As a strength and performance coach, nothing pleases me more than when people are able to compete at the level they want to compete at. Whether that is returning to a high school sport post injury, training to make the College team or posting your personal best in a 5K fitness run or Triathlon; the drive to excel is what separates those that exercise from those that train.
For those of you that want to improve in endurance based events, I have some good news, recent research has demonstrated performance gains by modifying some training. Our first article discusses the importance of strength training on running economy and performance indicators. For those of you that have shied away from strength training as an endurance athlete for fear of becoming “too bulky” or slowing down or time commitments, the time may come to rethink how you structure your training. When incorporated, strength training does not lead to increase muscle mass (by itself), but does improve power, neuromuscular control, strength and running economy. You also don’t have to be afraid of lifting heavy; heavy strength training maximally improves those performance indicators. So, the next time you are at the gym, add some squats, lunges, hamstring work and plyometrics to your program; your running times will thank you.
Speaking of running, those looking to improve their sprint triathlon performance can tweak their running to achieve faster times. Triathletes in this article didn’t change their swimming or their cycling routines, but the group that undertook High Intensity Interval Training for their running routine improved their performance over those that maintained their running program. HIIT is similar to strength in that it improves work economy, power output and economy. These sprint type workouts with short recoveries stimulate exercise adaptation of tolerance to high intensity exertion. This translates into improved ability to work at higher training thresholds, resistance to fatigue and improved power output that can manifest in faster competition times.
A new year is a time to set goals, evaluate performance and try to become better. As an endurance athlete interested in posting faster times, this is the perfect opportunity to adjust your training to reach new heights. The addition of strength training and sprint based running has the potential to help you have your best race season yet.
Beattie, C., et al. (2017). The effect of strength training on performance indicators in distance runners. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 31(1): 9-23. http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/2017/01000/The_Effect_of_Strength_Training_on_Performance.2.aspx
García-Pinillos, F., et. al. (2017). A high intensity interval training based running plan improves athletic performance by improving muscular power. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 31(1): 146-153.http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/2017/01000/A_High_Intensity_Interval_Training__HIIT__Based.17.aspx
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*This site is for educational purposes only, it is not meant to diagnose, treat or replace medical advice. Before starting an exercise program always make sure that you are healthy and able to do so safely.*