General Tips for Preventing Running Injuries

Prevent running injuries so that you can continue to train uninterrupted to reach your running goals. While valuable lessons can be learned from getting a running injury , you certainly don’t have to get injured to learn from the many mistakes of the running masses.

Follow these hard learned but sage tips to greatly increase your chances of staying healthy and off the injury list for the entire duration of your training program .


  1. Vary your terrain – each running surface yields a specific set of impact responses from your legs. Mixing up the running surface and route that you run on slightly distributes these various stresses over different parts of stresses parts. Be mindful however that specificity is important. So, if you’re training for a marathon route that is all pavement, a good portion of your training should be on pavement to adequately prepare your body for that demand on race day.
  2. Gradually increase mileage – a very common and safe rule of thumb is to avoid exceeding 10 % you’re your previous week’s distance. For example, if your previous weeks mileage was 35, adding 3.5 miles to the following week for a rounded total of 39 miles should obey the laws of training adaptation. You can also apply this guideline to any given single distance run. Long runs can usually be safely increased by 1 to 2 miles each week. There are of course exceptions to this guideline such as times where mileage is initially ramping up during base building or following a running event recovery period. If you averaged 40 miles a week during training, it’s reasonable to go from a complete week off right into a 20 mile week to begin your ramp up back to 40.
  3. Manage your intensity –this tip goes hand in hand with increasing mileage. If you plan on running higher mileage weeks, it makes sense to re-evaluate your immediate training goals and lower some of your training intensity so that your body is not forced to respond and adapt to speed and endurance at the same time. Running higher intensity running workouts such as hills and intervals take their toll on your body so reserve your focus on speed and strength for weeks when your mileage is not climbing.
  4. Maintain running consistency – this goes for total weekly miles as well as running frequency. Jumping from 6 days of running per week to 3 for a few weeks than back up to 6 can be a recipe for injury. It’s not that the recovery is a bad idea, but if your body is used to moving virtually every day, you’re more likely to stiffen up if you suddenly take time off. If your body is accustomed to running so many days a week and you reduce that to 3 for a length of time (family, work commitments) give yourself time to adjust. Add a day per week for a couple weeks before building again.
  5. Stretch carefully – it’s amazing but true. Statistically most injuries are caused by stretching errors! Ironically, we stretch to maintain flexibility and avoid injury! Stretching properly is as much about timing as it is technique. Rather than static stretching before running, warm up easily with slow running, a run/walk routine and maybe some ballistic stretching. Reserve your static stretching for post run when everything is warm and pliable.
  6. Strength train – strong lower legs, ankles and feet go a long way to protect your body from the impacts of running and therefore help to avoid running injuries. Consider incorporating some barefoot running, core and leg strengthening exercises into your training.
  7. Practice active recovery – this seems to vary from individual to individual but some runners do much better with an easy run or cross training for recovery rather than taking a day off. Many running injuries seem to occur with the resumption of running after a period of inactivity. With experience you will come to know which works best for you. Of course, there will always be some days where complete rest is not only the best thing for your body and mind but also much deserved such as the day after a marathon!

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Manage ITB Syndrome
Manage 'Runners Knee'
Manage Shin Splints
Manage Plantar Fasciitis
Manage an Achilles Injury
Manage a Hamstring Injury
Manage a Stress Fracture

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