Why I Love Shortcuts…And Why They Don’t Work

Let me confess one of my guilty sins: I love articles that explain shortcuts to anything, even running. All my life I’ve been wanting to write an article titled “Run Twice As Fast With Half The Training.” I just can’t figure out how to do it. (I could probably manage “Run Faster On Half The Training,” but not right now.)

I also adore lists. Let’s see, what would be a good one? How about “10 Ways To Cut 10 Minutes From Your Marathon Time”? Yeah, I would read that article. I’d also be skeptical about the claims.

I’m even more skeptical about 7-minute workouts. Sorry. Not going to happen.

Here’s why: You can’t get 60 minutes worth of kilojoule burn from seven or four minutes worth of exercise.

The math doesn’t even come close. Any runners who exchange their four-times-weekly 10km runs for four seven-minute workouts are going to burn at least 4000 fewer kilojoules per week. Which will lead to a weight-gain of five kilograms in a year. Minimum. In one year. Try multiplying that by a couple of years.

And if you gain five kilograms a year, there’s no way your endurance fitness or health is going to be better than it is today. No way. So what exactly have you gained by following a 7-minute program? Beats me.

Sure, you could consume fewer kilojoules. That would keep your weight-gain in check. But that approach is much harder than it sounds.

A better way: Keep doing those relaxed 60-minute runs.

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