Injury Prevention Guidelines for Runners

Injury Prevention Summary

Injuries are a part of most sports and the process of learning how to prevent injuries usually requires the motivation to learn after being injured. When starting a training program following a long absence, coaches recommend starting at low volume (low miles) and low intensity (reduced speed) and gradually increasing each allowing for the necessary time for your body to adapt. Text-book training plans for long distance events will be periodized, with a base-building period of low intensity and low volume, followed by increasing levels of activity, all while incorporating the rest/breaks you’ll need to avoid injury. BOISE RunWalk’s training plans are published for people starting towards their first or second long distance event, and you’ll work with your coaches to add strength and cross training and possibly speed training depending on your specific starting level of fitness and your target goals.

Use this list to begin your journey into training for long distance endurance events, whether you’re running or walking or some combination. Read the other articles on this site to become even more familiar with injuries, prevention, and how to improve your chances of having a successful season of training.

  • Listen to your body. Pain is a signal. Learn to recognize the difference between pain and fatigue. Fatigue is not bad and can be expected. It is a required part of training.
Common rule of thumb: do not increase training volume or intensity more than approximately 10% per week. This works by extension too – no more than about a 20% increase over a 2-week period and so on.
  • A warm-up should be part of your workout. 5-10 minutes to warm the muscles and connective tissues followed by limbering up via static stretching or through dynamic range of motion movement .
  • Stretching after a workout, gently and patiently. Yoga once or twice each week can be effective. Various issues and opinions exist concerning stretching, but it is beneficial if done correctly and safely.
  • No more than two sequential workout days without a rest day or cross training. Work with your coach to periodize your week, month and season.
  • Avoid “too much too soon”. Your brain has not forgotten what you “used” to do, but your body certain can and will. Set a realistic and attainable goal, create an intelligent plan to get there, and let your body adapt while you balance rest and training.
  • Don’t try and make up for missed workouts. No one does 100% of what they “plan” to do. Life “happens.” If coming off an injury, follow the advice of your doctor and coach.
  • It’s OK to miss a workout. The more workouts you miss, you should also make reasonable adjustments to your expectations and decrease your intensity and volume to more gradually reacquaint your body with the rigors of training..
  • If you’re in pain, seek early intervention. It will likely be less expensive, less invasive, and less likely to interrupt your training if caught and dealt with early.