Whether 2015 is the year you train for your first 5k Charity Fun Run, a military-inspired Mud Run, the Broad Street Run, or your fourth marathon, establishing a safe and effective running program is crucial to avoiding common over-use injuries associated with running. Here we will briefly discuss a few cornerstones of proper running programming.
The “10% Rule”
Keeping in mind that safety and injury prevention is our main concern, the “10% rule” is the best place to start when designing a running program. The “10% rule” states that a runner should increase their distance by 10% every 1-2 weeks to avoid injury. A recent study published in the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy confirmed this as an effective guideline, stating that “a sudden increase in weekly running distance by more than 30% over a 2-week period may put runners at increased risk for developing running-related injuries.” Conversely, runners who increased their distance by less than 10% over that same 2-week period experienced significantly lower rate of injury.
Regardless if you’re a running novice or experienced marathoner, cross-training is paramount to safe running training. By incorporating a lower body and core strengthening program into your running program, you can protect yourself against injury. Exercises like prone planks, bridges, and alternating quadruped (bird-dog) are just a few examples we commonly use. To establish a safe and customized program for your running progression, please consult your local Physical Therapist (see below).
When it comes to running programs, one size does not fit all! Keep in mind that many factors (speed, distance, terrain, flexibility, past medical history, etc) affect a runner’s risk of injury at each program should be individually customized to best ensure injury prevention. If you are looking to start 2015 off running, please consult with your local Physical Therapist to discuss designing a safe and effective running program to meet your goals.
Cole Racich, PT, DPT
Excessive Progression in Weekly Running Distance and Risk of Running-Related Injuries: An Association Which Varies According to Type of Injury,” J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2014;44(10):739-747. Epub 25 August 2014. doi:10.2519/jospt.2014.5164