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How Body Type Can Dictate Your Sport

Well runDisney has taken up most of my blogging time these past few weeks.  Last week was the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and this week was the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend.  I’ve been taking a break from running for a while, but I still LOVE Disney races, so I’ve been following all the fun and cheering on my friends along the way.  But all this running madness did get me to thinking…  

I recently saw this video on the difference between a sprinter and a marathoner.  It basically comes down to explosive strength vs. endurance.  This does apply to both sprinters and marathoners, but it also applies to numerous other athletes as well.  Where do I fall? 

Sarah-Sprinter-Marathoner

Sprinters train their muscles to react quickly and use short bursts of energy to achieve quick goals.  They need total body strength and muscle.  All that muscle gives them explosive power to run fast, lift heavy things and push extra hard, but it also adds weight, weight that makes it quite difficult to run a marathon.  That’s why these athletes excel at sports like sprinting, rowing, weightlifting and speed skating.  

Marathoners on the other hand do not need those strong, explosive muscles to run long distances.  They keep their weight down and train their muscles to carry them for long distances.  Speed and strength isn’t as important as endurance.  Besides marathons, these athletes excel at other sports like cycling and cross country skiing.

Well I don’t really fit into either category, but I definitely lean more towards sprinter than marathoner.  Yes, I’ve run a marathon but it was far from an easy task to complete.  I’m not exactly what you would call “light on my feet” and while I can endure many miles it’s not very fast.  My energy tank runs low fairly quickly.  I’m just not built like your typical runner.  Look at my friend Marc for example, tall, thin, fast, and runs ultra marathons…he’s your typical marathoner.  

Marc-Bigbie

I’m somewhere in between.  I have great explosive strength that allow me to lift heavy and I have increased my endurance to get me through half and full marathons, but I don’t completely excel at either.  And due to my genetic make-up, I probably never will.  I can train my muscles to be better in one area then the other, which is what has been happening with my CrossFit training.  I’ve been focusing more on lifting weights and slacking on my running, and I have seen a definite decrease in my endurance because of it.

Princess-Half-Sarah-Marc

So yes it’s genetics, but you can also train you body to excel in one area or the other.  Do you want to run marathons?  Focus on endurance and put in the time with some long runs.  Do you want to sprint or lift heavy things?  Work your entire body and build your strength.

Where do you fall?  Do you excel in one area or are you more 50/50 like me?  

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2 Responses to How Body Type Can Dictate Your Sport

  1. Oh my, there’s 20+ lbs difference between those 2 pics! LOL

    Also wanted to point out that even though I consider myself a “runner” and do long distances, I do cross train. At 43 and with distances getting even longer, I’m finding out more and more why I HAVE to do things other than just go run.

    A strong core is essential so I work on it a lot, it pays off when you’re at mile 30 with a long way to go. There are lots of little muscles that just don’t get enough strength while running as well like the glutes, hip flexors, the soleus, and shoulder/traps. So I still do lots of squats, deadlifts, rows, presses, and various leg raises. Stretching is starting to get implemented more as well.

    I could stand to lose a few more lbs so I don’t mind the slight increase in muscle since I know I need it and I’m far from trying to bulk up, it’s the midsection where I can balance the gain by shedding a few more lbs. But don’t think that athletes just do the sport they do without good overall strengthening, we just do it differently from others.
    Marc B recently posted…The Facebook Problem – It’s ALL of Our FaultMy Profile

  2. I’d like to consider myself more of a sprinter, but I think that’s based on build alone, given that I’m super slow. I think that I’ve decided that i’m not a distance runner, and I don’t even really enjoy it. And if it weren’t for runDisney, I doubt that I would even attempt!
    I’ll stick to Crossfit. Turns out I’m stronger than I would have thought.
    Kendra recently posted…Tinkerbell Half Marathon RecapMy Profile

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