Understanding Quality vs. Quantity and the Benefits of Cross Training

A big question we hear in the running world is: which is more important – quality or quantity? Fitbit Ambassador Dean Karnazes is a proponent of both. He believes that a combination of Long Slow Distance (LSD) and speed work are essential in providing balance and success to a comprehensive running workout.

“Quantity”, ie: LSD training, is running performed at a constant pace of low to moderate intensity over an extended distance or duration. The moderate training intensity of LSD is effective in improving endurance and maximum oxygen uptake. However, LSD training is not necessarily effective when used in isolation. Particularly for competing runners, who in order to achieve time and distance improvements will benefit from higher training intensities. This is where “Quality”, ie: speed work training, comes in to play.

The body, after all, has an uncanny ability to adapt to physiological demands. If you train at the same pace day after day, week after week, your body will adapt. However, if you break out of your comfort zone with some speed work training, your body will push itself to meet the new demands. This will translate to improved strength, faster times and overall, easier runs.

While both quantity and quality running are important, Karnazes also incorporates cross training into his training regimen, explaining that he utilizes “…cross training even on the days when I run. I only like to cross train using body resistance or body weight. There’s no need to use weights.”

Yoga, pilates, swimming and the barre method are just some of the possible cross training opportunities to balance your running routine.

Karnazes incorporates Bikram (aka hot) Yoga into his training regimen. “(With Yoga) not only are you stretching, but it is also a very physical workout so your heart rate is elevated and you are getting used to performing while you are over heated,” he says.

Karnazes is also a big proponent of burpees, referring to them as “the single best exercise you can do to get your heart rate elevated and utilize your muscle sets.” Relatively quick and possible to do on the go – whether in a hotel room, at the office, in your living room or outside – burpees are a great complement to running.

The cross-training concept of utilizing multiple muscle groups, stretching and strengthening various muscles, and exerting different levels of cardio within a workout, will help you be the healthiest, fastest and, most importantly, happiest runner you can be.

“From training time and pounding the pavement to tracking my nutrition and getting enough sleep, everything I do makes a difference on race day. That’s why you never see me without my Fitbit Ionic — a running watch from Fitbit that has built-in GPS, sleep tracking, onscreen workouts and more. It’s my go-to for all things fitness.”

SF Marathon runners can get one of their own with this special offer from Fitbit — the Official Race Wearable.

Named one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in the World” by TIME magazine for his long list of personal accomplishments, ultra marathoner Dean Karnazes is not only a record-breaking endurance athlete, but also a New York Times bestselling author and successful businessman. California homegrown, but world-renowned, Dean will be back again this year to run the UltraMarathon at The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon on July 29, 2018, sporting his trusty Fitbit Ionic to track yet another awesome athletic endeavor. Dean will be putting his cross training to the test on race day as he tackles 52.4 miles of Bay Area beauty.

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