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Running: Can a long distance runner turn into a sprinter?

ByJamison White

3 min read

Running: Can a long distance runner turn into a sprinter?

Long-distance running is very different from sprint. It is interesting to see how athletes transition from one to the other but these have happened on only very rare occasions.

There are very different training regimens athletes in these two categories of racing have to undergo consistently to be good enough to either carry out a short-distance race or a long-distance one.

Sprint vs Long Distance Running

A major point that any young athlete seeking a bright future in racing (long or short) needs to know is that sprinting requires an innate ability to be able to do the sport in the first place. Sprinters are not just made. It is very difficult to find someone who was not quick in the first place to become a world-class sprint.

Practice is good but you need to be a very fast individual to consider sprinting at all. Noah Lyles, Divine Oduduru, Akani Simbine, Alyson Felix, and Elaine Thompson-Herah are some of the best sprinters in the world today. They practiced on their already existent innate abilities to run very fast and that is why they are world-beaters.

Long-distance runners are deliberate in developing stamina, muscular endurance, and cardiorespiratory fitness. Sprinters on the other hand are more concerned about developing their phosphagen system and growing fast-twitch muscle fibers. They do this by improving strength, power, and speed.

While long-distance runners are trained to sustain endurance, sprinters focus more on speed and strength.

How Possible is it to Turn Into a Long Distance Runner From Sprint?

If an athlete does not intend to go back to long-distance after switching to the short distance, he or she can go ahead. If it is the case of combining, that could prove very difficult because the former long-distance runner goes through when he switches will have a negative effect on the ability of the athlete to do long distance.

It is essential to know a lot about and also adjust as quickly as possible to the training when turning into a sprinter.


The Body Mass is Important to Do Well In Either Category

It may be difficult but possible for a long-distance runner to turn to sprint, at least biologically speaking. The body mass could be a crucial factor to look into whenever considering switching.


What Are the Characteristics of the Two Runners?

Generally, one of the characteristics of long-distance runners is that they are particularly skinny because of the number of calories they burn. The short distance runners are muscular because more muscles are needed to compete properly in sprints.

You will not find long-distance runners like Eliud Kipchoge or Sir Mo Farah with big muscles and tighs because they do not need to build that due to their area of specialty. Any runner with their kind of physique is most likely to be a long-distance one and switching to sprint would require work on speed strength and other training needed for a successful sprint career.

Researchers have confirmed the average 100m short distance runner is tall and has a good mesomorphic shape that possesses more than 80

fast-twitch fibers. Another thing to know when turning to sprint from long-distance running is that the best sprinters have relatively narrow hips and slim lower limbs, resulting in a biomechanical advantage for the sprinter.

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