I think it is always best to err on the side of caution as the consequences to sustaining an injury can not only leave a lasting effect but will leave you playing catch up.
You might think, ‘Well I’ve never been injured running before so I’m not too fussed in considering strength training or how to plan my training’, but you’d be mistaken. A whopping 92% of endurance runners sustain an injury at some point during their running career! Plus, time not running is only going to hold your progression back. Below is a flow chart depicting how you will always be playing catch up to a simple calf strain.
In the graphical example, runner A has attained a weekly running volume of 30km a week for 4 weeks. They are a recreational runner and are preparing for a half marathon. I have given a slow conservative progression of weekly volume over the course of 20 weeks which should limit the risk of a training related injury due to increasing volume too quickly.
For ease, runner B is doing exactly the same half marathon and has exactly the same running history. They sustain a small grade 1 calf strain on week 5 which stops them running for 2 weeks. They complete a return to running programme which progresses each run by time (eg. 10x1min on, 1min off -> 10x2mins run, 1min off). As runner B is having to manage their injury while returning to running, the duration it takes for them to return to previous volumes of running is 8 weeks!
So, from a simple calf strain that many runners will experience, they have lost 8 weeks of training effectively.
Injuries are multifactorial. Below are factors that can affect your relative risk of injury in running, but they are very complex as what might make someone injured doesn’t cause another person injury.
- Previous injury (most important)
- Age/Sex/Height/Biomedical factors
- Experience/running history
- Running mechanics
- Training characteristics (volume, intensity, frequency, duration)
As you can see, some are modifiable are some aren’t. At Optimal Strength, we are able to advise on those modifiable factors and take into account the non-modifiable factors when considering your training.
So what can you do now to help prevent risk of injury
- Prioritise recovery
- Don’t train through pain
- Be driven by the process
- Be patient
More often than not, doing too much too soon is the culprit for injury. Soon ripe soon rotten.
Rasmussen et al (2013) found there was a higher rate of injury in those training for a marathon <30km/wk vs 30-60km/wk.
One of our mottos at optimal strength is to create sustainable athletes as ‘keeping an athlete training, decreases de-conditioning’.