Background To date, research investigating the training habits and practice of resistance training among elite distance runners as well as training factors relating to injury, has been sparse.
Objective To investigate the typical training of Irish distance runners and self-reported injury incidences over a previous two year period.
Design Mixed methods.
Setting Irish elite distance runners completed a questionnaire using Google Forms.
Participants Opportunistic sampling (n=109, n=78 male and n=31 female respondents) from age 18+ who compete from 800 m up to the Marathon, from national competitive to international level of performance.
Interventions The independent variables included demographic profile, typical weekly running training volume and practice of resistance training.
Main Outcome Measurements A multi-stage data analysis process using SPSS, data coding and Chi square analysis. A p-value of <0.05 was used to determine statistical significance between variables and sub-groups.
Results More than half the respondents (53.2%) run less than 60 miles per week and 11% run more than 80 miles per week. Eighty-eight per cent of athletes include resistance training. Weight training (36.5% complete two sessions per week), plyometric training (35.4% complete one session per week), core training (47.9% complete two sessions per week) and hill training (60.4% complete one session per week) were the most common resistance training methods employed. In the previous two years, 60.5% of athletes experienced a running-related injury. The knee (24.2%) was the most common injury site and 25.8% of athletes experienced a bone stress injury.
Conclusions Irish distance runners train at lower weekly running volumes than previously reported for world-class elite athletes, but include resistance training methods that are typically employed to improve running economy and performance. No significant relationships were found between training trends, demographic profile and injury incidences. Future prospective studies should examine the periodisation of training loads and resistance training across a season.
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