This session had several talks that just went over things we’ve already heard at the conference thus far; there were only two that had some novel information and are presented here. The first talk in the session was about how power training in ‘ultra-marathon’ runners significantly improved measures of performance. In this study, researchers took subjects who ran at least an average of 88 kilometers per week as distance athletes and subjected them to various fast-twitch, speed, and plyometric type exercises to get some explosiveness out of their muscles. The hypothesis was that explosive training, even in muscles that work at a set cadence for long periods of time, will still benefit from this kind of training and will result in better overall output and performance.
The researchers asked the subjects to perform a set regime of exercise three times a week for three weeks at which time they did a ten kilometer time trial on a treadmill while hooked up to various machines that could measure muscle output, VO2 Max, and other measures of performance. They found that doing these explosive and strength based exercises in these runners decreased the cost of running by 4%, increased the efficiency of the mitochondria (as the VO2 Max was unchanged), and increased overall efficiency because flight time was increased (less contact with the ground).
Take away: Endurance athletes should include explosive exercises into their routines to improve running performance and efficiency. It will increase their overall performance.
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