that recovering Chronic Cardio addicts like me are well advised to find more healthful goals (as long as you don't rush into a serious lifting goal like increasing your 1 rep max dead lift). Regularly competeing in endurance events, with the high carb diet that is almost always required and the stresses of that training, is not conducive to full Primal living. Still if the 15K is really calling CasualWarrior, I think it would be better for him to train in a way that will maximize his performance in and enjoyment of the event while compromising Primal living as little as possible. Yes, I recognize that those longer runs I describe represent a compromise from Primal-orthodoxy (there, I said it! ha ha), but if he just sprints and hikes race day won't be fun for him at all.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            1



                            Dragonmama I agree with you. My motivation may be different. I need to get back into shape so I can enjoy my next fifty years. I can't wait for my weekly trip to the gym to see a new PB in the lifting and a few more pounds gone.


                            When I do my Spartan it is also based on a faster time. The rest of my training is walking, and once a week I try and throw in a few sprints.


                            Lift heavy weights, occasionally run fast and lots of walking... isn't that the primal way?

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                            • #15
                              1



                              I hear ya, Geoff. Exercise, like diet, is very personal, and we all decide where we want to compromise.


                              I can't help but think that most people have been brainwashed into thinking that finishing a marathon is a noble goal, no matter how crappily it's done! I'm sure most of us cringe when we see those videos of people dragging themselves across the finish line, even when they're in obvious pain and exhaustion. Gee whiz, why don't we just organize events where people flagellate themselves with whips till they bleed? As long as it's for charity, it's gotta be a worthy goal, right?

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