Sprinting vs. distance running


Maura Dennis

Amanda Walsh on the starting block at a race

It has been almost a year since I decided to run cross country in college. I feel very lucky to have received the opportunity, seeing as I had only signed to the school to be a track and field sprinter and hurdler. But there was a spot on the team that I reluctantly accepted, despite not running off the track in nearly four years. The season was life-changing. I got healthier from my training, and I found a new passion in cross-country running. But I have not abandoned my “official” specialty. And I feel I have a unique perspective on distance vs sprinting. It is a rare occurrence to run both three-mile races and 30-second races, but alas, here I find myself. 

I knew that running cross country would help my sprinting from a physical standpoint. I would be able to get more effective reps in when I sprinted because I would have more stamina. And this current track season has definitely proven that true. I am having one of the best seasons of my career, and I attribute much of it to my cross-country experience.

Amanda Walsh running

As for the average person who is not an athlete, here’s what I’ve got to say: running is one of the best things that has happened to me. Before I considered myself a ‘runner’, running was a chore. But so quickly, I got the ‘runner’s high’. Guys, I’m so serious, it’s real. The first week of running regularly will be tough. But so quickly, you’ll feel so good, physically and mentally. You’ll feel accomplished. There are 24 hours in the day, and spending just 20-30 minutes of that day will have life-changing impacts, I promise you. 

Now, as for which discipline to try, sprinting or distance, I’ve gotta hand it to distance running. Don’t get me wrong, I love sprinting. However, I feel that distance running has more benefits for your body than sprinting does. In my experience, injury is less prominent. Speaking from experience, if you’re looking to lose weight, distance running will absolutely do the trick. But regardless of what you choose, what’s important is going out and doing it. Get into a habit! Even if you start with a fifteen-minute jog, you are doing more than you did if you just decided to skip the run. In my opinion, getting into a routine is the hardest part. What are you waiting for? Throw on those sneakers and get running, it’s the best decision you’ll make all day.