How far should I run when first starting to run?

Factors for Injury Prevention for Both Recreational and Hardcore Athletes

Cliche’s and principles are sometimes hard to differentiate. With so many people giving different and often conflicting advice it can pay to listen to the evidence plus follow some basic general principles. When it comes to injury prevention, there are a few basic things to consider before starting your journey. This blog will go through these principles and help with making decision making when designing a training program.

Goal Setting: When it comes to setting goals it is important to find a balance between being as competitive as possible and preventing set backs. Goals must consider current level of fitness, age, previous/current injuries and time constraints.

Time Frame: Time frame is important to consider and it relates to both long and short term goals. If your long term goals are to run in a full or half marathon (42kms or 21 km’s) but your current level of fitness is comparatively low. It may be good to set goals of 3km, 5km or 10km runs first. This will help you focus on your training, stay motivated and prevent injuries by doing too much too soon.

Weekly Distance: Weekly distance or training loads are a bit of a double edged sword. They need to be intense enough to condition your body for race distances however if they are too much, soft tissue injuries and stress fractures begin to pop up slowing progress. The best things you can do are to listen to your body, get early treatment for sports injuries and increasing distances covered slowly/consistently.

Pace: Pace or speed is important for those who don’t only want to finish but want to beat their personal best or even win competitions. As pace increases so does the risk of soft tissue injuries. Pace, as a general rule, should be high on one short run per week and low for both recovery/long runs.

Treatment: Early treatment for injuries is unfortunately necessary. During training for a long run such as a marathon, up to 90% competitors self report an injury being sustained. Most of the stress and therefore injuries goes through the feet, ankle and knees. Making your local sports Podiatrist often your first point of contact for the majority of running injuries.

Christopher Wevling, Nathan Pring and Ashley Wevfling

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