Over the years I have had many engaging debates with runners and coaches over training programmes, best approaches to improvement and adjusting training as we age. In the end we ended always seem to come back to three conundrums that are all intertwined:
- Hitting a plateau in your running is tough (and hard to break out of). This is appears to be doubly true as we age and our previous bests seem to disappear deep into the distance
- Many runners work by the maxim – “if some is good then more MUST be better”. The logic appears to be that if I can increase my mileage by X percent then surely my “fitness” will improve and my times will drop.
- Gym work “myths”:
- takes up time that could be better spent running
- makes me big and bulky (not conducive to running)
- makes me too sore to run well
WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH SAY?
Beattie. K. et al (2016) did an examination of a 40 week strength training programme used on competitive distance runners. Their major finds where that:
- there were significant increases on maximal strength and reactive strength
- running economy improved
- vVO2 (velocity at maximal oxygen uptake) improved
- the above improvements occurred without an associated hypertrophy
Damasceno, MV. et al (2015) found that after 8 weeks of strength training twice a week runners improved their speed to in the “middle to end phases” of a 10km run – the result of which was a better overall performance.
Tiapale, RS. et al (2010) studied recreational runners and found that strength training 1-3 times per week for 28 weeks elicited an improvement in VO2 Max for these runners.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME?
If we head back to our original 3 conundrums and look at them in terms of the research we can find that:
- Strength training can improve running performance
- Increasing mileage is not necessarily the only way to improve performance
- Choosing gym sessions and running sessions may in fact maximise performance rather than diminish it.
WHAT SHOULD I DO?
- Make regular use of a gym
- Set aside regular training time for strength training
- Find a qualified and experience strength coach to guide you in integrating strength training into your training programme
- Keep an eye out for our upcoming blog on how to utilise plyometrics in your strength programme to further boost your running performance.
For more information on how Strength and Conditioning programmes can help you improve your sporting performance go to www.damnfitsc.com.au/strength-and-conditioning