For decades researchers and runners have endeavored to improve endurance running performance. Recent evidence suggests that adding resistance training to a running program can improve running performance. Our purpose was to determine if 6wks of resistance exercise via negative eccentrically-induced work (RENEW), an exercise that increases muscle size, strength, and stiffness, could serve as an effective “non-running” modality for improving running performance. Recreational runners were assigned to a: RENEW (n=7), plyometric (PLYO, n=7), or control (CON, n=7) group. RENEW trained on an eccentric ergometer (3x/wk, 10-30min, 54-66% of peak heart rate) while the PLYO performed a standardized protocol (2-3x/wk, 30min,) for 6wks. Groups continued their normal running. Before and after training, participants performed a 3km running time trial and 5-bound hop test to evaluate running performance and stretch-shortening cycle utilization. During training RENEW increased work rates from 192±44 to 324±89W while exercising at “moderate to somewhat hard” exertion levels (11.9±1.1 to 14.0±0.7 Borg-scale units). Both RENEW and PLYO reported similar levels of muscle soreness (0.68±0.49cm vs. 1.37±1.32cm; group x time interaction, P=0.310). Following training, all groups exhibited similar 3km times and 5-bound hop distances (group x time interactions P=0.232 and P=0.94, respectively). These results demonstrate that RENEW training can be safely tolerated while performing normal running training. RENEW training, however, was not a strong enough stimulus to improve performance in these recreational runners. These findings fall squarely in the middle of previous reports indicating 1) improvements, 2) decrements, or 3) no change in running performance when utilizing non-running tasks.
Lewis, Darien, "Improving Running Performance Using Non-Running Tasks" (2014). Honors College. 200.