Resistance training is a great way for runners -- especially long-distance runners -- to increase their speed. Let's say you're training for a marathon. So far, you've limited your training to running -- building on your distance each week. You should know, though, that without strength in all muscles (not just the ones you use for running), you've neglected muscle fibers and nerve pathways in your body. Building strength gets these fibers ready and gives you what experts call a "speed reserve." This reserve will help give you a burst of speed when you need it most -- something you'll find invaluable when you hit the inevitable "wall" during a marathon.
Stimulating the nervous system through speed resistance and interval training helps lead to increased speed capacity. In turn, runners find that increased speed capacity provides them with two profound benefits:
- Running at pace but using less energy -- which creates a speed reserve for a surge at the finish
- Running at a faster overall pace, improving their overall time -- something competitive runners shoot for
Resistance speed training isn't as much about building muscle as it's about building the capacity to store energy to use later. Using a bungee speed training program provides specific physiological benefits:
- Increased blood flow to muscle fibers
- Increased availability of fuel to the muscles
- Increased cell mitochondria (which create energy for cells)
- Stronger bones
- Stronger connective tissue
- Increased flexibility
This type of training also helps reduce the chance of injury. When you run, your lower body and feet absorb a force up to five times your body weight every time your heel hits the ground. The cumulative impact of this constant stress can be devastating if your body is not conditioned properly. Impact-related injuries are usually associated with muscle weakness or imbalance. Because resistance training results in stronger bones, increased flexibility and stronger connective tissue, it can help you to strengthen these muscles and avoid such injuries.
Performing bungee speed drills will help strengthen the muscles in your feet, legs and trunk. The resulting strength in those muscles will also take strain off your spinal column, in turn improving your overall balance and stability.
You can achieve these benefits using just about any type of resistance training, but bungee training specifically gives a more smooth and less jarring workout.
For more about running and health, check out the links below.
- How a Marathon Works
- How Exercise Works
- How Interval Training Works
- How Ab Workouts for Runners Work
- How Leg Workouts for Runners Work
- How Core Strength Training for Runners Works
- How to Avoid Overtraining in Running
- Can I run when I have a cold?
- Does running reduce stress?
- Does running fight depression?
- How many calories does running burn?
- Christensen, Scott. "Strength Training For Endurance Runners With Applications To Other Events." Track Coach. 2000. (Aug. 8, 2010)http://www.coachr.org/dista.htm
- Collins, Paul. "Speed for Sport: Build Your Strongest Body Ever." Meyer & Myer Sport, LTD. March 1, 2009. (Aug. 8, 2010)http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_1/1422.shtml
- Green, Nate. "Darren Sharper Off-Season Speed Training." Stack Magazine. November 2007. (Aug. 8, 2010) http://magazine.stack.com/TheIssue/Article/4889/Darren_Sharper_OffSeason_Speed_Training.aspx
- "Mitochondria - Turning on the Powerhouse." Biology4Kids.com. 2010. (Aug. 8, 2010) http://www.biology4kids.com/files/cell_mito.html
- Perros, Theodore P. "History: Athens Marathon." AthensMarathon.com. 2001. (Aug. 8, 2010) http://www.athensmarathon.com/marathon/history.html
- "Resistance Training - beginners." Better Health Channel. July 2010. (Aug. 8, 2010) http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Resistance_training
- "Super Bungie Speed Trainer." ShapeUpShop.com. 2010. (Aug. 8, 2010) http://www.shapeupshop.com/fitness/running/super_bungie.htm
- Trappe. Scott. "Resistance training may help astronauts on long flights." Ball State University. Aug. 23, 2004. (Aug. 8, 2010) http://www.bsu.edu/news/article/0,1370,-1019-24016,00.html