The goal of endurance sport is to complete a set distance in the shortest time possible, or at least in a shorter time than other competitors in the event. While the quantification and manipulation of training variables to bring about improvements in physiological determinants of endurance performance have been considered for over 40 years (Pollock, 1973), many questions remain unanswered (Midgley et al, 2006), particularly with regards running economy (Barnes and Kilding, 2014) and concurrent training (the combination of strength and endurance training) (Beattie et al, 2014). At the end of the twentieth century, Paavolainen et al (1999) showed compelling evidence that explosive-strength training can improve endurance performance in a 5km time-trial by improving running economy and anaerobic power. Recent attempts have been made to elucidate the influence other types of strength training have on endurance performance.
An issue with the current literature base appears to be that investigations of concurrent training on endurance performance are often conducted in recreational level athletes, with relatively few studies observing highly-trained athletes (Sedano et al, 2013). There is a particular dearth of literature when considering the role of concurrent training in the preparations of highly-trained junior or young adult athletes (16-21 years). In a recent systematic and comprehensive review of strength training and endurance performance, only eight papers were found that included running in highly-trained athletes, and only one focused on junior athletes (Mikkola et al, 2007 in Beattie et al, 2014).
Therefore, this research project will investigate the role of concurrent training in the physical preparation and performances of highly-trained junior endurance athletes.
UKSCA have provided a £1900 grant to assist with equipment and consumable costs.