Well, luckily for us, 2 new studies have just been published, looking into this specific phenomenon. In the 1st study, 390 long-distance triathletes answered a survey looking into their strength training habits, focusing on what barriers they primarily experienced for this type of complementary training. Coming as no surprise, time was reported as the main constraint, but more surprisingly, many also reported lack of knowledge on how to properly perform strength training.
For many of us, this might not be an issue, but the 2nd study, a systematic review, investigated the added value of doing complementary strength training. It was found that this type of added training will have positive impact on your overall running economy and help prevent injuries. It recommends complementing the regular running training with 2-3 varying strength training sessions a week, promising results already after 6 weeks.
Luckily for us swimrunners we get most of our strength training climbing in and out of the water, but adding some free weight training to this can never be wrong. Just remember to increase the weights slowly and over time.
/The WoS Team
Strength Training in Long-Distance Triathletes: Barriers and Characteristics
Luckin, Kate M.; Badenhorst, Claire E.; Cripps, Ashley J.; Landers, Grant J.; Merrells, Robert J.; Bulsara, Max K.; Hoyne, Gerard F.
The purpose of this investigation was to identify perceived and physical barriers toward the completion of concurrent strength training and endurance training in long-distance triathletes. Three hundred ninety long-distance triathletes (224 women, 166 men; age [y]: 39 ± 10) completed a 68-question self-administered, semiquantitative survey that assessed endurance and strength training characteristics, experience in triathlon, and perceived barriers regarding the completion of strength training. Mean training hours per week was 14.92 ± 5.25, with 54.6% reporting participation in strength training. Heavy strength training was the most commonly reported (39.4%), with significantly more men completing this form of strength training (p < 0.001). Results from participants who did not complete strength training indicated that perceived time constraints (53.1%) in addition to lack of knowledge on exercise progression and form (52.5%) are prominent perceived barriers to strength training completion. Identification of the barriers perceived by long-distance triathletes that prevent them from completing concurrent strength training and endurance training may be useful for coaches, athletes, and sports scientists who seek to incorporate strength training for injury prevention and performance improvement.
Effects of Strength Training on the Physiological Determinants of Middle- and Long-Distance Running Performance: A Systematic Review
Richard C. Blagrove; Glyn Howatson; Philip R. Hayes
Middle- and long-distance running performance is constrained by several important aerobic and anaerobic parameters. The efficacy of strength training (ST) for distance runners has received considerable attention in the literature. However, to date, the results of these studies have not been fully synthesized in a review on the topic. This systematic review aimed to provide a comprehensive critical commentary on the current literature that has examined the effects of ST modalities on the physiological determinants and performance of middle and long-distance runners, and offer recommendations for best practice. Electronic databases were searched using a variety of key words relating to ST exercise and distance running. This search was supplemented with citation tracking. To be eligible for inclusion, a study was required to meet the following criteria: participants were middle- or long-distance runners with C 6 months experience, a ST intervention (heavy resistance training, explosive resistance training, or plyometric training) lasting C 4 weeks was applied, a running only control group was used, data on one or more physiological variables was reported. Two independent assessors deemed that 24 studies fully met the criteria for inclusion. Methodological rigor was assessed for each study using the PEDro scale. PEDro scores revealed internal validity of 4, 5, or 6 for the studies reviewed. Running economy (RE) was measured in 20 of the studies and generally showed improvements (2–8%) compared to a control group, although this was not always the case. Time trial (TT) performance (1.5–10 km) and anaerobic speed qualities also tended to improve following ST. Other parameters [maximal oxygen uptake (V_O2max), velocity at V_O2max, blood lactate, body composition] were typically unaffected by ST. Whilst there was good evidence that ST improves RE, TT, and sprint performance, this was not a consistent finding across all works that were reviewed. Several important methodological differences and limitations are highlighted, which may explain the discrepancies in findings and should be considered in future investigations in this area. Importantly for the distance runner, measures relating to body composition are not negatively
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