Running Versus Tabata Workouts

In this day and age we have so many choices in workouts. We have DVDs, machines, classes, and various equipment. There are more ways to get your daily exercise than there are people at the gym on any given day, and that is really miraculous.

But, how do you choose? One critical consideration to take to heart when choosing the best workout for you, is to find something you enjoy? This is so because the truth is that no one will stick with exercise or anything else for that matter that they don’t find interesting and enjoyable.

So, if you are someone who enjoys running and have made it a part of your regular fitness routine, great, now we will throw a wrench in your plans and make you think about Tabata.

Running versus Tabata workouts—which wins? The answer isn’t cut and dried. Bringing your heart rate up for half an hour every day is good for your heart, and that’s an important benefit of a steady state exercise like running.

But, Tabata exercise is good for your heart too, for the ultra-intense exercise that is its trademark really stimulates every part of your body.

On the one hand, traditional running will be easier on you. On the other hand, Tabata will give you the results you want in far less time. But there’s another tradeoff, of course; far less time, but, far more energy expenditure.

Maybe you wanted energy expenditure in the first place. We like to think of burning off that fat with minimum pain, but, that is not Tabata. Since it makes up in intensity for what it doesn’t have in time, a four minute Tabata session may be the most intense, most painful, and longest four minutes of your life.

You thought it was painful to go on a daily run? Think again.

Running Versus Tabata

Tabata training is not limited to a particular kind of exercise. The key is the way the exercise is organized; 20 seconds of maximum exertion followed by ten seconds of rest, just enough time to give your body what it needs to go to maximum again and do it eight times over.

Still, in Dr. Izumi Tabata’s landmark study he proved that a full hour of steady state exercise done at a moderate intensity level (think; a basic run) five days delivers far less results over a six week period than four minutes of exercise following his protocol, done four days a week for the same six weeks.

The results in the levels of physical conditioning that his two test groups achieved weren’t even comparable. The high intensity interval training group was miles ahead, in both aerobic and anaerobic conditioning.

Just because the Tabata method gives more results, it doesn’t mean you need to throw out your running shoes. You can do both Tabata and running at the same time. The Tabata method is not a workout so much as a protocol that can be made to fit any workout. You can use it for running, too.

To use the Tabata method to revolutionize your daily run (and condense it to four minutes a day, exclusive of any warm up or cool down you feel like doing), all you need to do is get a stopwatch or interval timer.

What you’ll have to do is sprint at your personal best speed, just as if it is the Olympics, crowds are watching you, and you’ve got exactly twenty seconds to prove you’ve got the stuff.

Twenty seconds, that’s all you have for this first sprint. When twenty seconds are up, you stop, rest ten seconds, and then you’re off like the wind again. Twenty more seconds of Olympic glory.

When you repeat this for eight rounds, eight rounds of twenty seconds on-ten seconds off. The trick is that the eighth round has to be just as high-intensity all powered as the first.

If you manage that, and your first round was the best you can do, you’ve got it all. You’ve just completed your first Tabata Running Workout, and your body will thank you, it really will at some point, after it’s finished killing you with muscle pain.