Quick and Dirty Tips to Prevent Running Injuries for Good
By Jason Fitzgerald
Photo by Greatist
Jason Fitzgerald is a 2:39 marathoner and USA Track & Field certified coach. Get the latest training tips at Strength Running— or sign up for two free presentations on injury prevention to help you stay healthy.
Despite the fact that runners aren’t repeatedly tackled and buried under piles of bodies and equipment, the numbers tell us that they’re hurt almost as frequently as pro football players. But why are roughly 56 percent of runners nursing injuries each year? The answer is simple: Most runners just don’t train properly. Perhaps because running is a straightforward, natural movement, many people don’t think it requires instruction or attention to technique. But just like a deadlift or football tackle, running properly is a skill that has to be learned. Running fast or far without decent instruction increases risk of injury.
Related: The Ultimate Guide to Running Lingo
Consistent, injury-free running is what I call the “secret sauce” of good training. With it comes happier running, better training, and faster finishes Fortunately even novice runners can learn how to structure their training to prevent injury. After working with thousands of runners, I’ve learned that there are three main ways to stay healthy, and the best part is that they’re all super easy to implement.
Stay Healthy for the Long Run — Your Action Plan
1. Don’t be boring. Most running injuries are caused by repetitive stress, or repeated use of the same part of the body. When training plans lack variety, injury risk increases because the athlete is taxing the same part of the body in the same way over and over. As a coach, I review runners’ training programs every single day. And after looking over nearly a thousand plans, I’ve noticed that most training is boring. I see the same distances run at the same paces, over the same loop, in the same shoes.