Date of Award

1-1-2004

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

School

School of Biomedical and Sports Science

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Angus Burnett

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate whether a strength training program, as an additive to endurance training, would cause significant improvements in 3km run time in a group of recreational female endurance runners when compared to endurance training only. Subjects were 16 active women, randomly assigned to either a running only group (control group, n=9) or a combined strength and endurance training group (experimental group, n=7). The ten-week training program for both groups consisted of an endurance running program three times per week, which included steady-state endurance running, tempo runs and interval training. The experimental group however, participated in additional strength training with heavy loads (up to five repitition maximum). Subjects were tested pre• and post-training in a 3km time trial, VO2 peak, running economy, muscular strength (lRM), as well as body composition and girth. A one-way ANCOVA, with the pre-training values as the covariate, was used to analyse the data. Both training groups showed a non-significant improvement in 3km performance times after the respective training programs. However, it was found that the experimental group times were not significantly different (p>0.05) to the control group post training. There was a trend (p=0.08) evident in the experimental group's time which improved 106.7 ± 91.4 seconds, while the control group improved 77.3 ± 93.0 seconds. The combined strength and endurance training group showed a significant increase (p<0.05) in lower body strength for the parallel squat (6% increase) and hamstring curl (45.1% increase) and a strong trend (p=0.06) for an increase in upper body strength for the bench press (11.9% increase). No significant strength changes were found for the control group. There were no significant differences evident in either group for VO2 peak running economy, body composition or girth measurements. This study found a non-significant trend for improvement in 3 km times when low repetition strength training was added to a running program. The main reason for the trend in improvement in the experimental group seemed to be the increased lower limb strength levels, which may improve variables such as increased stride length. It is concluded that combined strength and endurance training may improve running performance and its inclusion is recommended in the training programs of recreational athletes.

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