Back in my competitive days of high school cross country (o.k. so I was not super competitive here) and my college days in track, I learned first hand the rigors of weight lifting. Whether it was squats or bench press, the distance team always joined us in college. I decided to review this study to investigate the merits of weight lifting for distance runners. This was a review of five studies (meta-analysis) on the effects of running in very fit distance runners running a 5K to marathon. Some the of studies used explosive plyometrics and some a basic weight training program. All of the studies showed the runners had improvements in their running times overall.
What this means for your training:
If you are a distance runner, this is evidence you probably need some type of weight training added to your program. Find someone who has experience in proper weight lifting form, especially if you have never completed olympic type lifts. There are little tricks and techniques you can learn-such as how to arc a bench press properly, or how and when to use specific types of strengthening to help you peak. I know without a doubt, my form starts to go out the door when my muscles have been at their weakest. So grab a weight and start lifting and plan to show up at the line for your next race with a PR in mind.
J Strength Cond Res. 2008 Nov;22(6):2036-44.
The effects of resistance training on endurance distance running performance among highly trained runners: a systematic review.
Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
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(**This section is only a brief analysis of one or a few journal article(s) and the relation to running. When I am able to review more that are related to a specific subject, I will attempt to update and add information. Keep in mind every runner is unique).