If you're trying to be a faster runner, weightlifting sessions might seem like wasted time. Fortunately, a recent analysis shows that working on strength training makes you run more efficiently.
Photo by slgckgc.
The studies looked at runners who added a strength program to their running, compared to runners who didn't. After four weeks or more, those who hit the gym were able to run the same pace while using 3-4 per cent less oxygen. Or, to put it another way, they could run a little bit faster for the same effort. Their "running economy" had increased.
Another bit of good news from the analysis: the strength sessions didn't have to be brutal. Most used low to moderate amounts of weight, did not involve lifting "to failure," and only included a few exercises per session.
The studies only compared runners who added gym time to runners who didn't, so they don't help us decide whether to swap a day of running for a day of weights. But at least we can now say that that time in the gym isn't wasted -- it does seem to benefit your running.
For more on the details of the research, including some important caveats, check out the full post at Runner's World.
Strength Training for Running Economy [Runner's World]