What is the single most important thing you can do to keep running injury free?

By May 22, 2016Rehabilitation, Training

Injured runner

What would your guess be?

Stretching? Massage? Foam rolling? Colourful trainers?

There’s certainly no evidence to suggest that stretching helps. Most studies conclude that whilst it’s good for increasing range of motion it will not prevent injury and may even be responsible for a few. Likewise massage unfortunately even though it feels rather good.

Foam rolling is the relatively new kid on the block so there are few studies to draw from. It does seem to promote increases in range of motion and reduce muscle soreness but that may be at a cost to the performance of the target muscle.

Colourful trainers obviously make you look good which has been shown to reduce injuries. Not true but I bet there’s some research going on somewhere around Oregon to investigate this.

So what does help prevent injury with absolute certainty?

Strength training.

This is without doubt the most effective tool for preventing injury. In a review of 25 relevant studies strength training was shown to reduce overuse injuries by almost a half. Interestingly it was found to be most effective when used on it’s own without the influence of other strategies.

This isn’t really surprising when you consider what an injury represents. Essentially it’s overload to the muscular system, either from repeated bouts of activity or one large event such as in the case of a sprained ankle.

To prevent this from happening in the first place you need to either reduce the amount of work your muscular system is having to do or increase it’s capacity.

Now ask yourself this question, which injury prevention method will improve the capacity of your muscular system? In other words what will make you stronger?

Of all the hundreds of techniques and products being sold to runners there is only one thing that is based on sound evidence and which unquestionably works, strength training.

To get expert advice on how to start strength training and run injury free for life,
book a free consultation at our City of London clinic.