May 2016

Strength training in runners has bonus benefits for physiological performance

In the moment: Sports medicine

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Long-term periodized strength training has physiological performance benefits in distance runners, according to research from the University of Limerick in Ireland.

Investigators randomized 20 competitive distance runners to a control group or an intervention group that completed a 40-week periodized strength-training program. A 20-week preseason training program, with two sessions per week, focused on building maximal and reactive strength. A 20-week in-season training program, with one session per week, focused on maintaining maximal and relative strength while building explosive strength.

Physiology, body composition, and strength were assessed at baseline and at 20 and 40 weeks.

After 20 and 40 weeks, the runners in the intervention group demonstrated significant improvement from baseline for running economy and velocity at maximal oxygen uptake—measures of physiological performance—as well as maximal and relative strength. The runners in the control group had no significant changes from baseline for any of the outcome measures.

The findings were epublished in April by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.


Beattie K, Carson BP, Lyons M, et al. The effect of strength training on performance indicators in distance runners. J Strength Cond Res 2016 Apr 21. [Epub ahead of print]

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