RUNNING MYTH 1 – Revealing the Truth About WHY Running Injuries Occur


The majority of running injuries are caused by EXTERNAL factors (old or new shoes, pounding pavement) and INTERNAL factors (tight calves, overpronation).


The main cause of running injuries is the amount of stress applied to your tissues. An increase in training volume or intensity accounts for nearly 80% of running injuries.


Now that doesn’t mean our muscle strength, flexibility or shoe type don’t contribute to injuries (more on this in later posts…) but the bottom line is that a runner only incurs injury by running! Internal and external factors merely exacerbate the tissue overload caused by the mechanical stress of running. It also doesn’t mean that running automatically leads to injury.

Running injuries occur when the overall mechanical stress applied to the body exceeds the body’s maximum capacity to adapt.

Basically adaptation is everything. To get stronger and faster, you push your body harder. But push that bit too hard or too long, and you overload the tissues putting yourself at risk of injury. Simply put, too much too soon is the main driver behind running injuries.


Ok, that graph is really fancy, but how do I prevent a running injury occurring??

1. Most importantly, be progressive when increasing your training volume and intensity.

Keep yourself in the desired adaptation zone! A good rule of thumb is to increase your training by 10% per week. For example, if you are currently running 4 x 5km runs a week (20km/week), aim for a 5th run of 2km next week (22km).

2. Don’t forget about other forms of physical activity

Most runners cross train throughout the week. Remember this is still added mechanical stress to your tissues. Activities such as swimming, cycling, Pilates and Yoga are low load where as plyometrics and interval sprints are high load.

3. Watch for the warning signs of the maladaptation zone

  • Pain during your run
  • Pain after your run
  • Stiffness the next morning


Adaptation and quantification of mechanical stress are the fundamental principles in the prevention of running injuries.

Knowing and respecting these principles and above all, listening to your body will help you in your quest to stay healthy, happy and injury free this season!

Stay tuned for #teamJina’s next post by @linaenglundpt this Thursday. Lina will be discussing training frequency in more detail.


For more Physio related information, stay updated by following @jeanlewispt and @linaenglundpt

Reference: “New Trends in the Prevention of Running Injuries” – Blaise Dubois BScPT

Image © 2006

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