Distance runners are among the world's most disciplined athletes. They chart a pace for every mile of a race and stick to their plan no matter what the field does. They plan their training months in advance and are not averse to spending hours a day on a treadmill.
But many long-distance runners find that an unfortunate side effect of their disciplined approach is a tendency to fall into a training rut. Over time, the monotony of running mile after mile becomes a routine that's tough to break.
If your training regimen has grown stale and ineffective, try mixing things up with a plyometric workout once a week. Plyometrics infuse endurance training with speed and power—two qualities you'll need if you're going to take your running to the next level. So, how do plyometrics help endurance athletes? Below, we break down three main areas.
Take Advantage of Terrain
Long-distance athletes who perform explosive training are able to make terrain work for them. A few months of plyometrics will help you gain time on the field when running downhill instead of just coasting. And you'll have the power to climb hills faster.
Frustrated by nagging injuries that sideline you for days, weeks or even months at a time? By building a strong, powerful core and lower-body muscles, you'll stabilize joints that tend to wear down with overuse, such as your hips, knees and ankles. The agility you'll gain through plyometrics can also help you avoid the missteps that always seem to occur when you're tired.
Speed and Endurance
You may not need speed and explosive power from the moment the starter pistol fires, but it's good to have them later in the race. Whether you want to avoid hitting the wall on Mile 20 or grind out that last mile or two, you'll be thankful for speed training when you cross the finish line.
Ready to start adding plyometrics to your endurance training? Try the following plyo workouts:
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