My last post on the aerobic metabolism does mean people should go out and start running 100 miles a week. In fact, in the same issue of the journal I cited is this article on sprints versus endurance. This research is a follow-up on a study from a few years ago that compared short sprints with traditional endurance training.
This new study contrasted 4 to 6 30-second sprints (separated by 4.5 minutes rest) with easy cycling. The sprinters worked out 3 days a week for about a half hour, while the other group performed easy cycling 5 days a week for 40 to 60 minutes.
The results showed similar metabolic adaptations for both protocols. It's amazing that the short sprints can provide such aerobic benefits, but it appears to be true. This shows that even though the aerobic metabolism may be of central importance, there are different ways to improve aerobic capacity besides pounding out the miles.