Long Distance vs. Short Distance Running

Long Distance vs. Short Distance RunningMost people who run tend to classify themselves as either long distance trainers or short distance trainers for their running habits. Long distance running is fairly self-explanatory and involves running for longer periods of time and usually for at least 1 mile. Short distance running involves sprinting and generally stays under 1 mile. Below, we’ll talk about both types of running styles and highlight some of the best aspects found in each type.

Long Distance Running

When thinking of long distance running, one often thinks of a run through the neighborhood or running laps around a track. Distance training places a strong emphasis on cardiovascular endurance and is largely aerobic exercise. Distance training is a great way to break a sweat and increase one’s heart rate. 1However, this type of training leads to the breakdown of muscle mass in the long run. Depending on your training goals, distance running may or may not be a good form of exercise to incorporate into your daily fitness routine. For athletes in need of cardiovascular endurance, such as hockey players or basketball players, it might be a good option. For those in need of quick bursts of energy with situations like a pitcher in baseball or a running back in football, short distance sprints might prove to be a better option.

Short Distance Running

A word often associated with short distance running is sprinting. Both are essentially the same, with short distance running generally consisting of running shorter distances with quick bursts of speed as opposed to long distance or endurance running. 2Interestingly, and perhaps contrary to popular belief, sprinting burns more calories than distance running in a shorter period of time. For example, burning 100 calories will take much less time when doing sprints than when running for long distances. Sprinting is a great workout for athletes looking to work on quick-twitch reflexes. 3With that being said, sprinting brings with it an increased likelihood of injuries due to the explosive nature of the workout. It is important to stretch properly before and after running while incorporating periodic rest days in order to avoid injuries.


Both sprinting and distance running provide great ways to workout and stay in shape. Depending on an individual’s goals, they might be better suited with one workout over the other. What is most important is to ease into the workout, no matter which type of training you choose to do. For both sprinting and distance running, make sure to stay hydrated and stretch out before and after workouts. There’s no rule saying you can’t do a combination of the two workouts, so don’t be afraid to mix things up every now and then with your running routine!



1 “Sprinting vs. Running: What You Need to Know”, Kindal Boyle, http://www.liftingrevolution.com/sprinting-vs-running-what-you-need-to-know/

2“Sprinting Vs. Long Distance Running for Weight Loss”, Collette Stohler, https://www.livestrong.com/article/261007-sprinting-vs-long-distance-running-for-weight-loss/

3“Sprinting vs Long Distance Running”, Matthew Smith, http://watchfit.com/exercise/sprinting-vs-long-distance/



Image Credits: https://www.pexels.com/photo/adventure-athlete-athletic-daylight-235922/

Post by Brandon Musto