Sprinter Vs. Marathoner

Sprinter Vs. Marathoner

difference between marathon runner and sprinter


I am really a big A-Hole for not posting content on this blog constantly. But, I hope you guys do understand that for a student to complete this task is actually really hard. Before I start this article I would like thank you guys for all the positive feedback that I’ve been getting. You guys are amazing !

Anyway, enough jibber jabber let’s get started.

You have probably heard this question  A LOT: “How come sprinters and marathon runners look so different, why isn’t there a great bodybuilder to explain that to me!?”. Ok maybe not exactly like that but you get the point.  Honestly, I believe that the answer to this question will also answer the difference between people who spend up to 2-3 hours at the gym and people who spend about 40 minutes and why the second one is a lot better especially if you are trying to build muscle.


The answer is pretty simple – They practice different sports. It’s endurance (marathoner) vs. explosive strength (sprinter). The answer is in the way these athletes train their muscles.

What you guys need to know about muscles is that they contain different fibers called “fast twitch” and “slow twitch”. Are you baffled ? Don’t be you will understand what I mean in a second.

The SPRINTER will primarily use his fast twitch fibers in his muscles. These react instantly and work super fast but the problem is that they quickly run out of energy. When trained “Fast twitch” fibers become big and heavy (which explains the physical appearance of the sprinter)

On the other hand a MARATHONER uses mostly his “Slow twitch” muscle fibers they are not as reactive and speedy as their “Fast twitch” brothers but they can work non-stop for hours. The problem is that no matter how much you train these fibers you will never see any gains in size and mass.
*Fun fact, scientists have concluded that the human kind is the one animal that has the highest endurance rating from all animals.

When running both athletes perform differently. But of course it is indisputable that their performance on the running field is not only important from the physique of their lower body, their upper body also plays an important role.


For the SPRINTER to be able to burst from the starting line and maintain the good rhythm while running, he needs balance. In other words his upper body needs to have mass as well. TO do so the sprinter will workout with heavy weights at the gym. That’s why the sprinter looks very muscular. And because of the fact that the sprinter has to perform for a couple of seconds the added weight is trivial.

The MARATHONER on the other hand is a whole different story. Every pound in his body has to be carried around for a total of 42 kilometers. He gains a lot of benefits by being light. So all excessive muscle mass and fat has to be shed in order to boost his performance when running. That’s why he looks so skinny.

Of course we must not forget that genetics play an important role. A normal person will have an even amount of both fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibers (50/50). But the people who make it to the top are tend to have more of one kind –  20/80 or 80/20.

I hope you have enjoyed this article.


John Gregory

I am a 26 year old fitness enthusiast who has spent the last 9 years studying, learning and experiencing of the world of fitness. I have decided to share my collected knowledge in the field with my readers in hopes of making lives easier.

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