what type of running for fitness is the most efficent?

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what type of running for fitness is the most efficent?

Postby Asleep on a sunbeam » Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:37 pm

Now I'll put a few things down first:
power walking
jogging at a steady pace over long distances
running short paces very quickly
running for a short period of time then jogging for a short period of time, repeat.

Which one of these is best for building up fitness?

I'm guessing the power walking isn't but I thought I'd start the scale somewhere.

At the moment I'm jogging steadily for about 3 miles.
But someone told me I should run fast for 5-10 minutes, then jog for 5-10 minutes, then run etc.
Thanks for all replies :D
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Re: what type of running for fitness is the most efficent?

Postby ninearms » Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:41 pm

Running in order to be fit for what task?
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Re: what type of running for fitness is the most efficent?

Postby Asleep on a sunbeam » Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:37 pm

ninearms wrote:Running in order to be fit for what task?


Just increasing general fitness, general breathing efficiency.
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Re: what type of running for fitness is the most efficent?

Postby baldy » Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:51 pm

Its a fuzzy question, I would say I was at my "fittest" when I ran a marathon and was doing lots of long runs.
This could be quantified by my resting heart rate being lowest it has ever been (50bpm).

I do not know if I could stay that fit for an extended length of time.

Asleep on a sunbeam wrote:Just increasing general fitness, general breathing efficiency.

Swimming hypoxia training, OMG your lungs will scream.
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Re: what type of running for fitness is the most efficent?

Postby Asleep on a sunbeam » Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:28 pm

baldy wrote:Its a fuzzy question, I would say I was at my "fittest" when I ran a marathon and was doing lots of long runs.
This could be quantified by my resting heart rate being lowest it has ever been (50bpm).

I do not know if I could stay that fit for an extended length of time.

Asleep on a sunbeam wrote:Just increasing general fitness, general breathing efficiency.

Swimming hypoxia training, OMG your lungs will scream.


I think the resting heart beat is definitely something to do on.
There's no way I'm going swimming (unless I get a partner whose keen on it, then they can correct my techniques :P ).
I guess I'll keep trying to build up my distances by the looks of it.
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Re: what type of running for fitness is the most efficent?

Postby ninearms » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:34 pm

baldy wrote:Its a fuzzy question, I would say I was at my "fittest" when I ran a marathon and was doing lots of long runs.
This could be quantified by my resting heart rate being lowest it has ever been (50bpm).

I do not know if I could stay that fit for an extended length of time.


Fuzzy question indeed.

Long distance running makes you fitter for the task of long distance running (notwithstanding that you don't have to run long distances in order to be able to run long distances). It certainly doesn't make you fitter for the task of lifting heavy things, or running short distances very quickly (the inverse is true), or throwing objects for long distances, or jumping over tall things, just as winning the Tour de France on multiple occasions, having an 83.8 mL/kg/min VO2 max and a resting heart rate in the thirties doesn't make you a brilliant marathon runner. It's also complete overkill for the task of not dying from cardiovascular failure by the age of 40, which is what most people think of when they talk of being fit. You certainly don't need to run crazy distances in order to be fit if you're using resting heart rate as a measure - I've measured 45bpm off the back of 2 or 3 slow 40 min runs through the forest a week.

Once you get past a certain point distance running is really either a failure to realise how ridiculous it is and to stop accordingly, or the ability to carry on regardless of how ridiculous you know it is. It's like continuing to antagonise the Black Knight even though he's chopped all your limbs off :wink:

To answer the question though, for general fitness there is no need to perform running of any kind provided you lift heavy weights. If you want to be fit for a particular task then train accordingly.
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Re: what type of running for fitness is the most efficent?

Postby xrodolfox » Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:19 pm

if you define the question as broadly as "fitness" measured by low resting heart rate, then your responses are going to be very broad as well.

If you define the question much more narrowly, then you will get more useful answers.
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Re: what type of running for fitness is the most efficent?

Postby Asleep on a sunbeam » Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:49 pm

I guess I mean fitness merely for increasing health.
With heavy weights, is that not down to for instance, strength and technique?

I'm just generally a bit worried that I don't get enough exercise, and now that I've started doing some I'm hoping to be able to up what I do in a way that will firstly help me breath more efficently (greater oxygen efficency to blood transfer) and also get my heart rate down quicker from exercise to resting.

My general aims with exercise are getting slightly stronger core muscles and upper body. I wouldn't mind improved legs (I guess running will help with that).

Other exercises I'm doing are things like press ups (normal ones, miltiary press, and ones aimed at pecks), tricep dips, crunches, sprinter sit ups etc. (with arm based things I always try to go down slowly and up quickly).
As well as 'squats' (suing the term loosly).

Essentially I want to be in a state where I'll be confident to go back into martial arts, and also be able to utilise my body better (hence the core being mentioned) and for longer.
So I'm not that bothered about lifting things for instance.
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Re: what type of running for fitness is the most efficent?

Postby xrodolfox » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:52 pm

^ That is different than general "fitness".

If you want to breath more efficiently, then exercises which work breathing and high heart rates and all that are going to get you there most quickly. Swimming, when done with excellent technique, really is excellent for this. However, with poor technique, the benefits to breathing decrease.

If you want to to get your heart rate to go back to normal after excercising, it sounds like you need to do intervals. That can be done with just about any sport or fitness regimen, included weights, running, swimming, biking, etc.

If you want to increase mass in the upper body, you should do work that works that part of your body.

If you have good swimming technique (meaning you can do 10 repeats of 100yds on the 1:45 or faster), then I would suggest swimming. It works upper body, and certainly works the cardiovascular system. Heck, a simple set of 5 X 200's alternating IM and Free on 3:45 would be about perfect for a person who can make the 1:45 interval for free.

But if swimming is not your game, then just about any exercise where you can do intervals (for training your cardio system) and train your upper body while using your core as stabalizers will meet your needs.

That is not "fitness" for everyone, but seems like it would meet the goals you stated.
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Re: what type of running for fitness is the most efficent?

Postby Asleep on a sunbeam » Thu Mar 25, 2010 8:17 pm

xrodolfox wrote:^ That is different than general "fitness".

If you want to breath more efficiently, then exercises which work breathing and high heart rates and all that are going to get you there most quickly. Swimming, when done with excellent technique, really is excellent for this. However, with poor technique, the benefits to breathing decrease.

If you want to to get your heart rate to go back to normal after excercising, it sounds like you need to do intervals. That can be done with just about any sport or fitness regimen, included weights, running, swimming, biking, etc.

If you want to increase mass in the upper body, you should do work that works that part of your body.

If you have good swimming technique (meaning you can do 10 repeats of 100yds on the 1:45 or faster), then I would suggest swimming. It works upper body, and certainly works the cardiovascular system. Heck, a simple set of 5 X 200's alternating IM and Free on 3:45 would be about perfect for a person who can make the 1:45 interval for free.

But if swimming is not your game, then just about any exercise where you can do intervals (for training your cardio system) and train your upper body while using your core as stabalizers will meet your needs.

That is not "fitness" for everyone, but seems like it would meet the goals you stated.


I half hoped that, you know, I'd seem less newbish :lol: . C'est la vie.

My technique is awful swimming wise. That said I never had confidence, or you know, any muscle, so I might improve if I start.
Any particular stroke?
I think I might be able to manage front crawl/breast stroke (with practice at breathing).
And I'm probably flexible enough for butterfly, if I can get strength and endurance up that could be a long term goal (should I start).

I might try sprinting 0.3 miles, then jogging 0.5, sprinting 0.3 etc.

When sprinting if I got out of breath (as in really sucking the air) is that fairly bad, or acceptable?
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Re: what type of running for fitness is the most efficent?

Postby xrodolfox » Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:14 am

If you are concerned with your goals, don't do swimming unless you get a coach. You will not get much out of it... unless you have fun and enjoy it. :) Frankly, for intervals, any stroke works if you go hard enough. Most folks who go slower than a 1:50/100yds have a hard time really getting much out of intervals until they improve their stroke.

There are always exceptions, but those folks are easy to spot a mile away. They go apeshit hard and give their swimming 100% and really go like machines for the interval sets. Out of hundreds of swimmers I have coached, I have met exactly 3 folks like that over 10+ years. Only you really know if you can get your heart to 90% of your max and keep it there. Those folks who are that intense tell me they go so hard that it feels like their heart is going to pop out of their neck/head, and that their body screams "STOP STOP STOP". They then go a tiny notch below that intensity, where they feel uncomfortable and like they are going to vomit, and they stay there with the goal of staying in that uncomfortable place forever. And what happens, is that in spite of bad technique, they get better. And their body adapts. Next time around, they are doing faster interval. And they get better. Etc.

In swimming, we do these things called "Lung Busters". If you were here, and I got you to a decent freestyle, I would have you do those.

If running is your thing, sprinting *should* have you out of breath. If you aren't going out of breath, then you certainly aren't going to work on maximizing how efficient your lungs get. You need to get out of breath, catch it, get out of breath again, catch it, and repeat like 10X. Then you do that until you can do longer distances with less rest, and then you can do it 20X. Then faster and longer, until you can do it 30X... etc. That's interval training.

There are a million ways to make it more interesting, and thus, effective, but if your goal is to increase your lungs function, your recovery time, and your resting heart rate, then there is no substitute for doing lots of exercises where you work exactly that: your lungs.

You seem to have written up a simple set. Y x (.3 mile sprint+ .5 mile jog). That's a good start. Do it! See how it goes. Frankly, I find that it is much easier to do painful, repetitive stuff with friends and other athletes. Once you get started, seek out a team in that sport. I have quite a dozen times when I do stuff by myself, let alone the times I just half-ass it when I'm alone.... but I can't think of a time when I didn't give it at least 99% when I'm with others.

Good luck!
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Re: what type of running for fitness is the most efficent?

Postby Asleep on a sunbeam » Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:47 pm

xrodolfox wrote:If you are concerned with your goals, don't do swimming unless you get a coach. You will not get much out of it... unless you have fun and enjoy it. :) Frankly, for intervals, any stroke works if you go hard enough. Most folks who go slower than a 1:50/100yds have a hard time really getting much out of intervals until they improve their stroke.

There are always exceptions, but those folks are easy to spot a mile away. They go apeshit hard and give their swimming 100% and really go like machines for the interval sets. Out of hundreds of swimmers I have coached, I have met exactly 3 folks like that over 10+ years. Only you really know if you can get your heart to 90% of your max and keep it there. Those folks who are that intense tell me they go so hard that it feels like their heart is going to pop out of their neck/head, and that their body screams "STOP STOP STOP". They then go a tiny notch below that intensity, where they feel uncomfortable and like they are going to vomit, and they stay there with the goal of staying in that uncomfortable place forever. And what happens, is that in spite of bad technique, they get better. And their body adapts. Next time around, they are doing faster interval. And they get better. Etc.

In swimming, we do these things called "Lung Busters". If you were here, and I got you to a decent freestyle, I would have you do those.

If running is your thing, sprinting *should* have you out of breath. If you aren't going out of breath, then you certainly aren't going to work on maximizing how efficient your lungs get. You need to get out of breath, catch it, get out of breath again, catch it, and repeat like 10X. Then you do that until you can do longer distances with less rest, and then you can do it 20X. Then faster and longer, until you can do it 30X... etc. That's interval training.

There are a million ways to make it more interesting, and thus, effective, but if your goal is to increase your lungs function, your recovery time, and your resting heart rate, then there is no substitute for doing lots of exercises where you work exactly that: your lungs.

You seem to have written up a simple set. Y x (.3 mile sprint+ .5 mile jog). That's a good start. Do it! See how it goes. Frankly, I find that it is much easier to do painful, repetitive stuff with friends and other athletes. Once you get started, seek out a team in that sport. I have quite a dozen times when I do stuff by myself, let alone the times I just half-ass it when I'm alone.... but I can't think of a time when I didn't give it at least 99% when I'm with others.

Good luck!


My friends at uni are all...well...lazier than me with this sort of thing. So it'll be and my MP3 player. I can usually put myself into a sort of semi trance when running for long distance, probably because when I walk I walk listening to music, and I just go into my own little world.

But I'll look out for people.

And I'm definitely not one of those people you spoke about at the top. If something doesn't feel right I stop.

If I can get a girl or boyfriend who loves swimming, then that might help me improve me technique etc.
I'm going to get so nervous when I start doing the 0.3's. This is going to be fun (and then hell).
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Re: what type of running for fitness is the most efficent?

Postby xrodolfox » Fri Mar 26, 2010 4:30 pm

that all depends on how hard you go.
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Re: what type of running for fitness is the most efficent?

Postby Asleep on a sunbeam » Fri Mar 26, 2010 4:47 pm

xrodolfox wrote:that all depends on how hard you go.


I'm not sure what context that's in but I'll try to get that 0.3 done in like, a minute.

Maybe I'll push myself to do a 4 minute mile.
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Re: what type of running for fitness is the most efficent?

Postby Asleep on a sunbeam » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:21 am

just got back from my first 'interval' run.
Whose fucking idea was that I'm dead you bastards :evil: !

Seriously though, first 0.3-killed me
second, I was in a trance state, still well out of breath.
Third, still trance like state.
fourth, adrenaline pumped me a bit, but these 'paced sprints' take the life out of me.
After ward for a good 0.2 miles I'm jogging very slowly breathing really deeply. Then normal jog for the other 0.3, before a 0.3 sprint again.

The distance is the same from my last jog, but I feel I did it a lot faster this time.
that's 3.2 miles if anyones trying to do the math.
Not a long distance, but I felt like puking a fair few times, so I'll build it up slowly.
I'll post anything else on my log. Anything related to this technique I'll come back here for.

Thanks for all the tips everyone, sorry about the question being so fuzzy. I'm glad to at least have some more direction. This whole exercise thing is kinda new on me :lol: .
You're all a bunch of fitness NAZI's :P
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