A study conducted by the University of Sydney, Australia confirms what many distance running coaches already knew; A little plyometric work will improve your 3k and 5k running times. Subjects in this study showed a 3% improvement.
The study examines the benefits of a progressive plyometric program over a six week period. All participants were averaging 40 – 55 mile per week prior to supplementing their training. If you are not currently running this volume, then you would see more benefit with increased mileage. However, if you are running 40 -55 miles a week and would like to sharpen your turnover, this may be an option. It’s important to note that this supplemental plyometric training did not replace key workouts such as tempo and interval work.
If one or more of these apply to you, I would hold off on plyometric exercises: You have a recent injury
You have not been running consistently
You cannot squat 1.5 times your body weight
You are running less than 30 miles a week
Here is a list of the basic plyometric exercises used for this study:
1)split scissor jumps
3)double leg hurdle hops
4)single leg hurdle hops