Why Are Workout And Race Times Different?

  • By Jeff Gaudette
  • Published Oct. 31, 2013
There is a lot of science behind improving your run times. Photo:

The Importance Of Mitochondria

Mitochondria are microscopic organelle found in your muscles cells that contribute to the production of ATP (energy). In the presence of oxygen, mitochondria breakdown carbohydrate, fat, and protein into usable energy. Therefore, the more mitochondria you have, and the greater their density, the more energy you can generate during exercise, which will enable you to run faster and longer.

Contrary to popular belief, you can increase the volume and density of your mitochondria with both long, slow runs (research study) and more intense training sessions (research study). This is one reason it’s critical to have a mix of training stimuli in your training plan, which includes long runs at both easy and faster paces as well as tempo runs and more intense VO2 max sessions. Neglecting one of these energy systems for a long period of time limits your long-term mitochondrial development.

RELATED: Should Your Strength Training Be Hard?

« PreviousNext »

FILED UNDER: Training TAGS: / /

Jeff Gaudette

Jeff Gaudette

Jeff has been running for 13 years, at all levels of the sport. He was a two time Division-I All-American in Cross Country while at Brown University and competed professionally for 4 years after college for the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project. Jeff's writing has been featured in Running Times magazine, Endurance Magazine, as well as numerous local magazine fitness columns.

Get our best running content delivered to your inbox

Subscribe to the FREE Competitor Running weekly newsletter