By Physiotherapist, Paulina Backiel
Any type of physical training (including running) requires energy, which, in turn, requires a biological system that transforms energy into movement and/or power. By constantly running the same route at a leisurely pace, you are not utilizing your body’s full potential and may feel like your running performance has plateaued. Our bodies love to be tested/stressed by new challenges because it is how they learn, adapt, and grow.
So what does Anaerobic and aerobic training mean? What are the differences between both types of training?
To answer this question, we are going to jump right into learning about our human physiology.
Human Physiology, Simplified
The body has many systems, but we will focus on 2 main energy systems that our body uses to allow us to run:
Does not need oxygen to function
Bi-product: Lactic acid
2. Aerobic System (oxidative)
Needs Oxygen present to function
Bi-product: Carbon dioxide
Example: distance running
Should I be training both as a distance runner?
A 2017 article done by Bolotin and Bakayev shows evidence that increasing the variability in the type of exercises that you do allows your body to recover more quickly.
So, for example, runners that mixed up their runs with sprinting (anaerobic) and long distance (aerobic) showed fewer fluctuations between the systems that transform energy into movement (in this case the movement is running). Increasing the variability in exercises allows your body to utilize all of your energy systems more efficiently. In this particular study, the researchers call this type of exercise program “mixed,” meaning that runners do a combination of both aerobic and anaerobic exercises.
In my next blog, I’ll explain what types of runs you can do to try and target both systems, so stay tuned!! =)
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Bolotin A, Bakayev V. Method for Training of Long Distance Runners Taking into Account Bioenergetic Types of Energy Provision for Muscular Activity. InicSPORTS 2017 Oct (pp. 126-131).