Running Safely: Expert Tips for Injury Prevention

Published: 02 Apr 2024

Running Safely: Expert Tips for Injury Prevention

In recent years, there has been a noticeable surge in the number of individuals joining the running community. Running offers numerous health benefits and is a cheap, time efficient and fun (for some) way to improve cardiovascular fitness, bone and metabolic health.

However, it’s essential to prioritise safety and injury prevention, especially for beginners. Nathan Duguid, Senior Physiotherapist at The Healthy Body Company in Jordan Springs, stresses the importance of adopting proper training techniques and load management strategies to minimize the risk of injuries.

Nathan advocates strength training as an important part of running training to stay injury free.

With the influx of new runners, Nathan emphasises the significance of gradually easing into the activity to avoid common injuries resulting from overexertion or improper form. “Running is a fantastic way to stay active and improve overall health, but it’s crucial to approach it with caution, especially for beginners,” Nathan advises.

Here are Nathan’s top five tips for safe running:

  1. Maintain a Slow Pace: Keeping your pace slow, preferably in zone 2 for at least 80% of your kilometres, allows for a steady effort that minimises strain on the body. Zone 2 means that you should be able to comfortably hold a conversation or sing while running. While it might feel boring, the slow pace allows you to recover more quickly from your workouts and means that the 20% performed at a higher rate is a better intensity. This strategy supports desirable physiological changes that happen by keeping your heart rate lower..
  2. Limit Frequency: Running three times per week at most, with at least one rest day in between sessions, helps prevent overuse injuries and gives your body adequate time to recover. This recovery time is crucial to give your body enough time to adapt to the running stressors.
  3. Incorporate Strength Training: Including leg strengthening exercises in your routine helps build muscle support around the joints, reducing the risk of injuries such as shin splints or knee pain. Research published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research suggests that strength training can improve running performance and reduce injury risk (Beattie et al., 2017).
  4. Gradual Progression: Nathan advises gradually increasing your weekly kilometers to allow your body to adapt to the demands of running. Following a structured plan, such as increasing by no more than 10% each week, can help prevent overtraining injuries. A systematic review published in the Journal of Physiotherapy supports the effectiveness of gradual progression in reducing injury rates among runners (Hespanhol Junior et al., 2013).
  5. Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to any discomfort or niggles during your runs. If you experience pain, give yourself extra rest days or modify your training regimen accordingly. Ignoring warning signs can lead to more serious injuries..

As running continues to gain popularity as a fitness activity, Nathan encourages everyone to prioritise safety and longevity in their approach. “By following these tips and listening to your body, you can enjoy the numerous benefits of running while reducing the risk of injury,” Nathan concludes.

By incorporating these expert tips into your running routine and staying mindful of your body’s signals, you can enjoy the many benefits of running while minimizing the risk of injuries. Stay safe and happy running!


Note – this article was first published in the Jordan Springs Gazette