“He’s going the distance. He’s going for speed.”

There’s an important topic that has been discussed and debated by runners. Even non-runners weigh in with their opinions on the issues from time to time.

As there’s another relatively important debate and vote going on – which, p.s. I’m beyond thrilled to be over – I thought it a perfect time to lay out each candidate and their stance on the issues, and let you, the readers, cast your vote.

Decision 2016: Which is better – Distance or Speed?

The Issue: Health

The Candidate: Distance

The Argument: How many times have you heard the cautionary tale that Distance running destroys your body? This statement, on its own, is simply not true. So many factors go into a person who has bad knees or weak hips or any of the other problems for which Distance running gets the quick and easy blame. These ailments aren’t caused by running alone; sure, they can be irritated by poor form, incorrect shoes, overtraining and lack of recovery work.


This type of elation at Mile 18. Yep.

Distance running is great for both physical and mental health. From weight management to heart health to meditation qualities, the health benefits achieved by distance running are tough to beat.

The Candidate: Speed

The Argument: Speed doesn’t get the bad rap like it’s opponent, Distance. However, Speed work can be harder on the body than Distance. That doesn’t mean Distance is the winner here. Speed runners simply need to take care they’re fueling and recovering well, not overtraining or pushing the pace with every workout, and listening to their bodies to stay in-tune and healthy.

And like Distance, Speed running is also great for physical and mental health. From increased metabolism to strong muscles to stress relief, the health benefits achieved by Speed running are awesome.

The Issue: Time

The Candidate: Distance

The Argument: In terms of sheer running workouts, Distance runners are going to put in more time. Obviously. There’s really no angle or alternative argument to make here on the pure running side of the debate.

In terms of cross-training, Distance runners need to put in time here too, as well as to recovery and rest. While strength training is important for Distance, I’ve found there isn’t the same amount of time and energy to devote to it, as compared to a runner not heavily focused on mileage.

The Candidate: Speed

The Argument: While Speed running workouts are shorter than their Distance counterparts, the time factor doesn’t end there.

In order to be their best, Speed runners typically put in more time with the weights. They also put in their hours cross-training, recovering, and resting.

The Issue: Pride

The Candidate: Distance

The Argument: There’s really no feeling like finishing a long Distance race. Whether half marathon or full, the amount of energy, tears, and emotions that go into the weeks or months training are matched by those same emotions in a condensed time span on race day.

Distance running is an accomplishment, not just at the finish line, but every long, hard run that goes into getting there.


These moments take a lot of work. Worth it.

The Candidate: Speed

The Argument: Running fast is an amazing combination of exhilaration and exhaustion. Like it’s opponent, Speed also boasts the feeling of crossing the finish line. Even better, winning a race, placing in the top of the pack or setting a personal PR are all feelings unlike any other.

Speed running takes impressive grit and the ability to dig deep – really deep – to achieve the final goal.
You’ve heard the issues at hand and the arguments from both candidates. Now, it’s time to cast your vote. Which is the victor: Speed or Distance? Comment below with your choice and why, or tweet me your vote @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

Are there other issues and arguments you’d like to see explored? Again, post a comment or always, ALWAYS tweet me your feedback! And please share this post on Facebook or Twitter with other runners who might enjoy.



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