Running Injury Prevention: Part 1 – Make a Plan

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A running injury can lead to setbacks and bring with it a new set of challenges. I have been oft injured and forced to change how I prepare and actually go about running. This series will focus on what I actually do on a day to day basis to prevent injury. It’s not perfect but it works for me. Let me know what you guys think!

1. Running in Reality

I spend a lot of my time (to my detriment) practicing “magical thinking.” It’s why I show up to places 10 minutes late and why I run an 8:40 pace on my “easy” days instead of my actual “easy” pace of 9:10.

Learn from my mistake and run (and live) in reality. Go by the numbers. If your running plan says to run an easy 3 miles then run 3 very easy miles. It sounds easy but it’s not…at least for me.

2. Adjust Accordingly

Because I practice magical thinking I tend to forget what I actually ran the week prior and I’ll pretend that I ran what I wanted to run. This doesn’t make sense but I do it all the time.

If your running plan says to go from 10 miles total one week to 12 miles total the next week and you only ran 8 miles the previous week, don’t pretend you ran 10 miles and try to do 12 miles the next week.

This is the algorithm I use: determine your average weekly running mileage of the previous 3 weeks and multiply that number by .05 (5%). Use that number as a marker for how much to increase your weekly mileage. For example: three week average = 15 miles x .05 = .75. Add .75 miles to your total weekly mileage for that week.

3. Diversify

Every run for me was at the same pace/intensity and I got injured all the time. So if your running plan says to run 3x/week, run at a different pace/intensity each run. I run 3x/week and I do one “easy” long run, one “moderate” run with hill repeats, and one “hard” run with some form of speed work like 800m intervals.

The first step to prevent a running injury is creating a plan, so get started with that as soon as possible. If you would like assistance, Dr. Wilkins is happy to help!