How can I improve my Running and prevent injuries?

Aug 22, 2022

Running Injuries and Prevention

Loading tissues through exercise is healthy! When managed properly it promotes positive adaptations to strength, cardiovascular fitness and even tissue healing.

Problems and Injuries often occur due to training load errors; The most common injuries in Running occur from overuse, this is always due to a training load error.

Common types of running injury:

  • Bone stress injury
  • Patellofemoral pain
  • ITB (Illiotibial Band Syndrome)
  • Shin splints
  • Achilles Tendinopathy
  • Plantar Fasciitis

Injury occurs when/if the load exceeds the tissues (Bone/ Muscle/ Ligament/ Tendons) capacity to handle that load; Running too high volume, intensity or frequency. Prehab and strength training will help increase tissue tolerance by restoring the balance between load and capacity to enhance performance and prevent injury.

Capacity > Load Injury
Capacity ≤ Load Rehab
Capacity >> Load Prevention (Prehab)


Our ability to manage load and to train is influenced by a variety of factors in our lives, which all need to be considered when training regularly and especially when recovering from injury.

Things that effect Tissue capacity:

  • Rest
  • Sleep
  • Hydration/ Diet
  • Medications
  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • Previous injury
  • Strength/ Movement control

Types of Load that can be modified:

  • Speed
  • Mileage
  • Terrain
  • Hills
  • Footwear
  • Having a running assessment (Biomechanics)
  • Type and volume of other activities


Your biomechanics (movement patterns, in this case running technique) will determine where injury or pain presents on your body. There is not one correct way to run!  The best running style for you is one that is comfortable, efficient and pain free. This is why the same running technique in different people could result in a pain or no pain depending on the person. The cause of injury is not necessarily because of ‘poor technique’ alone.



Strength training is incredibly beneficial but is often an overlooked element by Runners. Being stronger makes you more resilient and therefore having the potential to reduce injury risk. A few Running rewards include increased endurance, joint stability and improved power output (Speed).

Rehab and Prehab will aim to reduce the load by modifying running training (Vol./Freq/Intensity) to focus on increasing the tissues tolerance through strength training to manage the goal load e.g., running 5k. The body will heal and adapt if we create the right conditions for it!

Your legs are what keeps you moving forwards, your core is where your power comes from. Performing high impact exercise regularly will have an effect on your joints. Strength training will help stabilise and strengthen joints. At Physio-logical we recommend runners to focus on functional strength training in particular core, quadriceps and glutes (Buttocks), Calfs and tibialis anterior (Shin muscle).


4 Best exercises for Runners:

Reverse Lunges


  • Start position is to stand with your feet together.
  • Take a large step backward with your right leg landing on the ball of your foot into a lunge position.
  • Lower your hips so that your left thigh (front leg) becomes parallel to the floor with your left knee positioned directly over your ankle.
  • Your Right knee should be bent at a 90-degree angle and pointing toward the floor with your heel lifted.
  • Return to standing by pressing your left heel into the floor and bringing your Right leg forward to complete one rep.
  • Repeat with alternative legs backwards
  • 10 reps x 3, 2 times a day
  • Focus on having a wide base (Train tracks) rather than narrow (tightrope)
  • Load the movement with weights


Hip flexor Marches

  • Start position is to stand with your hip width apart leaning forwards onto a wall.
  • Have a strong looped exercise band around both mid feet, keep ankles flexed throughout full movement
  • Bring your one hip and knee up to 90 degrees
  • Then slowly bring this leg back to the start and then switch legs and then repeat
  • 10 reps each leg, 30s rest 3 sets x3 weekly
  • Focus on Powering the knee up and slowly controlling down

Calf raises


  • Standing balance yourself on both feet. (you can use a chair for stability)
  • Rise up on your toes, drop down so your heel drop below the bottom of the step then come up 1cm, place 100% of your body weight on the injured side hold for 45 seconds and then repeat on the other leg.
  • Repeat 3 times, 2-3 times a day
  • It is ok to feel some discomfort (max 5/10)


Tibialis Anterior Ankle Curls/ Toe Raise

  • Start position is to sit with heel resting on edge of step
  • Place toes in a kettle bell or looped resistance band
  • Drop the toes past the step and curl back up towards the knee into the resistance
  • Hold the curl briefly and then slowly lower the toes again past the step
  • 10 repetitions 3 sets

Once tolerance has increased, and pain reduced the load can increase. You can start to return to running, gradually changing training parameters.


If you would like any further advice, an assessment and physiotherapy treatment can be booked online, email us: or call us on 023 9435 0270.

Our Team of Therapists have a lot of experience treating Runners! Come and see us at our clinic located within Stansted Park, Rowlands Castle.


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