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Running and Injury Prevention

Strength Training is Key

Strength training for runners I hear you ask? Yes! With each step when we run we endure large amounts of force through the muscles of our legs — up to 6 times our bodyweight (BW) through our quadriceps and up to 8 times our BW through our calves! Now if this amount of force is repeatedly being endured with every single stride, we must create strong robust muscles, joints and bones to be able to withstand it!

This is well supported in literature, with heavy, slow, resistance training being favoured compared to lighter loads.

Recover Better by Sleeping Better!

Optimal sleep quality and quantity is the single best recovery strategy for runners. In studies following people with partial sleep deprivation, long distance running was more affected than single maximal efforts (Reilly & Edwards 2007).

Bad sleep may have a range of consequences for runners beyond reduced performance. For example weakened immunity and endocrine function (the endocrine hormones help control mood, growth and development, and metabolism). This could ultimately affect the bodies recovery process and adaptations to training (Halson 2014). Sleep deprivation can also result in reduced cognitive function, increased pain perception, mood changes and altered metabolism (Halson 2014).

Good sleep hygiene practices can optimise your sleep quantity and quality. Here are some of the best tips below:

  • Sleep in a cold, dark room
  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule – try wake up and go to sleep at roughly the same time each day 
  • Avoid caffeine within 6 hours of going to sleep 
  • Reduce the amount of screentime in the hour prior to bedtime

Increasing Training Load

When aiming to increase your speed or ability to run further it is important to slowly increase your training load. This way your body can adapt to the new demands. However, this applied training load is not just about how many kilometers you run per week! The ‘rate of loading’ (how much you can recover in between runs), ‘training frequency’ (how many times you train per week) as well as ‘cumulative loading’ (total training volume), are all important factors. 

Additionally, your ability to tolerate this applied load can determine injury risk. Tissue health (muscle, tendon, bone), systemic health, injury history, age and psychosocial factors will all play a role in determining your capacity to load. 

If you were to apply excessive training load when your body isn’t able to tolerate that load, a training load error may occur which may lead to injury! Therefore it is important to recognise that your capacity to tolerate running load improves slowly over time.

Be Proactive

As physiotherapists, predicting when an injury may occur is one of our greatest goals. At YS Physio, we have state-of-the-art testing equipment that we use with our clients to give them an edge on the sporting field or running track.

Our ‘AxIT’ strength testing equipment can accurately measure the strength of the big running muscles, compare left and right sides, and also track progress during rehabilitation of injuries. They are quick and easy to use, and can provide real time information that takes the guesswork out of assessing. 

We cannot stress the importance of being proactive while being a runner, a gym-goer or a sport player, rather than being reactive when it comes to injuries.

We have sport-specific assessment sessions that can determine potential areas of improvement in your performance that can lead to the prevention of potential injuries. If you would like more information on this equipment or these assessment sessions, or if you have a question about running in general, feel free to give us a call on 8080 8088 or send us an email at We would love to help! 

Post Author: YS Physio

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