“Master athletes are a great example of successful aging.”

There are many ways to improve a runners ability to run.  Efficient gait, proper training, strength training . . . wait, strength training? Isn’t that heresy?  Runners don’t weight train! Well, the evidence has been mounting for years that is poor advice, here’s another recent example!

Researchers from Italy had a nice study published in the NSCA’s Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research to determine the benefits of strength training for master level runners.  It might come as a shock to learn that participation in a high intensity strength training program (four sets of 3-4 repetitions) improved running economy!  Interestingly, the improvements only occurred at marathon pace. Researchers attributed the improved economy to the ability of the runners to produce more force in a shorter amount of time (rate of force development . . . one of my favorite concepts!).

Despite the evidence of significant effects of MST on RE, endurance athletes and in particular Master athletes either include very little or no RT in their regular programs in particular when training volume increases. Most individuals still are reluctant and think that adding strength training may impair their progression in endurance performance.

Mo FarahI hope this article and the story on the UK’s great runner, Mo Farah helps change minds of runners as to the benefits on strength training.

In other words, if you run, you should weight train to improve your performance!

Piacentini, MF, De Ioannon, G, Comotto, S, Spedicato, A, Vernillo, G, and La Torre, A. Concurrent strength and endurance training effects on running economy in master endurance runners. J Strength Cond Res 27(8): 2295–2303, 2013.