5 Tips to Help Prevent Running Injuries

  1. Progressive load tolerance: the majority of running injuries occur from doing too much too soon! Whether a tendinopathy, plantar fasciitis, patellofemoral syndrome, IT band syndrome, stress fracture, muscle strain, you name it, your body needs to learn to accept load gradually over a period of time so you don’t exceed the tissue’s capacity to adapt. Gradual progressions are important whether you are learning to run, returning to run after some time off, after a rest period following a race, or coming off of another injury. This will likely look like some form of run-walk progression – for best results, speak to your healthcare practitioner! (And a word to the wise runner, ALWAYS consult a healthcare practitioner who is also a runner themselves).
  2. Cadence of 180 steps per minute: research has shown that running with a cadence of 180 steps per minute (range from 170-190), regardless of pace or speed, is beneficial in terms of injury prevention. A slightly faster cadence than perhaps you are used to will be helpful in reducing the amount of contact time with the ground while taking a step, which reduces the amount of force transmitted through your foot, knee, hip and into your body. Transitioning to a different cadence than usual should also be done gradually!
  3. Run lighter: Perhaps this one seems over-simplified, but by taking quieter steps, you are also reducing the amount of force transferred through your body. You want to hear as little sound as possible when your foot contacts the ground.
  4. Run a minimum of 4 days/week: your body needs to learn to adapt to the stimulus of running, and will only do so if running occurs with enough frequency. Running only a couple of times per week will not allow for the appropriate adaptations in your muscles, bones, tendons and other tissues, thus resulting in a greater likelihood of injury. This does NOT mean that every run has to be fast or long! How frequently you run is the important factor here. Including speed and longer runs will vary depending on your running goals.
  5. Appropriate footwear: make sure to consult your healthcare provider on this one, but research has shown that running in shoes with a lot of cushioning and arch support can actually reduce your body’s capacity to regulate how much force is being transferred from the ground to your foot, ankle, knee, hip, lower back, etc. Ensure you have the right pair of shoes specifically for you!

For more advice on running injury prevention, treatment and return to run, consult one of our healthcare providers at Ace Sports Clinic.

Check out our Ace Running Programs here.

Written by: Hilary Mallinger, Registered Physiotherapist

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