Strength training speeds up 3k and 5k runners too


You don’t need a university degree to realise that sprinters can benefit from doing strength training. But you might not have expected that runners who do 3 and 5 km can also improve their times by doing strength training. Nevertheless, sports scientists at Appalachian State University suspect this is probably so.

The researchers monitored 33 runners who competed regularly. The group consisted of a variety of runners: for 60, 100, 200, 800, 3000 and 5000m. The researchers measured the fastest times for all runners of these distances.

Then the they got their subjects to do the 3-jump test. For this the runners had to keep both feet together and then jump forwards as far as possible, three times consecutively. The researchers then looked at the distance the subjects ran.

They found that the shorter the distance the runners covered, the further they were able to jump. The sprinters jumped on average 8.24 m, the middle-distance runners jumped 6.59 m and the long-distance runners jumped 5.61 m. All quite logical so far. Jumping requires explosive strength, which is also what sprinting requires.

But there was more to the story. The researchers discovered that the times for all distances were shorter, the further the relevant runners could jump. Among the sprinters the relationship was 1 to 1, for the runners in the 800, 3000 and 5000 distances the relationship was not so strong, but nevertheless noticeable.



“Due to the significant relationship found, strength and power training should be considered for both sprinters and middle- and long-distance running event athletes”, the researchers conclude.

In fact, considerable experience has been built up doing strength training for runners and trainers have developed specific training schemes for endurance athletes. One way is to start with a phase in which runners develop strength by doing squats. In the second phase strength is converted to speed using plyometric exercises such as jump squats.

Relationship between jumping ability and running performance in events of varying distance.

Hudgins B, Scharfenberg J, Triplett NT, McBride JM.


Neuromuscular and Biomechanics Laboratory, Department of Health, Leisure, and Exercise Science, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, USA.


Running performance consists of a combination of aerobic and anaerobic capabilities, varying based on the distance of the event. It may be also dependent on factors relating to lower body power. Lower body power is commonly assessed by various modes of jumping tests. The purpose of this investigation was to determine if jumping performance would have some relationship to running performance in different distance events. This study involved 33 competitive track and field runners who participated in events ranging from 60 to 5,000 m (10 sprinters: height = 1.72 ± 10.26 m, mass = 67.80 ± 10.83 kg; 11 middle-distance runners: height = 1.77 ± 0.08 m, mass = 64.40 ± 8.02 kg; 12 long-distance runners: height = 1.73 ± 0.11 m, mass = 60.42 ± 10.36 kg). All subjects were competitive NCAA Division I athletes. Subjects were tested on a single occasion in a 3-jump test (TSJP), which was the distance covered during 3 two-leg standing long jumps performed in immediate succession. Time in the 60, 100, 200, 800, 3,000, and 5,000 m was obtained from recent race performances. The mean TSJP for sprinters, middle-distance runners, and long-distance runners were 8.24 ± 1.32, 6.59 ± 1.23, and 5.61 ± 0.88 m, respectively. The mean 60, 100, 200, 800, 3,000, and 5,000 m performances were 7.28 ± 0.78, 11.25 ± 0.87, 23.47 ± 2.25, 127.17 ± 15.13, 562.09 ± 60.54, and 987.65 ± 117.19 seconds, respectively. Significant correlations (p ? 0.05) were observed between TSJP and running performance for all distances (60 m: 0.97 seconds, 100 m: 1.00 seconds, 200 m: 0.97 seconds, 800 m: 0.83 seconds, 3,000 m: 0.72 seconds, and 5,000 m: 0.71 seconds). The strength of the correlations, in general, was strongest to weakest based on event distance from the shortest distance (60 m) to the longest distance (5,000 m). Thus, the contribution of muscle power, as possibly determined by TSJP, maybe most important in shorter distance races (60, 100, and 200 m). However, because of the significant correlations between TSJP and middle- and long-distance running performance as well, the contribution of muscle power to these events (800, 3,000, and 5,000 m) should be considered as a component for training for both sprinters and middle- and long-distance runners.

PMID: 23222079 [PubMed – in process]

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23222079

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