A review in the British Journal of Sports medicine in October 2013 examined all the research regarding injury prevention in sports. Over 25,000 runners with 3464 injuries were analysed, looking specifically at the effects stretching, strengthening and balance exercises have on reducing injury.
The most interesting finding was that strengthening exercises could reduce overuse injuries – which marathon runners are most aware of – by nearly 50%.
It didn’t find any noticeable effect for stretching, but balance and proprioception exercises were beneficial on reducing injuries occuring.
With 81 days until the Dublin marathon, I thought I would shine some light on running research from around the world.
This one from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil showed that people who added strength training just twice a week over 6 weeks ran faster 10km times by 65 seconds on average.
The athletes were put in two groups, one that continued their normal endurance training, and another that added in two sessions of strength training per week. After 6 weeks of this program their 10km times were retested showing a significant decrease in time.
This was particularly noticeable in the final quarter of the race, where the strength group kicked on as the control group who hadn’t done the strengthening faded back.