A message to all distance runners who think lifting weights will slow them down: A study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine says you're wrong. Researchers at Brazil's Human Performance Laboratory (Rio Claro) studied 16 experienced runners for four weeks: Eight did explosive strength training (EST) and the rest performed heavy-weight strength training (HWT). At the end of the study, the HWT group showed a significant increase in running economy while the EST group didn't.
Take-Home Tip: If you're training for a road race (like I am), lifting can help lower your split times, as long as you train for pure strength: reps in the 4-6 range and generous rest periods between sets (2-3 minutes). Keep overall volume in check to avoid overtraining.