Imposing the inevitable left-right, left-right on the body several hundred times every kilometres leaves runners vulnerable to a wide array of overuse injuries. With a few preventive measures, however, you can sidestep most of them. Try these four strategies:
- Run every other day. By allowing 48 hours between your workouts, you enable your body to recover from the previous run and minimise your injury risk.
- Schedule long runs every other week. Weekly long runs may not give your body the time it needs before going long again.
- Increase total mileage by no more than 10 per cent a week. Also, take a “half-mileage” week every three or four weeks.
- Build intensity gradually. Add only one quality training element (hills, tempo runs, speedwork) at a time to your schedule. So if you begin doing hill workouts, wait at least three weeks before adding a track workout or other speedwork to your routine. And keep in mind that quality workouts should make up no more than 20 per cent of your total training.