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The 7 Principles of Running Injury Free: Summary

This is a very brief summary of the article I wrote on the 7 Principles of Running Injury Free.  Click here for the full article.

THE VAST, VAST, VAST MAJORITY OF RUNNING INJURIES HAPPEN WHEN YOU TRY TO RUN FASTER OR FURTHER THAN YOUR BODY CAN HANDLE

If you want to enjoy running, get better at running or just avoid running injuries, here are my 7 principles for achieving those goals.

1. Most of your running should feel easy.

  • For most runners the most important limiting factor in your ability to run faster or further is your aerobic capacity.
  • Easy paced running improves your ability to take in and use oxygen, as well as improving how efficiently your body achieves this. Furthermore, by doing it at an easy pace you minimise the risks of picking up those dreaded running injuries.
  • Make at least 80% of your running easy paced, it’s what the best runners in the world do.
  • At an easy running pace, you should be able to hold a conversation with a friend

2. Structure and monitor your running week/month/year

  • Running with a structured plan helps you make each run purposeful.
  • Your weekly plan should fit within a longer term periodized training plan
  • Building your base, is a critical part of every training plan and will help build your stamina
  • Your running plan should fit into your life. It should also include a long run, strength training time for recovery and avoid two hard days in a row.
  • Monitoring your training helps give you objective and subjective measures of progress.

3. Long term goals should trump short term goals

  • Keeping your eye on longer term goals helps you avoid over training and getting injured.
  • A missed race, or weekly mileage goal is not the end of the world.
  • Find overarching long-term goals that work for you. Eg enjoy 3 months of pain free running

4. Increase your distances gradually and sustainably

  • Most running coaches agree that a 10% weekly increase in running distance is manageable
  • Your body needs time to adapt to the new loads

5. Strength training is an integral part of your running routine

  • Strength training helps you build up your body’s resilience to the loads placed on it by running
  • HEAVY weights for compound exercises like squats, deadlifts and hip-thrusters are most effective, but should only be tackled once you are familiar with using lighter weights

6. Make each run a sandwich (what to do before and after your runs)

  • Before running do dynamic stretches and drills which help your body prepare for the running you will do in that session.
  • Afterwards, focus on core strength and, if you have time, static stretching

7. Consistency is key

  • If you can stick to a running schedule for several months, gradually increasing the mileage, incorporating your strength training, you will become a better runner.