The economy of running
|"Strength training improves endurance because it reduces the energy cost of running."|
We know that strength training improves running economy.is a physiological term that describes how efficiently you utilise oxygen when running at a given pace. For well-trained athletes, simply increasing the amount of running you do will probably yield very modest improvements, simply because you have probably gone close to maximising that area for improvement already. Adding strength training however is something that many have not done and so this is likely to open a new window of adaptation.
Strength training improves endurance because it reduces the energy cost of running. The load imposed on the body through landing becomes a lower percentage of what the body is capable of withstanding, simply because it is stronger. Think of it this way: when someone starts to squat, their maximum may be 80kg and they may be able to do 8 repetitions at 50kg before they fatigue. As they get stronger, their max increases to 100kg and they can now do 14 repetitions at 50kg and the energy cost of doing 8 reps at 50kg is much less.
The drills I’ll be using today are squats (primary exercise) with lunges, Nordic curls and box jumps (accessory exercises). In a soccer setting, it’s difficult to do controlled studies but I have seen enough over the years to know that this combination, particularly in young athletes, is a very effective one.
Speaking of young athletes, next week we’ll have a look at strength training for children and youths and discuss whether it’s a good idea or not.
'Til then, stay robust, amigos!
Injury andat Galatasaray FC. Holds a Masters in Sports Physiotherapy and a Masters in . He also lectures on the MSc in Sports Physio course at the University of Bath.
Running and swimming after illness – Any advice?
"I was an avid runner and competitive swimmer for most of my life. I was diagnosed with Lupus and Fibromyalgia 8 years ago and have struggled to keep exercise in my life. I miss running marathons. I used to train all year long, even at 20 below... ...but now I feel like a shut-in during the winter."
Peak Performance member Brenda is looking for advice on how to build her strength back. Can you help?
From our Talk Performance forum - Quick bursts of speed...
"Hey. I'm 23 years old and I just started playing 6 a side soccer again and realised something. I'm really fast. Much faster than most of my opponents. this confuses me as I've spent most of my life as pretty much a "couch-potato" kind of guy. So the fact that I'm outrunning a lot of people who look like they play regularly is confusing me. How can I stay fast and maybe get faster and also improve GREATLY on fitness."
Any advice on training regimes would be much appreciated.
Articles and Downloads
Running Economy: how to become a more efficient runner
In many sports, speed is an important attribute and ways to improve speed are sought after. In a simplistic view, to improve speed you need to increase stride length and/or strike rate. Many athletes and coaches initially concentrate on improving stride length only to find that both strike rate and speed decrease.
Strength training for distance runners
Canhelp middle distance runners run faster or further with no corresponding improvements in aerobic fitness? James Marshall looks at the evidence.