Maryke Louw is a Lead Sports Injury Physical Therapist for Exakt Health. She has a Masters in Sports Injury Management and produces the Sports Injury Physio YouTube channel where her videos have been viewed over 7,000,000 views.
This is an excerpt from our interview. The full interview will be released in November.
Q: If you had to boil down three principles to running injury free, what would you recommend?
Pay Attention to Your Volume
The single biggest factor to running injury-free is watching how much you’ve run in the last four weeks, and planning how much you’re going to be running in the next four. Any sudden increases in training volume is the single highest factor cause of injuries. For many, you may only be able to increase your weekly mileage by 10% per week, maybe 20% per week if you’re lucky.
If you’re increasing your weekly volume any more than that. You’re headed for trouble.
Related: Training Plans & Tips
Stop Thinking About Running Intensity
I see many runners push to do high intensity runs too quickly. When you run the same routes, you think you’d like to run the park run faster every time. If it’s your first half or full marathon, don’t worry about incorporating any intensity runs at all.
If it’s your third or fourth race, you can do higher intensity runs but build in recovery weeks to your training every third or fourth week. Get into the habit of pushing yourself for three weeks but then the fourth week bring the intensity and the volume down.
The best way to structure a recovery week? Make your long runs shorter. On a recovery week, you shouldn’t be pushing your limits at all from a mileage or intensity perspective. Your body needs time to rest in order to repair and grow stronger.
Identify Where You Lack
If you get those two right, you’re 90% of your way to staying injury-free.
The final principle would depends on what your base level of fitness is. If you’re coming back from a period of inactivity or, say, a pregnancy – you’ll want to make sure your training incorporates strength training.
If you’re coming from a period where you’re in good enough shape from other activities, focus on nutrition as you look to improve your endurance.
Maryke’s world class injury-prevention plans are free on Exakt Health.
You can download the app here.
This piece was produced in collaboration with Exakt Health.