Strength training in endurance athletes is an essential part of any injury prevention and conditioning program. Our previous blogs have highlighted the importance of these exercises for improving an athlete's efficiency during training and competition. Endurance athletes who strength train are more economical and therefore faster than their weaker peers. Strength training exercises should involve the core and key muscles associated with each sport. Runners should spend time focusing on their core and hip muscles, as well as, the muscles surrounding the knee, foot, and ankle. A new study highlights the importance of this training for improving running performance.
Clark and colleagues in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research followed 35 cross country athletes' running performances over the course of a season (2017). The runners were randomized to either a control (normal run training) or a strength group who performed core and hip strengthening 3 times a week for 6 weeks in addition to their run training. Both groups showed faster times over the 6 week period, but as expected the strength group demonstrated faster running times compared to their peers who did not implement strength exercises.