Who Builds More Lactic Acid: a Sprinter or a Jogger?

Woman at starting line

Sprinters build more lactic acid than joggers. Lactic acid is a by-product of the energy-producing processes which predominate in high intensity exercise, including sprints. At intensities below 50% of one's maximum oxygen consumption, lactic acid buildup is reduced.

Aerobic Jogging and Anaerobic Sprinting

Lactic acid is a by-product of anaerobic metabolism, a biochemical process which uses limited energy sources for moderate to high intensity exercise. Jogging, especially at a slow pace and for long distances, is primarily aerobic, and utilizes a greater array of energy sources. Some lactic acid can build up during a long jog, but the level of lactic acid is generally less than the lactic-acid buildup during sprinting. An anaerobic activity, sprinting is performed at high intensity for a short burst of energy expenditure, utilizing primarily sources whose energy production results in lactic acid as a by-product. Lactic acid levels cause increased respiration, such as during and immediately after a sprint -- the carbon dioxide exhaled is a by-product of the body's neutralization of the increased acidity. Anaerobic conditioning can raise one's lactic acid threshold and/or the rate of lactic acid removal - the removal process occurs during and after the workout.