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The Difference Between Short and Long Distance Running

The Difference Between Short and Long Distance Running

There are many different types of running, none of which are exactly the same. Each different type of running uses slightly different muscle combinations, requires different training methods and a different kind of diet. You now know this, but the majority of people do not. The common perception is that all types of running are the same. They do the exact same job and deliver the same results. But this simply isn’t true.

The two types of running that people tend to think are most similar are long distance running and short distance running. This is because it seems like the only difference between them is how long you run for. Short distance runners most commonly run in sprints of either 100 or 200 metres, whilst long distance runners run any distance between 400m and upwards.

This post will highlight the difference between these two running types, providing you with the information of how to excel at either.

They Rely On Different Muscle Fibres

Both short and long distance running places the most emphasis on the leg muscles. However they both used completely different types of muscles fibres.

Short distance running relies on the use of fast twitch muscle fibres, which contract rapidly, consume a lot of energy and as a result get tired rather quickly. These types of muscle fibres give short distance runners a quick burst of energy, which is then used to cover short distances in the fastest possible time. Fast twitch muscle fibres rely on anaerobic respiration to supply them with energy

On the other hand long distance running relies on slow twitch muscles fibres. These are the exact opposite of fast twitch muscle fibres. They contract more slowly so can work for greater lengths of time without getting tired and rely on aerobic respiration to supply them with energy. This is what makes these muscles perfect for long distance running.

They Require Different Qualities

Long distance running relies heavily on endurance also known as stamina. This is because the muscles that are being used have to function for a long period of time. Without endurance you simply would not be able to participate in long distance running as your muscles would give out way too soon.

Short distance running is the opposite as the muscles don’t have to work as long. Instead for short distance running you need to focus on power as this is what will allow you to run for short distances fast.

They Need Different Types Of Carbohydrates

The body gets its energy from carbohydrates, but long and short distance running require different kinds of carbohydrates.

Short distance running requires fast acting carbohydrates as this supplies the body with quick bursts of energy. These fast releasing carbohydrates are usually taken just before a run.

For long distance running slower releasing carbohydrates are needed. These types of carbohydrates are not taken before the run they are taken a few hours earlier. This is because it allows the energy to be released over a longer period of time making sure that the muscles are supplied with energy throughout the duration of the run.

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Written by Dora Novak, author of health and fitness related articles, she currently works together with Dualfit. If you want to know how to increase your vertical leap and jump higher, head over to their site.


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