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Infographic. Running myth: strength training should be high repetition low load to improve running performance
  1. James L N Alexander1,
  2. Christian J Barton1,2,
  3. Richard W Willy3
  1. 1Sports and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Department of Surgery, St Vincent's Hospital, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3Physical Therapy and Movement Science, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, USA
  1. Correspondence to James L N Alexander, Sports and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC 3086, Australia; j.alexander{at}

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The important performance benefits of strength training, including heavy resistance, explosive resistance and plyometric training for endurance runners have been well documented in recent systematic reviews.1–5 As such, strength training should be considered an important addition to a well-planned training programme for middle and long distance runners of all levels.

The key benefits runners can obtain from a strength training programme include:

  1. Improved running economy.

  2. Faster time trial performance.

  3. Faster maximal sprint speed.

Strength training interventions lasting 6–20 weeks, added to the training programme of a distance runner with >6 months running experience, have been reported to enhance running economy by 2%–8%.5 Running economy improvements will theoretically enhance endurance running performance by allowing the runner to run at a lower oxygen or energy cost during training and racing.5 These benefits have been reported in runners from a recreational level through …

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