“How do I make an injury prevention plan second nature?” (video)

by Jason Fitzgerald

A few weeks ago I had a haunting conversation with a runner about his injury problems.

As he went on about his ITBS… Achilles problems… ankle pain… and even more injuries, I started feeling really bad for this guy.

He was clearly dealing with a lot of injuries and was frustrated that they just kept piling on top of one another.

Obviously, he was tired of seeing his hard work (not to mention potential) go down the drain after yet another injury derailed his training.

Then things got interesting. When I mentioned that I was a coach and helping runners with injury prevention was a specialty, he got curious about what he could do.

But he qualified his question with this:

How do I get healthy and build injury prevention work into my training so that it becomes second nature? I don’t want it to interfere with my running.

I was speechless after hearing this.

Here is a chronically injured runner who feels helpless and never knows what to do – yet even when he’s healthy, he’s scared to train harder because his fear of triggering another injury would cause him to start all over again.

And the first thing he mentions is that he doesn’t want injury prevention to interfere with his running.

Let me modify a great quote as my response to this runner:

If you think you have no time for prevention work, you’ll sooner or later have to find time for injuries.

Like that quote? Click here to tweet it!

The “Truth” About Healthy Runners

Injury-free runners  know something that you don’t: they work really hard to stay injury-free. It’s not luck. It’s not a genetic gift. Healthy, fast running is the product of very smart training and diligent injury prevention work.

And that’s what this runner at the local 5k didn’t understand: injury prevention work doesn’t interfere with running. It enables running. And indeed, smart prevention is really smart training.

When your training is designed with a focus on injury prevention – from the mileage, workouts, race frequency, and even specific exercises – it’s quite simple to stay healthy. Running is inherently risky, of course, but the annual injury rate would be nowhere near 70% like it is now if runners had better training.

So what exactly is “smart” training?

The answer to that question is the focus of the Injury Prevention for Runners program (if you want extra information and two free presentations, just sign up here).

But now, let’s touch on three key aspects of training that help you prevent injuries.

Of course, these principles aren’t the only pieces of smart training. It includes a lot more than that – like progressions of mileage, long runs, and workouts.

But of course, most runners could see dramatic results by applying the three components of smart training I mention in the video. Then we won’t have situations like this:

“In addition to impaired mobility, I have the feeling of weakness that comes along with not being fully in control of my body. I guess the worst part of being injured is psychological.”

“The main frustration with injuries is that I feel it’s something I’ve done to myself by my own stupidity / lack of skill / lack of knowledge, and particularly when my ego tells me to keep running when I’m slightly injured and I end up VERY injured.”

“Not being able to enjoy the pleasure of running. It’s so frustrating when you are forced to take time off because I feel like I’m missing something essential to my health and well-being.”

My goal at SR is to make sure these situations don’t happen.

Struggle with Injuries? Here’s What to Do

Last year I wrapped up my 1-on-1 Injury Prevention Coaching program. And now, you can get all of the coaching lessons, expert interviews, Q&A, and training plan resources, too.

But you’re going to get a lot more. Prevention is great, but what if you’re already injured? What if you do end up getting hurt? I’m finalizing the most comprehensive treatment protocols for the major injuries that exist.

The Injury Prevention for Runners program includes a significant amount of material, like training plans that are specifically created for injury prevention. They use the most fundamental building blocks of sound injury prevention science – so you can worry less about injuries.

While I disagree that injury prevention work “interferes” with running, my goal with these plans is to make prevention second nature. So you can get on with your running and focus on more important goals.

To get a free email course on injury prevention – and new presentations about how to stay healthy – just sign up here.

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Cabe

Very good information. On my long day, I tend to speed up considerably in the final 10-20% of the run, which may be what is contributing to some ITB/glute issues. Now that I am in an off-season training program, I need to change that habit. And unfortunately, I have some nagging injuries that did not come from running, like a pinched nerve and pulled groin. Not enough to make me stop, but aggravating nonetheless.

Jason Fitzgerald

Nothing wrong with negative splitting a long run if you’re feeling good though. I’m not sure what your definition of “considerably” is but assuming you start a bit slower to warm up, then running the last 1-3 miles closer to your steady-state effort isn’t going to be a huge risk. Good luck with the injuries Cabe!

Cabe

Usually do the first 9-10 miles at 7:45-8:10, then the last 1-2 at 7:05-7:25. I guess I am like a horse-I speed up as I get close to home! One thing to add to this video-the need to practice these injury prevention techniques becomes even more important as one ages.

Gary Reynolds

Really good article Jason. As a running coach in the UK I can relate to everything you’ve said in that short video – particularly the bit about runners doing the majority of their training runs too fast!

Keep up the good work – I really enjoy reading your site.

Gary.

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