If you don’t include plyometrics in your training, you should. The guys and girls I coach regularly have drills and skills in their program which include exercises such as this.
Below is the abstract of an article which has come up again following citation from this paper which is due for publication now – PELLEGRINO, J., B. C. RUBY, and C. L. DUMKE. Effect of Plyometrics on the Energy Cost of Running and MHC and Titin Isoforms.Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 48, No. 1, pp. 49–56, 2016
I’ve copied the training protocol as a png file if you can’t get access to the original paper. Give the routine a go and see how your performances improve over 6 weeks.
WORD OF WARNING…..
if you’ve never done plyometrics before then extend the rest time and build up more gradually (so spend 3-4weeks doing the first 2 weeks sessions for example). You should have a work:rest ration of 1:3 at least while doing the exercise session. Make sure you focus on your form – do them in front of a mirror to check your body / hip / knee / foot alignment.
Eur J Appl Physiol (2003) 89: 1–7 The effect of plyometric training on distance running performance.
Previous research has reported that plyometric training improves running economy (RE) and ultimately distance-running performance, although the exact mechanism by which this occurs remains unclear. This study examined whether changes in running performance resulting from plyometric training were related to alterations in lower leg musculotendinous stiffness (MTS). Seventeen male runners were pre- and post-tested for lower leg MTS, maximum isometric force, rate of force development, 5-bound distance test (5BT), counter movement jump (CMJ) height , RE, V˙O2max, lactate threshold (Thla), and 3-km time. Subjects were randomly split into an experimental (E) group which completed 6 weeks of plyometric training in conjunction with their normal running training, and a control (C) group which trained as normal. Following the training period, the E group significantly improved 3-km performance (2.7%) and RE at each of the tested velocities, while no changes in V˙O2max or Thla were recorded. CMJ height, 5BT, and MTS also increased significantly. No significant changes were observed in any measures for the C group. The results clearly demonstrated that a 6-week plyometric programme led to improvements in 3-km running performance. It is postulated that the increase in MTS resulted in improved RE. We speculate that the improved RE led to changes in 3-km running performance, as there were no corresponding alterations in V˙O2max or Thla.