When you mix jogging and sprinting in one workout, you engage in a type of interval training. Interval training sessions can be spontaneous, where you decide when you want to sprint and when you want to stop sprinting. Or, they can be more structured intervals based on the time or distance traveled during the sprints. Both types of interval training can offer numerous benefits to all levels, from novice joggers to advanced runners.
Workouts that mix jogging and sprinting can improve your aerobic fitness. In aerobic exercises like jogging, your body uses oxygen to turn carbohydrates into energy. When you engage in aerobic activities, your body makes new capillaries so that oxygen can be delivered to the muscles efficiently. These new capillaries will allow you to jog for longer durations without becoming tired.
In anaerobic activities like sprinting, your body converts the glycogen stored in your muscles into energy. This conversion does not require oxygen. One of the by-products of anaerobic activities is lactic acid, a substance that makes your muscles feel fatigued. While your muscles will still become fatigued as you improve your anaerobic fitness level, you will be able to sprint at a higher intensity. Engaging in anaerobic activities helps you build muscular strength and speed.
Because you don’t let your body rest completely in interval training -- a process known as active recovery -- your body must become more efficient at recovering from the anaerobic sprints. It is forced to remove the lactic acid build-up quickly in preparation for the next burst of activity.
The mixture of aerobic and anaerobic elements builds your endurance, speed and strength. Because these benefits can translate into the ability to jog for longer distances or for longer periods of time, interval training is well-suited for people who are training for their first race or who want to try a longer race for the first time. For more experienced runners, mixing jogging and sprints can help improve race times.
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