This type of training has gained a lot of popularity lately and actually made the long run, considered the staple of runners’ training regiments, fall to the wayside. On the other side, this is easier to understand, since a long running session is pretty difficult to integrate into a schedule, not to mention that some trainers claim that they’re unnecessary.
Oh, but they are so wrong.
High-intensity interval training has its benefits, nobody can doubt this, as you end up losing a lot of weight and improve your strength, alongside endurance and stamina. But the truth is that an extended running session is crucial to a well-rounded fitness program.
Let’s get a bit in-depth on the topic and see some of the biggest benefits long runs can have on your health.
It builds running efficiency
No other training technique will teach your body to burn less fuel at the same speeds. This is a concept known as running economy, very important if you’re after performance, as it allows you to run for a longer time before you will start feeling fatigue.
Basically, if you never go for long runs, you won’t be able to build running efficiency. And don’t we all want to be efficient when going out for a jog?
It establishes aerobic plumbing
Let’s break down this relatively unknown concept: in short, your body will process oxygen in a better way by increasing blood volume, as well as building muscle enzymes, creating dense capillary beds, and finally, adding bigger and numerous mitochondria.
Yes, HIIT can bring similar benefits, but your muscles and joints will be more stressed, not to mention that you can burn out or get hurt quicker. Running for extended periods, instead, builds a base that allows you to actually do more work in the aerobic zone.
It strengthens your mind
We know, you weren’t expecting this benefit of long runs, but it’s actually too important to skip it. Training for longer races will also improve your mental stamina, needed for a steady effort. Always taking breaks, like during HIIT, won’t bring the same results from this point of view.
As a final thought, it’s worth mentioning that no matter how much of a fan of long runs and exercising you are, never go overboard. Look for balance, as the best training includes both intense interval workouts and long, steady runs.
If you want to change your lifestyle but don’t know if high intensity interval training or long runs are for you, you can always pay Fitness 360 a visit. Here you will find a full service health club facility, for all ages and lifestyles, where you will definitely get the guidance you need to start a more active life.
Picture Credit: skeeze