Running: Training Tips and Avoiding Injury


Adelaide Physiotherapist, James McEwan shares some useful insights on how to minimise the risks of injuries in a running program.

Now, we’re certainly not all going to run marathons, but Fun Runs certainly play a significant role in the annual fitness events calendar of EFM clubs across Australia. James’s tips are certainly timely for the 1000 or so SA EFMers looking to take part in the 2015 City-Bay Fun Run.

Some facts:

  • A runner suffers about one injury for every hundred hours of running. So, if you train for one hour a day six days a week, expect and injury every sixteen weeks!
  • A Dutch research team has shown that some athletes cannot train for too many consecutive days, regardless of terrain, foot pronation, foot supination, shoes or barefoot. In fact, if you run more than 65Km per week, the incidence of injury doubles!
  • Fifty percent of all injuries reported are old injuries that have returned! This could be due to poor rehabilitation or that returning to the same frequency of training has resulted in the same injury coming back!

Some Examples:

  • Allison Chalmers was a Canadian champion 1500 metre runner. Continually plagued by injury she switched from training on consecutive days to alternate days. Things improved but every twelve weeks she would still break down with an injury. She decided on running training twice a week and to swim the rest of her time. Allison went on to win a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games 1500 metres using this training pattern.
  • A study had athletes change from running a steady 15Km six times a week to twice a week, with the run punctuated by 4 minutes fast running and only 60 seconds of jogging recovery. The twice a week runners kept up the same fitness levels as the six times a week runners for the five month duration of the study. The twice a week runners were doing the equivalent of 60Km steady running.

Some Answers:

  • An athlete can go five days without training before endurance begins to decline, then it declines rapidly.
  • When the quality of training is reduced, fitness levels slump.
  • With this in mind, consider the most important aspect of all training – RECOVERY.
  • RECOVERY is the single most important thing in exercise. Allowing all the living cells in your body to adequately recover from the stress of exercise is vital for gains in fitness and strength, which in turn lead to weight loss and reduced health risks.
  • Equally important is QUALITY exercise. There’s a fair chance that your Fitness Coach will be over in a flash to adjust any incorrect technique, but if you’re unsure just ask for help. Make sure you are training optimally by training smarter through correct technique.
  • Each person is different in their genetic make up so training regimes will differ. However, if you regularly suffer from injuries, or are worried about re-injuring yourself, think about changing your program. An example is to run for x3 consecutive days with 1-2 rest days. Not watching TV, but cycling with 4x5min maximal efforts and 60 second recovery sessions in between; or swimming 3x 500m flat out with 60 seconds recovery between. There is no substitute for sport-specific training, but you can do plenty of other things aside from running to get you in shape for your next Fun Run.
  • There are many other examples of interval training type programs, ask your EFM Coach for some help in creating one that suits you and avoid unnecessary visits to your Physio!


The information and content of this website is of a general nature only and does not constitute advice to you. By accessing this website, you agree that: (1) you do not rely on the information and content of this website and (2) you will seek personalised medical, nutritional and/ or fitness advice applicable to your circumstances (as appropriate).