Friday, June 5, 2015

Strength Training Can Improve Your 5 km Time Significantly

Picture by Ving Henson at The Pit
Want to improve your 5 km, half and full marathon times? Well, strength training may be more important than you think.

In a recently published research paper, the research team split their runners into two groups. One group continued the regular run training of running between 18-30 miles (or 28-48 km) a week for the next six weeks. The other group continued their run training while adding two strength training sessions each week. They did four sets of four reps of four different strength exercises. Weight they lifted was 80 per cent of their one rep maximum lift.

Both groups of runners did an outdoor 5 km time trial before and after six weeks of training. The first group of runners who just ran recorded similar times for both runs.

The strength training group ran 45 seconds faster in the second time trial. This is a 3.62 percent improvement, considered a substantial increase in distance running.

The study continued for another six weeks. This time the strength training group stopped lifting and ran only. At the end of the six weeks, the did another time trial. This time, the former strength training group lost 42 of the 45 seconds they gained. Their performance level basically returned to levels before strength training.

The authors suggested runners maintain a lower volume of strength training through the competition phase. They also suggested this strength training program will work well if you're racing half or full marathons.

After reading this far, you're probably dying to find out what the four strength exercises were. Well, they did Roman deadlifts, parallel squats, calf raises and lunges.

Now you know.


Karsten B, Stevens L et al (2015). The Effects Of A Specific Maximal Strength And Conditioning Training On Critical Velocity, Anaerobic Running Distance And 5-km Race Performance. Int J Sports Physiology and  Performance. DOI :

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