top of page
  • Writer's pictureDr Daniel Mogoai

Is Sprinting Better than Jogging?

Updated: Apr 12, 2023

Sprinting and jogging are two different forms of running, but both have vast health benefits.

Sprinting requires greater muscle strength and greater force output, because you require all out efforts compared to jogging, which is slower and generally performed at a set pace..


For sports, both sprinting and jogging are helpful and it’s important for athletes to know which one is most suitable for them at different times in the season to improve sports performance..


If you would like to know whether sprinting or jogging is more suitable for your sport, you can reach our Osteopath here.

athlete starting position for sprint

In this blog you can learn about:

  • When is sprinting better than Jogging?

  • 7 key benefits of Sprinting

  • How often should you perform Sprinting?

  • How many Sprints should you do each training session?

  • Tips to get started with Sprinting?


When is sprinting better than jogging?


Because sprinting is shorter and more powerful than jogging, it uses the ATP-PC and anaerobic energy systems.


Which is basically the fancy way of saying they use different processes to use different fuel sources..


In sprinting, type 2 muscle fibres are also dominantly used and produce force faster than type 1 muscle fibres used when jogging.


The energy systems and muscle fibres used when sprinting provide short rapid bursts of energy, which help athletes move faster in short distances…


But they also take much longer to recover than the aerobic energy system and type 1 muscle fibres that are predominantly working when jogging.


Think about incorporating sprint training into your strength and conditioning program if you're looking for a good strategy to run faster and be more explosive in your sport or when running.


In most field sports, including soccer, basketball, football and rugby, sprinting is beneficial for improving speed and will result in muscle growth and power development in the hamstrings, glutes, calves, and quadricep muscles.


For body composition and weight loss, sprinting will use high amounts of glucose and calories during workouts and leave longer lasting changes in metabolism to help decrease body fat and assist weight loss.

two athletes jogging on a path near the lake

7 key benefits of Sprinting

Here are some awesome advantages of sprinting vs jogging

  • Builds lean leg muscles

  • Trains the entire kinetic chain to work together

  • Increases ability of type 2 muscle fibres

  • Uses more energy in shorter periods of running

  • Increases anaerobic capacity

  • Prevents bone density loss

  • Easily performed with friends or team mates

female athlete training sprinting with A skips

How often should you perform Sprinting?

Because of the high intensity of sprinting, the muscles and connective tissues take large amounts of damage and require more time to repair than jogging..


Sprinting is recommended two times a week with 72-96 hours rest in between for adequate recovery and to reduce risk of injury.


How many Sprints should you do each training session?


Sprinting is typically performed at 100m, 200m and 400m distances, although anything shorter than 400m performed at a fast pace can be considered a sprint as it uses the same energy systems and muscle fibre types.


To begin sprinting, it’s best to begin with lower volumes (ie. 400-600 metres) per week and split them across your two sessions..


This will allow your muscles, ligaments and tendons to adapt to the increased intensity of training.


For example:


If you decide to do 500 metres of sprints per week, your two sessions may be split like so;


Session 1: Longer Sprints = 5 x 50m (250m)

Session 2: Shorter Sprints = 10 x 25m (250m)


Across the weeks, your body will adapt and you can increase the total volume per week.


If you’re an athlete, it’s important your program has on and off periods of sprints, similar to our female athlete program, to reduce overloading the body during competition..

female athletes sprinting on track for olympics

Tips to get started with Sprinting:


One of the most difficult things with sprinting is developing a good technique!


Good technique with sprinting does not only help you move faster, but it avoids injury as you have less contact time with the ground and therefore less damage to the body..


# Tip 1: Use sprinting warm ups that teach you technique also


A Skips

B Skips

Bounding

Skipping


Each of these drills can help improve ankle stiffness and teach you to be light on your feet.


A skips and B skips are particularly useful for understanding how to coordinate arm and leg movements prior to sprinting.


# Tip 2: Start the session with slower sprints and practice technique


If your maximal sprints are 90-100% then, warming up at 70-80% effort will allow you to move slow enough to coordinate arm and leg movements, but fast enough to feel light on the feet..


When moving too slow, it’s difficult to perform sprinting movement patterns because the technique is not necessary to move at slow paces


# Tip 3: Prepare to be sore and start your recovery early


Because of the power required by the muscles in sprinting, the whole kinetic chain, from the calves to the glutes to the obliques get a workout and it’s common to feel sore the following day.


To maximise recovery, make sure to foam roll and stretch through the posterior chain chain muscles, which include the hamstrings, glutes, calves and lower back muscles.


Additionally, food sources which are high in carbohydrates, protein and electrolytes can replenish fuel stores and enhance the recovery process.

For personalised information regarding sports nutrition, reach out to our Dietitian, who can help you understand how much you should be eating with the new increase of sprint training.

male athlete warming up on the beach for sprinting with A skips

Comments


bottom of page