European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 116, Issue 7, pp 1331–1341 | Cite as

Effect of speed endurance and strength training on performance, running economy and muscular adaptations in endurance-trained runners

  • Jacob Vorup
  • Jonas Tybirk
  • Thomas P. Gunnarsson
  • Tanja Ravnholt
  • Sarah Dalsgaard
  • Jens Bangsbo
Original Article



To investigate the effects of combined strength and speed endurance (SE) training along with a reduced training volume on performance, running economy and muscular adaptations in endurance-trained runners.


Sixteen male endurance runners (VO2-max: ~60 ml kg−1 min−1) were randomly assigned to either a combined strength and SE training (CSS; n = 9) or a control (CON; n = 7) group. For 8 weeks, CSS replaced their normal moderate-intensity training (~63 km week−1) with SE (2 × week−1) and strength training (2 × week−1) as well as aerobic high (1 × week−1) and moderate (1 × week−1) intensity training with a reduction in total volume of ~58 %, whereas CON continued their training (~45 km week−1).


In CSS, 400-m and Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test performance was improved by 5 % (P < 0.01) and 19 % (P < 0.001), respectively, during the intervention period. Maximal aerobic speed was 0.6 km h−1 higher (P < 0.05), and maximal activity of lactate dehydrogenase subunits 1 and 2 was 17 % (P < 0.05) higher after compared to before the intervention period. Time to exhaustion and peak blood lactate during an incremental treadmill test was 9 % (P < 0.05) and 32 % (P < 0.01), respectively, higher and expression of Na+–K+ pump β1 subunit was 15 % higher (P < 0.05) after compared to before the intervention period. 10-K performance, maximum oxygen uptake and running economy were unchanged. In CON, no changes were observed.


Adding strength and speed endurance training, along with a reduced training volume, can improve short-term exercise capacity and induce muscular adaptations related to anaerobic capacity in endurance-trained runners.


Pulmonary oxygen uptake High-intensity training Resistance training Muscle ion transport proteins 



Aerobic high-intensity training


Aerobic moderate-intensity training


Control group


Cytochrome c oxidase


Citrate synthase


Combined strength and speed endurance


Hydroxyaxyl-CoA dehydrogenase


Maximal heart rate


Lactate dehydrogenase


Maximal aerobic speed


Monocarboxylate transporter

Na+–K+ pump

Sodium potassium pump






Repetition maximum


Speed endurance


Maximal oxygen uptake

Yo-Yo IR

Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test


Relative maximal oxygen uptake



We thank J. Schmidt and L. Nybo for excellent medical assistance as well as J.J. Nielsen and M. Thomassen for excellent technical assistance. This work was supported by Team Denmark.

Compliance with ethical standard

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacob Vorup
    • 1
  • Jonas Tybirk
    • 1
  • Thomas P. Gunnarsson
    • 1
  • Tanja Ravnholt
    • 1
  • Sarah Dalsgaard
    • 1
  • Jens Bangsbo
    • 1
  1. 1.Section of Integrated Physiology, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and SportsUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen ØDenmark

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