Most people who consider themselves runners fall into the category of distance runners. They grind out two to ten miles, a couple days per week and are perfectly content in doing so. Personally, I have enjoyed some time running distances on trails in Wissahickon Park near my home. It had always been a good release, a reason to be outside, and it probably carried some aerobic benefit that has transferred into CrossFit. Jogging was fun, but I wasn’t getting all of the benefits I could have been.
Human beings are wired more for sprinting; short intense bursts of running. Think about our ancestors, and the reasons that they had to run. Whether it was to catch dinner, or to avoid becoming dinner, they generally didn’t do so at a conversational pace. They did so as fast as they could. Modern society makes things a little easier for us, but we should borrow something from our ancestors and implement into our fitness regimen.
Sprinting has an anabolic effect, meaning it can build muscle and burn fat even when you are being inactive. So if you spend 20 minutes doing sprint intervals, then head inside and catch up on reading some blog posts, you’re still benefitting. It also increases your overall output capacity by pushing your systems limits. This is helpful for CrossFit training and some real life events. I don’t know about you, but if I’m ever in a bad situation that I need to get out of, I’m certainly not going to jog, so I might as well train that way.
Running is great, and any kind of running is better than nothing. So if running is your passion, stick with it, at whatever distance you like. But if you’re not training for a marathon, and want to change your body type while preparing for whatever life might throw at you, run as fast as you can once in a while.