Heavy strength training and Plyometrics for the win!

A recent meta analysis study was published in the Physical Therapy/Sports Medicine world in January 2024 looking the affects of strength training on running economy! It is an interesting read! This study compared training methods of 1. High load (>80% 1RM) strength work 2. Sub max strength work (40%-79% 1 RM) 3. Plyometrics 4. Combined methods and 5. Control (running without strength training or below 40% 1 RM).

In conclusion:

  1. High loads (>80% 1RM) were associated with improvements in running economy ( with greater benefits for RE for higher running speeds)
  2. Plyometric programs may have a positive effect on RE for running <7.5 mph, and plyometrics in combination with other strength training had a positive effect on RE at higher speeds.
    3.No effect on RE was found for sub maximal load programs (40-79% 1 RM) or isometric programs.

Strength training has always been a win in my book regardless of running speed for more reasons than 1. Mainly to improve running load capacity and improve any asymmetries you may demonstrate.

Strength training however, needs to look different dependent on the individual! Depending on where your are in your training and experience.

If any one has any questions on how to introduce strength training into their running program, how to progress their current program, or how to keep it up throughout race reason, please reach out! I am happy to help :slight_smile:

Llanos-Lagos, C., Ramirez-Campillo, R., Moran, J. et al. Effect of Strength Training Programs in Middle- and Long-Distance Runners’ Economy at Different Running Speeds: A Systematic Review with Meta-analysis. Sports Med (2024). Effect of Strength Training Programs in Middle- and Long-Distance Runners’ Economy at Different Running Speeds: A Systematic Review with Meta-analysis | Sports Medicine

Link to Strength training article


This is very much along the lines of the research that @ddiggin has done up at Ithaca College. Weight training really does seem highly beneficial to runners.

Love it! I think so many runners are still so scared to “bulk up” when truly we now know that is not going to happen! Or they just don’t know where to start or incorporate into their training program where they won’t be too fatigued or sore for their next workout/run.

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I’ve always thought that one of the big problems runners have is that we’re essentially used to high repetitions (steps!) with no extra weight at all. So we think of ourselves purely as endurance creatures and thus gravitate to lots of reps of light weights, if we’re going to lift at all.

I’ve been lifting twice a week since late 2021, and although it hasn’t solved my injury, I feel physically better in every other way. Once I can run again, I’m looking forward to seeing how the lifting has helped.

It seems to have helped @patrickmilano too—he’s been setting PRs since he started lifting seriously as well.

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Totally agree!

That’s exciting to hear how much better you feel from lifting! Any ideas when you will be able to start running again?!?

Way to go @patrickmilano !!

I’m working with a new therapist recommended by an elite friend in Syracuse, and while it’s too early to know, he has some different ideas about what might be going on. Fingers crossed!

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That’s great! You will have to keep me updated!