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Running up – Evidence based tips for runners to avoid injury

recreational runners - corellation of running and osteoarthritis

With the beginning of a new year come new goals, many which include starting a new exercise program or setting new goals in existing programs. Runners often set goals of running a certain mileage (ie marathon), or goals of a personal best time. Here I’ve compiled some tips for runners to avoid injury when starting a new running program.

  1. Plan well in advance to allow for adequate training time.

Preparing for a run requires time. Repeated studies have found that rapid increases in running distance, speed, the introduction of hills, etc will increase your risk of injury.1,2

One can follow the 10% rule when increasing training volume to minimize one’s risk of the following injuries: patellofemoral pain (runner’s knee), iliotibial band syndrome, medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints), patellar tendinopathy (jumper’s knee), greater trochanteric bursitis, and injury to the gluteus medius or tensor fascia latae 3 How long you need to train depends on the race and your fitness level.

2. Include strength training.

There is no evidence to suggest that concurrent strength training impedes running ability. Results of a 2017 study show that runners who also do strength training improve their efficiency of running, strength and speed.4,5 Strengthening may also help prevent injuries. Check this
resurge review.

3. Include slow runs in your training.

Total training time spent at low intensities is associated with improved performance.6

Elite runners typically spend about 80% of their training below their ventilatory threshold – that’s below 77-79% of their maximum heart rate. You can calculate your ventilatory threshold using the following formula:  V=(220 – age)x 0.77 in beats per minute. Its also at about the point where you can run and still have a conversation.