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Effects of a Concurrent Strength and Endurance Training on Running Performance and Running Economy in Recreational Marathon Runners

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a concurrent strength and endurance training program on running performance and running economy of middle-aged runners during their marathon preparation. Twenty-two (8 women and 14 men) recreational runners (mean ± SD: age 40.0 ± 11.7 years; body mass index 22.6 ± 2.1 kg·m⁻²) were separated into 2 groups (n = 11; combined endurance running and strength training program [ES]: 9 men, 2 women and endurance running [E]: 7 men, and 4 women). Both completed an 8-week intervention period that consisted of either endurance training (E: 276 ± 108 minute running per week) or a combined endurance and strength training program (ES: 240 ± 121-minute running plus 2 strength training sessions per week [120 minutes]). Strength training was focused on trunk (strength endurance program) and leg muscles (high-intensity program). Before and after the intervention, subjects completed an incremental treadmill run and maximal isometric strength tests. The initial values for VO2peak (ES: 52.0 ± 6.1 vs. E: 51.1 ± 7.5 ml·kg⁻¹·min⁻¹) and anaerobic threshold (ES: 3.5 ± 0.4 vs. E: 3.4 ± 0.5 m·s⁻¹) were identical in both groups. A significant time × intervention effect was found for maximal isometric force of knee extension (ES: from 4.6 ± 1.4 to 6.2 ± 1.0 N·kg⁻¹, p < 0.01), whereas no changes in body mass occurred. No significant differences between the groups and no significant interaction (time × intervention) were found for VO2 (absolute and relative to VO2peak) at defined marathon running velocities (2.4 and 2.8 m·s⁻¹) and submaximal blood lactate thresholds (2.0, 3.0, and 4.0 mmol·L⁻¹). Stride length and stride frequency also remained unchanged. The results suggest no benefits of an 8-week concurrent strength training for running economy and coordination of recreational marathon runners despite a clear improvement in leg strength, maybe because of an insufficient sample size or a short intervention period.
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EFFECTS OF A CONCURRENT STRENGTH AND
ENDURANCE TRAINING ON RUNNING PERFORMANCE
AND RUNNING ECONOMY IN RECREATIONAL
MARATHON RUNNERS
ALEXANDER FERRAUTI,MATTHIAS BERGERMANN,AND JAIME FERNANDEZ-FERNANDEZ
Department of Coaching Science, Faculty of Sports Science, Ruhr-University, Bochum, Germany
ABSTRACT
Ferrauti, A, Bergermann, M, and Fernandez-Fernandez, J.
Effects of a concurrent strength and endurance training on
running performance and running economy in recreational
marathon runners. J Strength Cond Res 24(10): 2770–2778,
2010—The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects
of a concurrent strength and endurance training program on
running performance and running economy of middle-aged
runners during their marathon preparation. Twenty-two
(8 women and 14 men) recreational runners (mean 6SD:
age 40.0 611.7 years; body mass index 22.6 62.1 kg!m
22
)
were separated into 2 groups (n= 11; combined endurance
running and strength training program [ES]: 9 men, 2 women
and endurance running [E]: 7 men, and 4 women). Both
completed an 8-week intervention period that consisted of
either endurance training (E: 276 6108 minute running per
week) or a combined endurance and strength training program
(ES: 240 6121-minute running plus 2 strength training
sessions per week [120 minutes]). Strength training was
focused on trunk (strength endurance program) and leg
muscles (high-intensity program). Before and after the interven-
tion, subjects completed an incremental treadmill run and maximal
isometric strength tests. The initial values for
_
VO
2
peak (ES: 52.0 6
6.1 vs. E: 51.1 67.5 ml!kg
21
!min
21
) and anaerobic threshold
(ES: 3.5 60.4 vs. E: 3.4 60.5 m!s
21
) were identical in both
groups. A significant time 3intervention effect was found for
maximal isometric force of knee extension (ES: from 4.6 61.4
to 6.2 61.0 N!kg
21
,p,0.01), whereas no changes in body
mass occurred. No significant differences between the groups
and no significant interaction (time 3intervention) were found
for
_
VO
2
(absolute and relative to
_
VO
2
peak) at defined marathon
running velocities (2.4 and 2.8 m!s
21
) and submaximal blood
lactate thresholds (2.0, 3.0, and 4.0 mmol!L
21
). Stride length
and stride frequency also remained unchanged. The results
suggest no benefits of an 8-week concurrent strength training
for running economy and coordination of recreational marathon
runners despite a clear improvement in leg strength, maybe
because of an insufficient sample size or a short intervention
period.
KEY WORDS intensity strength training, concurrent training
INTRODUCTION
Running economy has been defined as oxygen
uptake required at a given submaximal velocity
(9,20,28) and should be viewed relative to one’s
maximum oxygen uptake (
_
VO
2
max) (11). Besides
anthropometric preconditions (24) (e.g., body weight and
body composition, length and composition of the lower
extremities, upper and lower body size relation), several
movement criteria are supposed to establish an economic
running technique model. These criteria are brief ground
contacts, small knee angles in the contact, and swing phases,
distinctive hip extension at toe-off, and a small vertical
oscillation of the center of gravity. Furthermore, small vertical
force peaks at foot strike and high elastic energy storage seem
to play an important role in this model (2,28,33,39).
Intervention studies aimed at an optimization of running
economy are usually focused on an improvement of running
coordination (1,23) or on an increase in muscle work
efficiency by different kinds of strength training (18,29,31).
Coordinative training interventions (e.g., running tech-
nique exercises) often failed to influence running mechanics
and running economy (1,23). It has been shown that running
economy was impaired when runners diverge from their
usual technique (e.g., by varying stride length) (9). Probably,
the energetic demand of running adapts to the individual
running technique and the respective running economy
seems to underlie a process of self-optimization (33).
Strength training on the other hand is currently supposed
to increase muscle work efficiency and to improve trunk
Address correspondence to Dr. Alexander Ferrauti, alexander.ferrauti@
rub.de.
24(10)/2770–2778
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
!2010 National Strength and Conditioning Association
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the
TM
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stability, which allows for a higher training volume and
a better impulse transmission (8). In detail, strength training
may very positively influence many parameters that are
supposed to be correlated with running economy. Some of
the most important are the ground reaction forces, an active
hip extension at toe-off, and a high force development during
a short ground contact, all leading to an increase in energy
transfer and stride length (20).
In elite running, the majority of strength training inter-
vention studies showed positive effects on running economy
and running performance. For the leg muscles, a training of
motor unit recruitment patterns, usually performed with high
intensities (90–100% of 1 repetition maximum [1RM]) and
low volume (1–3 repetitions), seems to be applicable, because
it is supposed to have less hypertrophic and weight gaining
effect and to improve the eccentric–concentric transition
including an effective stretch–shortening cycle (13,14,30,
34,35). Similar positive effects on running performance have
been shown when emphasizing plyometric or explosive
exercises (15,29,31). In addition, there is an increase in the
recognition of the core musculature as critical for the transfer
of energy from the larger torso to the smaller extremities,
which may be more involved in the ability to control the
position and motion of the trunk over the pelvis during
running and allows a better force transfer to the terminal
segments (22).
Regarding recreational runners, only little research is
available about the benefits of strength training on their
performance levels (5,21). Because of the increasing number
of recreational runners worldwide, who are regularly
participating in marathon and half-marathon competitions,
knowledge of the specific responses of recreational runners
after a training intervention has
important implications for the
design of training protocols.
These responses would dictate
the performance demands re-
quired to be successful in those
kind of events.
Thus, the aim of the present
study was to investigate the
effects of a concurrent strength
(e.g., complex strength training
protocol) and endurance train-
ing program on running perfor-
mance and running economy of
middle-aged runners during
their marathon preparation.
We hypothesized a high adap-
tation potential and response of
skeletal muscle function in rec-
reational runners who are not
experienced in strength train-
ing, even in the case of a low
training volume typical for
recreational sports (H1). We also hypothesized that the
strength training–induced functional responses on the trunk
and leg muscles will lead to an improvement of running
performance induced by an increased running economy (H2).
METHODS
Experimental Approach to the Problem
To investigate the hypothesis of the study, a longitudinal and
controlled experimental design was used to assess the effects
of a concurrent strength and endurance training in recrea-
tional runners with no background in strength training, on the
development of muscle strength, running performance and
running economy during a marathon preparation. A 2 group
(endurance running [E] and combined endurance running
and strength training program [ES]) pre and posttesting
design was used.
After an uncontrolled but monitored 6-month basic
endurance training period, an intervention study was
conducted over a period of 8 weeks, which used an endurance
training volume of about 250 min!wk
21
in both groups (E,
ES), supplemented by 120 min!wk
21
(2 360 minutes) of
strength training for group ES (Figure 1). Endurance training
volume was recomended based on the runner’s training
history. The strength training volume was limited by the
requested maximal time budget of the participants. Endur-
ance running and strength training group used a consistent 4
set by 3–5 repetition heavy strength training protocol for the
lower limb, to emphasize neural adaptations while minimiz-
ing muscle hypertrophy in an attempt to enhance running
economy. For the trunk muscles, a consistent endurance
strength protocol that consisted of 3 sets of 20–25 repetitions
was used.
Figure 1. Experimental design.
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As independent variables we defined the different interven-
tions (E vs. ES) and the 2 measurement points (pre vs. post). The
dependent variables were body mass and isometric force (trunk
and leg flexors and extensors), endurance capacity (peak
maximum oxygen uptake [Vo
2
peak] and anaerobic threshold)
and submaximal physiological (oxygen uptake [
_
VO
2
], blood
lactate [LA], heart rate [HR]) and biomechanical parameters
(stride length, stride frequency, ground contact times) at defined
moderate running velocities (2.4 and 2.8 m!s
21
). We chose these
velocities as appropriate to test the study hypothesis because
most of the subjects aimed to finish the marathon in about 4–
4:30 hours. The treadmill test steps that corresponded closest
to the intended marathon pace were 2.4 m!s
21
(marathon 4:50
hours) and 2.8 m!s
21
(marathon 4:12 hours).
Before pretesting, the subjects were made familiar with all
test and training procedures. Postintervention measurements
were made 1 week after the final strength training and 2 weeks
before the marathon event (Figure 1). The respective rest
periods were included to ensure a sufficient taper time for
muscle cell and systemic adaptation and to minimize the
accumulated fatigue.
Subjects
Twenty-two experienced male (n= 15) and female (n= 7)
recreational runners (mean 6SD: age 40.0 611.4 years; body
mass index 22.6 62.1; training experience 8.7 67.9 years;
basic training volume 4.6 61.4 h!wk
21
) participated in the
study. None of them was experienced in strength training. The
participants were randomly separated into 2 groups of 11
runners (ES: 9 men, 2 women and E: 7 men, 4 women) with
identical
_
VO
2
peak and anaerobic threshold (Table 1). During
the intervention period, 2 male runners of the E group were
injured and were not included into the statistics, resulting in
a final sample size of 20 (ES: 9 men, 2 women and E: 5 men, 4
women). The subjects were familiar with all testing and
training procedures before the intervention and gave written
informed consent to participate in the study, which was
performed in accordance with the ethical standards reported
by Harris & Atkinson (16) and conformed to the recom-
mendations of the Declaration of Helsinki. Before participa-
tion in the study, subjects were asked to complete a self-
administered medical history and physical activity readiness
questionnaire to ensure that all the subjects were free of
cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, or metabolic diseases.
Procedures
Strength Training. Strength training lasted for 8 weeks and
consisted in 2 training units per week with different contents
(Table 2). The first one was designed to improve the motor
unit recruitment patterns of the leg muscles by using strength
training with high intensity and low volume. Therefore,
exercises were performed using 4 sets of maximum number of
repetitions of the 3–5RM. Volume determination was
performed using time under tension (TUT), which involves
monitoring repetition time to perform eccentric and concen-
tric actions during the exercise (37). Therefore, subjects were
required to perform an explosive contraction (1-second
eccentric, 2-second concentric) resulting in a TUT of about
50 seconds per exercise (Table 2). Overload was provided in
the strength training program by constantly increasing the
weight lifted, to maintain the same relative resistance.
The second training unit was designed to improve the local
strength endurance of the trunk muscles and consisted of 3 sets of
low-intensity and high-volume exercises. Therefore, subjects
wererequired to feel subjectively exhausted after20–25repetitions
in each set. Eccentric and concentric movements were slow and
controlled resulting in a much higher TUT (e.g., about 400
seconds) compared with the leg muscle training (Table 2).
All strength training sessions were carried out using Frei
(Frei AG, Kirchzarten, Switzerland) and David machines
(David Fitness & Medical Ltd., Outukumpu, Finland) and
supervised by experienced investigators.
Endurance Training. During the intervention period, the
endurance training was individually performed by the runners
in their usual surroundings. In contrast to the 6-month basic
endurance training, the subjects were advised to add
TABLE 1. Changes in body mass
_
VO
2
peak and v4 as velocity at 4 mmol!L
21
LA during 8 weeks of an ES or during E.
ES E pValues Effect
sizePre Post Pre Post Intervention (i) Time (t)i3t
Body mass (kg) 76.8 610.5 76.5 69.2 69.9 610.5 70.2 610.4 0.160 0.970 0.460 0.02
_
VO
2
peak
(ml!kg
21
!min
21
)
52.0 66.1 54.9 64.4 51.1 67.5 51.6 67.8 0.458 0.0340.129 0.40
v4 (m!s
21
) 3.54 60.41 3.69 60.46 3.40 60.51 3.49 60.52 0.448 0.0040.322 0.15
v4 = anaerobic threshold; ES = endurance running and strength training program; LA = blood lactate; E = endurance training.
Values are mean 6SD.
¼siginificant differences over time (p,0.05)
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Strength and Endurance Training in Recreational Marathon Runners
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1 intensive 15-km training unit per week with a running
velocity of 90–95% of their expected marathon velocity to
ensure specific physiological and coordinative adaptations to
the aspired competition pace. Subjects recorded all sports
activities in a training log, which was reviewed and analyzed
by an experienced investigator. The mean endurance training
volume in ES (240 6121 min!wk
21
) and E (276 6108
min!wk
21
) was not significantly
different during the 2-month
intervention period.
Measurements
Incremental Treadmill Run.
_
Vo
2
,
LA concentration, HR, ratings
of perceived exertion (RPEs),
and biomechanical parameters
(ground contact, stride fre-
quency, stride length) were
measured during an incremen-
tal treadmill test (Quasar
med 4.0 treadmill, hp Cosmos,
Nussdorf-Traunstein, Germany).
The initial velocity of 2.0 m!s
21
was increased by 0.4 m!s
21
every 5 minutes until exhaus-
tion, with a constant grade of
1%. Blood samples were taken
during a 30-second break after
each level. Subjects were ad-
vised to have no strength or
endurance training at least
48 hours before the test and
to take a carbohydrate-rich meal
2 hours before testing. All pre
and posttests were done in the
afternoon between 4 and 7 PM.
Respiratory gas exchange measures were determined using
a calibrated mixing chamber system (MetaMax
"
II, Cortex,
Leipzig, Germany). Expired air was continuously analyzed
for gas volume (Triple digital-V
"
turbine), O
2
concentration
(zirconium analyzer), and CO
2
concentration (infrared
analyzer). Data were transferred by cable and sorted by
MetaSoft
"
. The mean of the 5 highest
_
VO
2
values obtained
TABLE 2. Contents and dosage of the strength training intervention in ES.*
Day Exercises Sets 3repetitions Weight Rest between sets TUT repetition TUT exercise
Tuesday Leg press 4 33–5 3–5 RM 3 min 3 s 48 s
Knee extension
Knee flexion
Hip extension
Ankle extension
Thursday Reverse fly 3 320–25 20–25 RM 90 s 6 s 396 s
Bench press
Lateral flexion
Trunk extension
Trunk flexion
Trunk rotation
*ES = endurance running and strength training program; RM = repetition maximum; TUT = time under tension.
Figure 2. Pre and postintervention oxygen uptake (
_
VO
2
) and running velocity (v) at defined blood lactate (LA) levels
during 8 weeks of a combined strength and endurance training (ES) or during endurance training only (E). Analysis
of variance (ANOVA) time 3intervention: p.0.10 (effect size d,0.40).
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TABLE 3. Changes in relative isometric force during 8 weeks of ES or E.
ES E pValues Effect
sizePre Post Pre Post Intervention Time i3t
Trunk (Nm!kg
21)
Flexors 1.68 60.38 1.79 60.371.48 60.47 1.37 60.41 0.090 0.980 0,012§ 0.61
Extensors 2.84 60.45 3.04 60.42 2.39 60.66 2.52 60.67 0.043§ 0.126 0.726 0.14
Leg (Nm!kg
21
) Flexors 3.62 60.87 3.96 60.81 3.11 60.67 3.19 60.68 0.069 0.061 0.228 0.38
Extensors 4.60 61.36 6.16 60.97
k
4.57 60.84 4.71 60.72 0.101 0.000* 0.000 1.65
ES = endurance running and strength training program; E = endurance training.
*¼time effect (p,0.05).
Values are given as mean 6SD.
Significantly different compared with post E.
k
Significantly different compared with pre ES.
§significant interaction between time and intervention type (p,0.05).
TABLE 4. Changes in physiological measurements at defined vduring 8 weeks of ES or E.*
v(m!s
21
)
ES E pValues Effect
sizePre Post Pre Post Intervention Time i3t
_
VO
2
(ml!kg
21
!min
21
) 2.4 31.7 61.9 33.3 63.1 32.8 64.3 34.1 63.0 0.401 0.087 0.868 0.07
2.8 36.9 62.1 37.7 62.9 37.1 63.1 38.8 62.8 0.515 0.083 0.549 0.29
LA (mmol!L
21
) 2.4 1.33 60.47 1.17 60.39 1.18 60.67 1.10 60.52 0.610 0.189 0.657 0.09
2.8 1.75 60.91 1.52 60.81 2.06 61.76 1.81 61.48 0.594 0.0490.940 0.02
HR (b!min
21
) 2.4 135 614 132 613 139 615 137 615 0.507 0.0260.510 0.13
2.8 149 613 146 613 150 615 147 617 0.857 0.0270.808 0.04
RPE 2.4 9.5 62.0 9.1 61.7 9.9 61.5 10.9 62.0 0.143 0.440 0.103 0.73
2.8 12.1 62.4 11.7 62.5 13.4 62.2 13.6 62.4 0.123 0.761 0.568 0.17
*v= running velocity;
_
VO
2
= oxygen uptake; LA = blood lactate; HR = heart rate; RPE = rate of perceived exertion; ES = endurance running and strength training prograsm;
E = endurance training.
Values are mean 6SD.
Time effect (p,0.05).
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Strength and Endurance Training in Recreational Marathon Runners
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during the test was defined as the peak
_
VO
2
(
_
VO
2
peak). The
volume calibration of the system was conducted before each
test day, and the gas calibration was performed before each
test using instructions provided by the manufacturer.
Heart rate was monitored every 5 seconds using the S210
(Polar, Kempele, Finland). The mean value throughout the
last 30 seconds was taken as reference value for the respective
running velocity. For LA analyses, 20 mL capillary blood
samples were taken from the earlobe during the 30-second
break immediately after finishing the 5-minute run at each
velocity level. Local blood circulation was increased by
Finalgon". Blood samples were hemolyzed in 2-mL
microtest tubes and analyzed enzymatic amperometrically
by the Biosen C-Line Sport (EKF-Diagnostik, Barleben,
Germany) immediately after each test. Individual running
velocities corresponding to defined LA thresholds were
linearly interpolated for 2.0, 2.5, and 4.0 mmol!L
21
(Figure 2).
Anaerobic threshold (v4) was defined at 4.0 mmol!L
21
(26).
Rating of perceived exertion was obtained using the 15-
category Borg RPE scale (6). The scale was explained before
the exercise. The subjects were asked: ‘‘how hard do you
feel the exercise was?’’ after finishing each velocity level. Bio-
mechanical parameters were measured by using the portable
GP MobilData measurement system (Gebiom, Mu¨ nster,
Germany). By means of flexible soles containing 40–64
sensors, the ground contacts and ground forces were con-
tinuously measured (200 Hz) and telemetrically transferred to
the GP MobilData Software. In the present study, the data for
ground contact time, stride frequency, and stride length were
statistically analyzed. The calculated values for each running
velocity were the mean values of a 10-second measurement
interval recorded 30 seconds after starting the level.
Isometric Strength and Anthropometric Measurements. Strength
training and testing were carried out at the same location
using the previously mentioned machines (see ‘‘strength
training’’). The forces devel-
oped in a fixed angle position
were detected by strain gauges
(data collection at 1,000 Hz).
Changes in electrical resistance
were expressed in Newton (N).
The peak torque for the fol-
lowing devices was assessed: F
130 Lumbar and thoracic flex-
ion, F 110 Lumbar and thoracic
extension, F 300 Leg Curl, and
F 200 Leg Extension. Hip angle
during trunk flexion and exten-
sion measurements was 90#.
The knee angles were 30#for
leg flexion and 60#for leg ex-
tension measurements. Initially,
the subjects completed 10 sub-
maximal dynamic contractions
per each measurement, to familiarize with the apparatus.
After that, 2 maximal isometric contractions, separated by
a 30-second recovery periods, were carried out. Individual
body position remained the same throughout all testing
procedures. The highest torque achieved during the 2
repetitions was used as peak torque for further statistical
analysis. All values were expressed relative to the subject’s
weight in Nm!kg
21
.
Body weight and height measurements were done before
each treadmill test at the same time of the day and under
comparable nutritional and pre-exercise conditions. Body
weight was measured by a portable approved personal scale
without stand (Soehnle 7701, Germany), and height was
measured by a simple wall fixed rule. No body composition
measurements (e.g., fat free and muscle body mass) were
conducted.
Statistical Analyses
All data analyses were performed by SPSS for Windows
(version 17.0, SPSS, Inc., Chicago, IL, USA). Values are
expressed as mean 6SD. After testing the sphericity by using
the Mauchly test and in the case of necessity, the
Greenhouse–Geisser correction, we calculated a 2-factor
analysis of variance (ANOVA) for repeated measurements.
Differences between interventions (ES vs. E), time (pre vs.
postmeasurement), sex, and interactions between these
factors (intervention 3time; intervention 3time 3sex)
were calculated. In the case of significance, simple effects
were verified by means of a Newman–Keuls test. Significance
level was set at p#0.05. The statistical power was calculated
according to Cohen (10) to help protect against type II error.
To determine the meaningfulness of intervention effects, the
effect sizes (d) were calculated for the intervention 3time
interactions (i3t) using the pooled SDs as the difference of
the pre and posttest effects sizes (d
i3t
=|dpost 2dpre|).
Magnitudes of the effect sizes were interpreted as trivial
Figure 3. Pre and postintervention relative oxygen uptake (%
_
VO
2
peak) at defined running velocities (v) during
8 weeks of a combined strength and endurance training (ES) or during endurance training only (E). Analysis of
variance (ANOVA) time 3intervention for 2.8 m!s
21
.p= 0.053 (effect size d= 0.59; statistical power = 0.501).
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(d,0.2), small (d= 0.2–0.6), moderate (d= 0.6–1.2), or large
(d.1.2) (10). To assess for within-group reliability of the
dependent variables, intraclass correlations (ICCs) were cal-
culated for each group between the 2 measurement points.
Intraclass correlation ranged between 0.750 and 0.983 for
85% of all variables and missed significance level only for
ground contact time (0.342) and velocity specific
_
VO
2
(0.224)
in group E.
RESULTS
Body Mass and Peak Torque
No changes in body mass occurred during the intervention
period (Table 1). Peak torque of leg extensors (p= 0.000;
effect size = 1.65, statistical power = 0.982) and trunk flexors
increased in ES (p= 0.012; effect size = 0.61, statistical
power = 0.749) verified by significant intervention 3time
interactions. Peak torque changes of leg flexors and trunk
extensors failed to reach the significance level (Table 3).
Endurance Capacity
_
VO
2
peak (p= 0.034) and v4(p=0.004), defined as velocity at
4.0 mmol!L
21
LA, increased significantly during the in-
tervention period (main effect time), whereas no significant
between group effects for
_
VO
2
peak (p= 0.129; effect size =
0.40; statistical power 0.325) and v4(p= 0.322; effect size =
0.15; statistical power 0.161) were found (Table 1).
Running velocity and
_
VO
2
at submaximal LA thresholds
(e.g., 2.5 mmol!L
21
) were also significantly increased during
the intervention period (main effect time). The improve-
ments tended to be stronger in ES, but no group by time
interaction and only small effect sizes were calculated for
running velocity (p= 0.240; effect size = 0.16; statistical
power = 0.209) and
_
VO
2
(p= 0.093; effect size = 0.40;
statistical power = 0.407) at 2.5 mmol!L
21
(Figure 2).
Blood lactate concentrations (2.8 m!s
21
) and heart rate
(2.4 and 2.8 m!s
21
) at defined running velocities were
decreased over time, but no group effects were found (Table 4).
Running Economy
_
VO
2
at submaximal running velocities (2.4 and 2.8 m!s
21
)
tended to increase during the intervention in both groups
(p,0.01) but showed no significant changes (Table 4).
_
VO
2
in relation to one’s
_
VO
2
peak tended to decrease in ES and to
increase in E with increasing running velocity, leading to
a moderate group by time interaction effect for 2.8 m!s
21
(p=
0.053; effects size = 0.61; statistical power 0.501) (Figure 3).
Running Coordination
Stride length and stride frequency did not show any changes
in ES. In E, stride length was significantly decreased at
2.8 m!s
21
(p,0.05) and stride frequency tended to increase
(Table 5). For the ground contact times, a significant group 3
time interaction was found for 2.4 m!s
21
(p= 0.031; effects
size = 1.10; statistical power 0.607). Overall, low ICCs were
found for ground contact times.
TABLE 5. Changes in running coordination and biomechanical measurements at defined vduring 8 weeks of ES or E.*
v
(m!s
21
)
ES E pValues Effect
sizePre Post Pre Post Intervention Time i3t
Stride length (cm) 2.4 92.5 64.7 92.2 64.4 89.2 65.5 88.8 67.7 0.208 0.437 0.879 0.08
2.8 104.4 66.6 104.8 65.0 102.3 68.3 100.8 68.70.351 0.124 0.036§ 0.27
Stride frequency (min
21
) 2.4 156 67 156 67 162 610 161 611 0.210 0.760 0.564 0.18
2.8 161 68 161 68 165 613 168 614 0.269 0.100 0.058 0.22
Ground contact (ms) 2.4 330 630 340 640
k
320 630 300 6200.067 0.241 0.030§ 1.10
2.8 300 630 310 630 290 620 280 610 0.058 0.272 0.104 0.67
*v= running velocity; ES = endurance running and strength training program; E = endurance training.
Values are mean 6SD.
Significantly different compared with pre E.
§Significantly different compared with post E.
2776
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Strength and Endurance Training in Recreational Marathon Runners
Copyright © National Strength and Conditioning Association Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
DISCUSSION
The main finding of the present study is that running
coordination (e.g., stride length and stride frequency) and the
common parameters used for measuring running economy
(e.g.,
_
VO
2
at a submaximal running velocity and
_
VO
2
in
relation to one’s
_
VO
2
peak) remained unchanged (rejection of
H2) despite a clear improvement of leg strength in response
to a low volume strength training feasible by recreational
marathon runners (acceptance of H1).
The efficiency of the strength training program conducted
in the actual study is particularly revealed in a significant
increase of peak torque during the leg extension test (Table 3).
Because the mean body mass remained unchanged in both
groups (Table 1), a better motor unit recruitment pattern is
suggested to be the reason for the increase of leg strength
(13,14,30,34,35). Because significant changes in stride length
and frequency are missing in the intervention group (Table 5),
possible adaptations linked to an improved nervous activa-
tion (14,28) were surprisingly not achieved or were not
transferred into running technique. However, the correla-
tions between the quality of the stretch–shortening cycle
(7,38) or ground contact times (38), respectively, and running
economy are not definitely shown in the literature, although
they are often postulated (2,28). This is in accordance to the
present study in which strength training interventions failed
to influence running mechanics in recreational runners.
The central nervous program seems to be more stable and
dominant in controlling the running movement compared
with the influence of the peripheral muscular effectors.
Although we did not find a significant increase in running
economy and performance, we were able to show a clear
effect on muscle strength that may be advantageous for the
endurance runner in a long-term perspective (e.g., by a
delayed coordinative transfer or in the prevention of ortho-
pedic overload) (21).
On the first view, running economy seems to be impaired
by the strength training intervention because of the slight
increase of oxygen uptake at submaximal running velocities
(Table 4) that would stand in contrast to previous studies
(4,15,18). On the other hand, there are indications that
_
VO
2
peak and submaximal
_
VO
2
, in relation to one’s
_
VO
2
peak,
tended to be positively influenced by the strength training
program conducted (Figures 2 and 3). Although a significant
statistical interaction is missing, a moderate effect size in
combination with an insufficient statistical power, point to
the risk of a sample size–induced type II error. Thus, it can be
speculated that because of an increased peak
_
VO
2
, the relative
_
VO
2
slightly decreased in the ES group, whereas it tended to
develop differently in the control group (Figure 3). This
would be consistent with previous studies that reported an
increase of
_
VO
2
max after a strength training program
(3,13,30). Several reasons are discussed in that context: An
enhanced capillarization and blood flow of the working
muscles (12,19,27,30,31), a conversion of muscle fiber
structure from type IIB to more oxidative type IIA fibers
(34), the innervation of more muscle fibers at low speed as
a result of an improved motor unit recruitment (38) and in
consequence of these aspects an enhanced fat oxidation on
submaximal intensity (2). We assume that the abovemen-
tioned physiological muscle adaptations induced by strength
training may mask a clear benefit of our intervention on those
parameters, usually taken for describing running economy.
On the other hand, it obviously seems that the aerobic
capacity is not compromised when resistance training is
added to an endurance program (19) as speculated before
(17,25,36), although more research is needed regarding this
topic.
Because of the lack of significant interactions on running
technique and running economy between the experimental
groups (except a clear effect on peak torque of leg extensors),
a precise conclusion is difficult to express. The statistical
power of several dependent variables points to an insufficient
sample size and the risk of type II errors in our conclusions.
The different number of men and women may have influ-
enced the muscle cell adaptation potential in both experi-
mental groups and make any generalizations even more
difficult. Finally, we observed several improvements in
the endurance training group, which mask the effects in the
intervention group and may be affected by an overall increase
of training intensity and motivation in the light of
the oncoming marathon. However, under the conditions of
our study, we have to conclude that running coordination
(e.g., stride length and stride frequency) and the common
parameters used for measuring running economy do not
show clear and definite adaptations, despite a significant
improvement of leg strength in recreational marathon
runners. Further studies are, therefore, necessary which
include a larger sample size and a longer intervention period.
PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS
Recreational marathon runners should be aware that 2
concurrent strength training sessions per week (combination
of high intensity training for the lower limb and strength
endurance training for the trunk muscles) increase muscle
strength and do not impair running performance and running
economy. There are even minor indications about positive
effects of strength training on endurance performance during
such a short mesocycle. Nevertheless, these effects are, respec-
tively, small and mainly based on physiological improve-
ments, whereas the mechanical aspect of running economy
seems to be of less importance.
To ensure a better coordinative transfer of strength training
effects (adaptation of running technique) and to increase the
physiological effects with respect to running economy,
a sufficient long strength training period (e.g., 6 month before
the marathon or starting already during the basic endurance
training period) is recommended for recreational marathon
runners. The authors recommend the inclusion of well-
structured, periodized strength training programs in their
VOLUME 24 | NUMBER 10 | OCTOBER 2010 | 2777
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
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TM
|
www.nsca-jscr.org
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athletes’ training regimens based on the health and ability of
individual athletes during each training phase, combining
methods similar to those presented in the article. Besides
physiological and biomechanical effects a prevention of an
orthopedic overload can be expected.
In addition to the strength training, we recommend an
outdoor training of running technique (e.g., running ABC)
during the initial stage of the endurance training to close the
coordinative gap between strength training and running.
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... Furthermore, the effect sizes of the modifications produced in this parameter between the baseline and the post-test were trivial in all three cases. These results are consistent with previous recent studies [12,32,35]. Thus, on the one hand, it can be expected that the exclusive practice of endurance training may promote muscular catabolism and increase mitochondrial density and activity. ...
... Moreover, few studies have examined the effects on AnT. Ferrauti et al. (2010) verified the absence of significant differences in AnT between a concurrent and endurance training program in isolation [35]. Likewise, Cragnulini (2016), after conducting one review article, concluded that adding strength training to endurance athletes' training programs does not have a negative impact on AnT [17]. ...
... Moreover, few studies have examined the effects on AnT. Ferrauti et al. (2010) verified the absence of significant differences in AnT between a concurrent and endurance training program in isolation [35]. Likewise, Cragnulini (2016), after conducting one review article, concluded that adding strength training to endurance athletes' training programs does not have a negative impact on AnT [17]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: The present study aimed to verify the effects of running-specific strength training alone, endurance training alone, and concurrent training on recreational endurance athletes' performance and selected anthropometric parameters. Method: Thirty male recreational endurance runners were randomly assigned using a blocking technique to either a running-specific strength training group (RSSTG), an endurance training group (ETG), or a concurrent training group (CTG). RSSTG performed three strength-training sessions per week orientated to running, ETG underwent three endurance sessions per week, and CTG underwent a 3-day-per-week concurrent training program performed on non-consecutive days, alternating the strength and endurance training sessions applied to RSSTG and ETG. The training protocol lasted 12 weeks and was designed using the ATR (Accumulation, Transmutation, Realization) block periodization system. The following assessments were conducted before and after the training protocol: body mass (BM), body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage (BFP), lean mass (LM), countermovement jump (CMJ), 1RM (one-repetition maximum) squat, running economy at 12 and 14 km/h (RE12 and RE14), maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max), and anaerobic threshold (AnT). Results: RSSTG significantly improved the results in CMJ, 1RM squat, RE12, and RE14. ETG significantly improved in RE12, RE14, VO2max, and AnT. Finally, CTG, obtained significant improvements in BFP, LM, CMJ, 1RM squat, RE12, RE14, VO2max, and AnT. RSSTG obtained improvements significantly higher than ETG in CMJ, 1RM squat, and RE14. ETG results were significantly better than those attained by RSSTG in AnT. Moreover, CTG marks were significantly higher than those obtained by ETG in CMJ and RE14. Conclusion: Performing a 12-week concurrent training program integrated into the ATR periodization system effectively improves body composition and performance variables that can be obtained with exclusive running-specific strength and endurance training in recreational runners aged 30 to 40. Running-specific strength training enhances maximum and explosive strength and RE, whereas exclusive endurance training improves VO2max, AnT, and RE. Performing concurrent training on non-consecutive days effectively prevents the strength and endurance adaptations attained with single-mode exercise from being attenuated. The ATR periodization system is useful in improving recreational endurance athletes' performance parameters, especially when performing concurrent training programs.
... Those studies that have included biomechanical measures have only analyzed stride parameters and findings have been inconsistent. 10 Some researchers have found CSE training has no effect on stride parameters during running, 9,11 while others have found CSE training influences ground contact time 12 or minimizes the loss of stride length that typically occurs during fatiguing running bouts. 13 These inconsistent findings highlight the need for further research on whether CSE training influences running stride parameters. ...
... An a priori power analysis indicated that (using a randomized controlled trial design, alpha cutoff of 5%, power of 0.80, and an effect size of 0.20) a total of 18 participants were required to detect a change in run performance as the primary outcome measure, 15 while a total of 22 participants were required to detect a change in ground contact time as a secondary outcome measure. 11 Allowing for participant drop out, 30 participants were recruited for this trial. Written informed consent was obtained from participants prior to the commencement of all data collection procedures. ...
... A limitation of this trial is that the power analysis for this randomized controlled trial was based off previously published changes in time trial performance and ground contact times following CSE training. 11,15 As SPM1D is a novel analysis tool in the field of biomechanics, few studies [37][38][39][40] have used SPM1Ds two-way ANOVA to investigate biomechanics during running. None of these studies [37][38][39][40] have investigated the effects of a training intervention on running mechanics, and all studies have used withinsubjects (not random allocation of participants), repeatedmeasures design with total sample sizes ranging from 9 to 15 participants. ...
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This parallel‐groups randomised controlled trial investigated the effect of concurrent strength and endurance (CSE) training on running performance, biomechanics, and muscle activity during overground running. Thirty moderately‐trained distance runners were randomly assigned to 10‐weeks CSE training (n = 15; 33.1 ± 7.5 years) or a control group (n = 15; 34.2 ± 8.2 years). Participants ran ≥ 30 km per week and had no experience with strength training. The primary outcome measure was two‐kilometre run time. Secondary outcome measures included lower limb sagittal plane biomechanics and muscle activity during running (3.89 m·s−1 and maximal sprinting); maximal aerobic capacity (V̇O2max); running economy; and, body composition. CSE training improved two‐kilometre run time (mean difference (MD): ‐11.3 s [95% CI ‐3.7, ‐19.0]; p = 0.006) and time to exhaustion during the V̇O2max running test (MD 59.1 s [95% CI 8.58, 109.62]; p = 0.024). The CSE training group also reduced total body fat (MD: ‐1.05 kg [95% CI ‐0.21, ‐1.88]; p = 0.016) while total body mass and lean body mass were unchanged. Hip joint angular velocity during the early swing phase of running at 3.89 m·s−1 was the only biomechanical or muscle activity variable that significantly changed following CSE training. CSE training is beneficial for running performance, but changes in running biomechanics and muscle activity may not be contributing factors to the performance improvement. Future research should consider other possible mechanisms and the effect of CSE training on biomechanics and muscle activity during prolonged running under fatigued conditions.
... We considered them as a single study per one research group, and consequently, a total of 21 studies were finally adopted, in which running economy [63-68, 70-75, 78-83] and running time trial performance [65, 67, 69, 76-78, 80-82, 84] were assessed in 18 and 10 studies, respectively. The selected 22 articles were divided into the following training categories: 13 included heavy resistance training [63][64][65][66][67][68][69][70][71][72][73][74][75] and 9 included plyometric training [76][77][78][79][80][81][82][83][84]. ...
... The CON-SORT score ranged from 13 to 24, and the mean score was 18.3 ± 2.9. Based on the Oxford evidence level, all studies were appraised as 2b, except for three studies [66,76,84] which were rated as 1b. The results of the assessment of the risk of bias are shown in Table 1 and Fig. 2. With respect to publication bias, all funnel plots indicated a low risk of publication bias (Figs. 3 and 4). ...
Article
Full-text available
Background As an adjunct to running training, heavy resistance and plyometric training have recently drawn attention as potential training modalities that improve running economy and running time trial performance. However, the comparative effectiveness is unknown. The present systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to determine if there are different effects of heavy resistance training versus plyometric training as an adjunct to running training on running economy and running time trial performance in long-distance runners. Methods Electronic databases of PubMed, Web of Science, and SPORTDiscus were searched. Twenty-two studies completely satisfied the selection criteria. Data on running economy and running time trial performance were extracted for the meta-analysis. Subgroup analyses were performed with selected potential moderators. Results The pooled effect size for running economy in heavy resistance training was greater ( g = − 0.32 [95% confidence intervals [CIs] − 0.55 to − 0.10]: effect size = small) than that in plyometric training ( g = -0.13 [95% CIs − 0.47 to 0.21]: trivial). The effect on running time trial performance was also larger in heavy resistance training ( g = − 0.24 [95% CIs − 1.04 to − 0.55]: small) than that in plyometric training ( g = − 0.17 [95% CIs − 0.27 to − 0.06]: trivial). Heavy resistance training with nearly maximal loads (≥ 90% of 1 repetition maximum [1RM], g = − 0.31 [95% CIs − 0.61 to − 0.02]: small) provided greater effects than those with lower loads (< 90% 1RM, g = − 0.17 [95% CIs − 1.05 to 0.70]: trivial). Greater effects were evident when training was performed for a longer period in both heavy resistance (10–14 weeks, g = − 0.45 [95% CIs − 0.83 to − 0.08]: small vs. 6–8 weeks, g = − 0.21 [95% CIs − 0.56 to 0.15]: small) and plyometric training (8–10 weeks, g = 0.26 [95% CIs − 0.67 to 0.15]: small vs. 4–6 weeks, g = − 0.06 [95% CIs 0.67 to 0.55]: trivial). Conclusions Heavy resistance training, especially with nearly maximal loads, may be superior to plyometric training in improving running economy and running time trial performance. In addition, running economy appears to be improved better when training is performed for a longer period in both heavy resistance and plyometric training.
... Investigation of the relationship of spatiotemporal parameters with neuromuscular performance has shown different results [14,[43][44][45][46], suggesting that neuromuscular factors could influence running biomechanics through kinematic spatiotemporal parameters. However, there are no studies that relate these biomechanical parameters to the neuromuscular performance of highly trained female adolescent athletes. ...
... These findings coincide with the study by Paavolainen et al. [29], which showed that training of neuromuscular performance through reactive force exercises in well-trained adult athletes significantly decreased CT during running, without observing changes in step length or frequency, and assuming an increase in FT. However, Ferrauti et al. [45] observed that neuromuscular performance training through maximum strength exercises increased CT during running. These results reinforce the idea that reactive strength exercises (such as HT8max) emphasize the development of strength in lower CTs [62], suggesting that by testing this skill during training, athletes could adjust the CT with the ground (transferring this adaptation to running). ...
Article
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The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to analyse the relationship of neuromuscular performance and spatiotemporal parameters in 18 adolescent distance athletes (age, 15.5 ± 1.1 years). Using the OptoGait system, the power, rhythm, reactive strength index, jump flying time, and jump height of the squat jump, countermovement jump, and eight maximal hoppings test (HT8max) and the contact time (CT), flying time (FT), step frequency, stride angle, and step length of running at different speeds were measured. Maturity offset was determined based on anthropo-metric variables. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) of repeated measurements showed a reduction in CT (p < 0.000) and an increase in step frequency, step length, and stride angle (p < 0.001), as the velocity increased. The HT8max test showed significant correlations with very large effect sizes between neuromuscular performance variables (reactive strength index, power, jump flying time, jump height, and rhythm) and both step frequency and step length. Multiple linear regression found this relationship after adjusting spatiotemporal parameters with neuromuscular performance variables. Some variables of neuromuscular performance, mainly in reactive tests, were the predictors of spatiotemporal parameters (CT, FT, stride angle, and VO). Rhythm and jump flying time in the HT8max test and power in the countermovement jump test are parameters that can predict variables associated with running biomechanics, such as VO, CT, FT, and stride angle.
... The most common exercises used in concurrent strength and endurance training literature for cyclists and runners include; a back squat and/or leg press (1,10,11,25,62,72,77,80,84,90,91,98,100), deadlift variations or hamstring curls (1,10,11,62,84), ankle plantarflexion based movements (1,25,32,62,79,80,84,(98)(99)(100), and a hip flexion or lunge variations (10,11,72,79,80,(98)(99)(100). Only a small number of studies examining concurrent strength and endurance training included upper body or "trunk" exercises (32,49,72). ...
... The most common exercises used in concurrent strength and endurance training literature for cyclists and runners include; a back squat and/or leg press (1,10,11,25,62,72,77,80,84,90,91,98,100), deadlift variations or hamstring curls (1,10,11,62,84), ankle plantarflexion based movements (1,25,32,62,79,80,84,(98)(99)(100), and a hip flexion or lunge variations (10,11,72,79,80,(98)(99)(100). Only a small number of studies examining concurrent strength and endurance training included upper body or "trunk" exercises (32,49,72). It should be noted that compound exercises such as deadlifts and back squats can also substantially load the upper body and trunk muscles while strengthening the lower limbs. ...
... Previous work has demonstrated concurrent running and resistance training can increase running economy and velocity as well as improve performance in a 3-km track running test in male runners [91]. Resistance/strength exercise also can improve neuromuscular characteristics that increase muscle work efficiency and thus allow running-based exercise at a lower oxygen consumption [138][139][140][141]. However, compared to cycling, running induces a higher rate of fat oxidation (at the same relative intensity), which is associated with higher total energy expenditure [142]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Concurrent training incorporates dual exercise modalities, typically resistance and aerobic-based exercise, either in a single session or as part of a periodized training program, that can promote muscle strength, mass, power/force and aerobic capacity adaptations for the purposes of sports performance or general health/wellbeing. Despite multiple health and exercise performance-related benefits, diminished muscle hypertrophy, strength and power have been reported with concurrent training compared to resistance training in isolation. Dietary protein is well-established to facilitate skeletal muscle growth, repair and regeneration during recovery from exercise. The degree to which increased protein intake can amplify adaptation responses with resistance exercise, and to a lesser extent aerobic exercise, has been highly studied. In contrast, much less focus has been directed toward the capacity for protein to enhance anabolic and metabolic responses with divergent contractile stimuli inherent to concurrent training and potentially negate interference in muscle strength, power and hypertrophy. This review consolidates available literature investigating increased protein intake on rates of muscle protein synthesis, hypertrophy, strength and force/power adaptations following acute and chronic concurrent training. Acute concurrent exercise studies provide evidence for the significant stimulation of myofibrillar protein synthesis with protein compared to placebo ingestion. High protein intake can also augment increases in lean mass with chronic concurrent training, although these increases do not appear to translate into further improvements in strength adaptations. Similarly, the available evidence indicates protein intake twice the recommended intake and beyond does not rescue decrements in selective aspects of muscle force and power production with concurrent training.
... When the sample was stratified in tertiles, according to runners' pace, a significant difference between groups for global fitness score was observed, where "recreational runners" presented the lowest mean value, and this result was statistically different from their peers. In addition, "amateur runners" had the highest mean value for global fitness score, and despite no difference be observed when compared to "semiprofessional runners", we speculate that "amateur runners" may be engaged not only in specific running training practices, but they may be involved in additional training program to develop other fitness variables [52]. On the other hand, "semi-professional runners" may have a greater focus on developing skills they judge are directly related (and more important) to running (e.g., aerobic capacity) [20]. ...
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