How to Break the Injury Cycle: Lessons from Olympic Trials Qualifier Jeff Gaudette

How do I stop getting injured so frequently?

Every runner will eventually ask themselves this question at some point during their training cycle. And with the annual injury rate around 75% according to some sources, it’s a very relevant question.

InjuryInjuries are the bane of good training and prevent the consistency that’s needed for continued improvement.

Recently I polled my readers and asked what topics you’d like me to cover. Here are a few:

How do I prevent injuries?!

What’s a good strength training routine for women that can be used with my running schedule?

I want to know more about soft tissue injury prevention.

How do I deal with aches and pains that feel like they may become injuries?

Injury prevention – it seems like as soon as I take care of one, another one pops up!

Indeed, injury prevention is the #1 running question that readers ask about.

Injury Prevention with Coach Jeff Gaudette

To discuss these issues and help answer your questions, I sat down with Jeff Gaudette, owner and head coach at Runners Connect and a former professional runner for the Hansons-Brooks team.

As an Olympic Trials qualifier in both the 10k and marathon, he has personal bests of 28:46 and 2:22:02 respectively.Jeff Gaudette

He’s been coaching runners for eight years and is the creator of the Strength Training for Runners program.

In our interview, Jeff shares his injury-prone past and how he was able to finally break the injury cycle. Here’s what we cover:

  • Injuries vs. mild pain (3:45)
  • The “injury cycle” (6:20)
  • How to prevent injuries when you’re already healthy (9:20)
  • The causes and treatments for IT Band Syndrome (14:10)
  • Why a strong foundation is crucial before you build your house (20:00)
  • Lightning round! Ice baths, kinesio tape, static stretching, and custom orthotics – do they work? (20:50)

Click the button below to listen directly from this article:


Or, click to listen in a separate window.

Topics, links, and resources from my conversation with Jeff:

Thank you to Jeff for sharing his expertise, experience, and coaching wisdom! It’s illuminating to hear his prevention strategies after such high-level running experience.

Now over to you: what injury questions do you have? Leave them in the comments and I’ll reply to each one.

Struggle with injuries? See all the details of the Injury Prevention for Runners program here.

PS. I’m honored to be named a Top Running & Strength Training Blog for 2013 by Greatist and flattered to be in such good company!

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  1. world_runner says:

    Congratulations on the running blog award!

    Jeff mentions that one of the best injury prevention tips is to not do speedwork until you are ready. How do you know you are ready?

    I liked what you said about not taking rest when rehabing an ITB. Does this go for most injuries? I read something along these lines regarding PF as well. Any thoughts on that in regards to PF?

    So what hip strengthening exercises do you recommend? I already do your core and ITB rehab routines.

    • I’d be comfortable running 3-4 days a week and strides 1-2 times a week before you start any workouts. Then I’d keep them relatively easy, like a fartlek with 4-5 one minute pick-ups.

      Active recovery almost always beats passive recovery. I have a PF post you may be interested in in the Archives.

      Core/ITB Rehab are great for the hips, as is the Myrtl Routine. Jeff’s Strength Training program is also fantastic.

  2. Hi,

    I have been having lower back problems since november. Pain is usually in the spine area but also moves to my left hip. Some days are good and some days bad, especially in the morning it is bad. I am seeing a chiropractor, everytime he does his magic it is ok for the next weeks but after that problem comes back.

    I am not sure when to run and when not to run. Running does not increase the pain during the run but next day sometimes it is worse.

    Any advice ?

  3. Really enjoyed this. Hopefully hear some more soon.

  4. I have a question about running form, specifically foot strike. I wear a upper meshed trainer and within weeks of first wearing the shoes I develop small holes right where the big toe lies. I heard once it being called a “flicker toe”. Is this considered a stride or form flaw? I do struggle a bit with tendonitis on the arch of the foot and some ankle soreness on my longer runs. Have you heard of runners dorsiflexing (not sure if that’s the right word) so much so they develop holes in the upper mesh of shoes?

    • It sounds like you might be dorsiflexing a bit too aggressively. I’d first focus on cadence (about 180) and making sure you’re landing underneath your body rather than “reaching” in front of you. I don’t like to mess with foot strike too much…

  5. Thanks for sharing this! Really a great listen as I am battling a “sore spot/injury” and dealing with types of strength training and custom orthotics. It’s kinda like you took my last week and and answered all my questions.

  6. Joe Cody says:

    Hey Jason,

    I was diagnosed with ITBS in early January and have been focusing on really strengthening my hips (I always worked out due to playing lacrosse in the high school and college, but had neglected the other workouts necessary to build up all around strength).

    I have had some success recently and am able to run almost 4 miles at a conversational pace without any pain, but it seems I reach a limit around that distance/ time. Do you think this will take time to just work past as I keep up workouts/ running again, or are there limitations that I need to work to overcome to break this threshold and continue my progress?

  7. Jason,
    About a year ago, I was training for a half-marathon (I was running an 8-miler that day, not fast) and I injured my ankle. The inside of my right ankle felt like a knife was stuck into it, and I had to stop running for many months. I’ve tried to run several times since, but had to stop. I do other workouts–primarily weights, lunges, push-ups, abs work, etc–I try to keep it low-impact–but my joints–both ankles and knees, too–seem to be prone to getting hurt now. I don’t know what to do. I’ve run all my life and I miss it so badly. I’m 52, by the way. What can I do?

    • Hi Amy, I can’t really say without diving into your background and injury history even deeper. I’d recommend a custom training plan or Plateau Buster so I can do that.


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