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Top-tips for Injury-Prevention
Top-tips for Injury-Prevention

Here's our top tips for minimising your injury risk when training.

Sam avatar
Written by Sam
Updated over a week ago

Top-tips for Injury-Prevention

Unfortunately, due to the nature of the sport, it is very common to pick up injuries along the way. But rather than waiting to get injured and go through the rehab phase, why don’t we look at the things we do during our training to ‘prehab’!

Why is Injury-Prevention so important?

As ‘Runnas’, injuries are EXTREMELY frustrating no matter what the timescale for return is. We DO NOT want to be told we have to STOP! Picking up an injury is one of the biggest fears for all runners so we should look at our training and put preventive measures in place to help reduce the risk while enhancing the strength and robustness of the body. There are multiple ways to do this - here are our top tips to reduce the risk of injury:

1. Non-impact workouts/Cross-training

When we are injured, the physio will usually say we can “cross-train” instead to maintain fitness while allowing the injury to heal. Why not implement this into your training in any way? The beauty of cross-training means that you can still improve your cardiovascular fitness, without putting the impact (i.e. repetitive stress) through your body that running causes. Many elite runners who are prone to injuries have switched a lot of their weekly running volume to non-impact workouts instead as you will still gain similar fitness benefits. So what can you do? Activities such as biking, swimming or elliptical can all be extremely beneficial ways of training and you can do different types of sessions, just like you do with running (e.g. easy, intervals, and tempos). If this is something you would like more information on, take a look at our article for Converting your runs into non-impact sessions”.

2. Running on softer surfaces

The majority of us will just head out for our runs on the roads as they are often the most convenient and least time-consuming routes that are available. However, have you ever considered the stress that your body is put under when pounding the concrete pavements? Alternatively, it would be a great idea to get off-road and run on softer surfaces such as trails or grass to off-load the pressure that your body is put under. Of course, the difference between road and trail/grass will be minimal but it is those small percentages that can be worthwhile over time. Particularly, during the summer months when the weather should be better, you can run on these surfaces without getting too muddy! When running on these types of surfaces, the terrain can alter. Depending on the elevation/difficulty level you may need to run to RPE (Relative Perceived Effort) instead of pace, which you can switch in the Runna app by heading to the Train tab > Manage Plan > Units of measure > Workout Targets > RPE

3. Adding Strength/Mobility/Pilates workouts

Running is a highly strenuous activity that can put a lot of physical stress on your body, which can lead to injuries if you do not prepare for it! By adding running-specific strength/mobility/Pilates workouts into your training, you can condition your body to be able to tolerate force by strengthening muscle groups and tendons. Regular stretching will firstly reduce the risk of injury as it helps you to recover faster and reduce aches and pains, while also improving your performance as your range of motion and running economy will increase. This will enhance your running cadence and form.

Train Tab > Manage Plan > Add Additional Workouts > Set Up Strength/Mobility/Pilates

4. Footwear

Footwear and running form can often cause problems for many runners. Running shoes will come to the end of their life cycle quicker than your normal shoes due to the force they are put under during training sessions. The cushioning/foam will diminish over time, as well as the outsole wearing out, which can reduce the support that your body receives. Brands typically recommend that you don’t surpass 500 miles/800km in a good pair of your typical day-to-day ‘mileage’ shoes. However, this can vary and deteriorate faster so keep an eye on how your shoes are feeling! We have the Shoe Tracker feature in the app where you can add your current training shoe and accumulate all the miles/km that you run in them. Profile > My Shoes > Add

We would also recommend that you head to your local specialist running shop that offers a “gait analysis” service to ensure that you are put in the right shoe for you (neutral or stability depending on the outcome).

NEUTRAL STABILITY

New Balance 880 V14 New Balance 860 V14

5. Keeping “Easy” runs EASY

Easy runs make up most of your volume and are one of the most valuable parts of your training plan. Running is hard on the body, running at faster speeds generates more force through our muscles, tendons and bones, and as a result, takes longer to recover from as well as increasing our risk of injury. This is where our easy runs come in. They allow your body to actively recover and adapt to the stresses of your hard workouts or races. Incorporating easy runs allows you to sustainably increase your mileage which is valuable for endurance events and freshen up for your longer and faster sessions! Enjoy your easy running – you can treat this as the social aspect of your training as you should be able to comfortably hold a conversation at this pace. Zone 2 (HR training) has become a very popular method of training. While the Runna app does not currently work to heart rate yet, if you have access to a reliable HR tracking device (chest strap rather than watch), working to remain in your zone 2 is a great way of ensuring that you keep your training easy.

6. Gradual Progression of Training

The importance of gradual progress in your training cannot be stressed enough, especially if you know you can be prone to injuries. If you progress your training volume too quickly, you don't give your body enough time to gain toleration to the load and stress that it is being put under. You need to find a balance between advancing your training too fast but also progressively overloading your body at the correct rate to see improvements. It is often a fine line! It is recommended that the amount of variables you change at one time are as minimal as possible. The Runna training plans will do this for you, increasing little by little – CONSISTENCY is the most important thing in your training!

7. Regular Physio/Sports Massage

Usually, we only go to the physio when we are injured and need to pay for numerous appointments within a very short timeframe. Why not book in to see your physio regularly for a check-up? They can help you identify areas of weakness and give you exercises to help your development. A regular sports massage will reduce tension and aches while treating specific soft tissue and muscles that are more susceptible to injury. Routine physio/massage appointments could be an essential preventative measure that you add to your training schedule. Alternatively, using a foam roller you can 'self-massage' to get a similar effect.

8. Nutrition/Hydration/Sleep

Nutrition. Hydration. Sleep. These 3 components are VITAL! They increase your body's performance levels while enhancing the recovery processes. There are endless benefits to focussing on each of these factors but here are some general benefits:

Nutrition

· Optimise energy levels which are needed for high-level performance

· Enhancing recovery in between training

· Building muscle

Hydration

· Helps the body to control its temperature

· Replaces minerals that have been lost from sweating during your workout

· Ensures that our joints continue to work smoothly

Sleep

· Increases performance/energy levels

· Helps muscles to repair tissue and build muscle

· Helps retain muscle memory

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