By Baskaran Sekaran

In the late afternoon yesterday I found myself speaking with an old friend and in the wake of our conversation we found ourselves plunged into the topic of running and the efficacy of it for the average person, or non-long distance athlete. I am an outspoken anti-runner (unless one truly enjoys the activity or endurance sports). It isn’t that I hate it, I just believe it to be inferior to sprinting. With everything I do or I teach my students I keep the word optimization in my head. “Is this the best exercise we can be doing to get results?” Whenever I even think about running as part of my program it just never passes the optimization test.

Why you shouldn’t run:

– wear and tear on the body. I often hear, including from my friends yesterday that running hurts people’s knee

s. This could be caused by improper form, lack of strength, posture, etc. but it is also just a lot of continuous long term impact for the limbs to bear.

– Muscle type. Lets be honest with ourselves. Who do we want to look like? Endurance athletes tend to be skinnier and really exhausted. Sprinters do much less work, look much sexier, and happier because their workouts are shorter. Just look at the picture below!

– Energy utilization: the classic thought about running is that you burn fat, hence the “fat-burning zone” but I am here to tell you that it is a misconception. Yes, you primarily burn fat when you run. BUT, you have to run for an hour to burn 400 calories and when you stop the workout, the fat burning stops with it! When you sprint, such as in a hurricane workout; you burn closer to 600 calories and you get the afterburn. the Afterburn is a period of time (24-48hrs) AFTER the workout where you burn fat to recover from the HUGE disturbance you created in your body from sprinting.

Why you should run:

– If you love the scenic activity of being outside.

– If you are an endurance athlete.

– If it gives you stress relief or if running is the one thing that motivates you.

I don’t want to kill anyone’s running game, I just want to stress the point of optimization with you. Know WHY you do the things you do and think about if it is the best possible mode of exercise to reach your goals.