The difference between ‘Training’ and ‘Exercising’

Many people enjoy running as their primary form of exercise before ever thinking about running an event or race. Other people only begin running consistently in the build up to an event. Which ever group you belong to, there must be a distinction between running training and running as exercise. Exercise describes the process of moving about for the sole purpose of using energy (i.e. ‘burning calories’) and in order to maintain qualities such as mobility and flexibility. This isn’t an elitist opinion – it doesn’t affect me either way if you want to run only for exercise, that’s a good a reason as any. There are however more efficient/less time expensive methods if reducing body fat or burning calories are your only aims…

Training suggests a greater purpose, more meaningful. It isn’t really any more important – maybe to you personally – but you aren’t changing the world. However, you are changing yourself, your abilities, and your performance. That’s the key difference. Training means consistently trying to improve. If you only exercise then you record nothing, measure nothing and improve…nothing (ok maybe your exercise feels a bit easier, so are you fitter? Can you run further? Faster? Without measuring, how will you know?).

A big problem we see in the injury and rehabilitation setting are runners who used to only exercise, sign up for an event and think only exercising will allow them to get there and perform well. If you plan on running further or faster than you ever have, then you must also have a plan. You are starting at ‘A’ and want to get to the finish line un-injured ‘D’ but you haven’t planned to do ‘B’ and ‘C’ in the process.

Be smarter than the average. TRAIN Smarter... Run Faster.


Guest Author: Alex Adams BSc, ASCC, CSCS

Alex has worked in the fitness industry for 11 years, working with clients ranging from elite athletes to general population. Currently based at Performance Pro in London, Alex coaches olympic weightlifting and strength and conditioning as well as presenting and tutoring on both subjects.