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On Your Mark, Get Set, Run

By Melissa Gutierrez
Posted On May 24, 2016
On Your Mark, Get Set, Run

“On your mark, get set, go!” This phrase is all too familiar, but how many of us follow the inclination to get up and run at the sound of these exhilarating words?

Whether you are a marathoner, new to the track, or a couch potato turning over a new leaf, we would all do well to heed all the unique benefits that come with each different type of running.

In fact, according to the Department of Health and Human Service’s recommendations in the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, most adults should get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity spread out during the week.

In fact, intensity and duration are two major factors to consider when creating your tailored running plan. The intensity at which you run makes all the difference in how many calories you burn per minute.

Short runs at a fast pace is great for your lungs, heart, and metabolism, they also increase speed and strengthen muscles and usually burn more calories than slower pace jogs. However, you can expend the same number of calories by taking a longer jog than if you ran as fast as you were able to for a shorter time. Furthermore, running at a slow, consistent pace for almost an hour can calm your mind, burn tons of calories, and build endurance.

So, slow or fast running?

Well, time is also an important variable to consider when deciding your next run. If time is of the essence, then maybe running for a shorter amount of time, but at a faster rate is your best bet. If you have more time and want to work on endurance, running for longer at a slower pace will achieve the same caloric expenditure as the latter. Also, consider what pace is more appropriate for your current level of fitness.

Here is a list of a few running exercises to try depending on your goals.

Tempo Runs

Tempo runs improve a runner’s lactate threshold. In normal words, tempo runs are easy and steady and during these runs your body is breaking down sugars to fuel the muscles, which produces lactic acid. When running lightly, the body recycles lactic acid back into energy and efficiently expels the waste products. Tempo runs are great to extend endurance and the ability to maintain a faster pace to kill that 10k and half marathon on your bucket list.

 Recovery Runs

 After a butt kicking, weight lifting, melting-fat-from-your-hips type of workout, your muscles will have micro-tears from the forceful contractions that occurred while exercising; this is why we feel sore after a workout. The body heals these small micro-tears through the circulatory system, which delivers the oxygen and nutrients to the muscles that need repair. Recovery runs are essential to produce maximum results.

VO2 Speed Workouts

 In simplest terms, VO2 max refers to the maximum amount of oxygen the body can utilize during exercise. During VO2 max workouts, you are increasing the amount of oxygen the body is utilizing, which enables you to have a quicker leg turnover and improve your top speed. Speed workouts increase leg muscle strength and power, which reduces how much energy it takes to run at a certain speed.

Whether you run fast or slow, long or short, the important thing is to lace up, hit the ground (or treadmill for you gym rats), and run. Remember, there is always room for improvement; that’s why we run!