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As a runner, you are part of a group of athletes who are at a higher risk of succumbing to injury. Studies show that, on average, 41% of runners tend to suffer some form of injury during training for a marathon.1
A comprehensive survey of the literature on injury prevention in runners within the field of sports science reveals a lack of research into the positive effects of pre-emptive training and strength-building exercises. Beyond a few randomized, control trials,2 this area of investigation remains very understudied – until now!
Injurymap and Sparta team up with the Sports Innovation Lab to gather evidence
To mark the 2019 Telenor Copenhagen Marathon, Injurymap has teamed up with Sparta and the Danish Sports Innovation Lab to test out whether pre-emptive training can reduce the risk of running injuries during training. In order to achieve this, Injurymap has constructed a brand new training program for runners.
The program for runners was developed as part of a collaboration between Sparta’s physiotherapist Casper Abenth and two specialist physicians and experts of sports medicine, Finn Johannsen and Pierre Schydlowsky. The program forms part of a series of initiatives designed to collect more data on how to prevent running injuries from occurring, in the hopes of making a contribution to this potentially valuable, but underexamined area of sports research.
Examples of pre-emptive exercises
In order to provide a taster of the pre-emptive exercises available in the Injurymap marathon training program, we have outlined a few of them below.
The purpose of these exercises is to strengthen and mobilize your joints and muscles in order to reduce the risk of injuries from running BEFORE they can happen.
In addition to the variety of exercises on offer, the Injurymap app also works by dynamically structuring the training program around the specific situation and individual needs of each user. To find out more about program structure on Injurymap, visit this page.
Three tips for preventing running injuries
1: Exercise with Injurymap
The purpose of preventative exercise is to ensure that your body can handle the joint stresses and muscle strains that typically occur during running, so that you are strong and flexible enough to adopt a good running technique – one that will lessen the likelihood of wear and tear and/or accidents. Injurymap’s injury prevention program is designed to guide you through the training process, allowing you to gradually build up strength and mobilize your joints and muscles in an optimal way.
Ideally, athletes should aim to complete three Injurymap training sessions per week. To help you achieve this goal, it is a good idea to combine your Injurymap training sessions with your existing training routine. So, for example, you could try using Injurymap every time you finish a training run as a way of cooling down properly.
2: Progress your training conservatively
Be careful not to increase the intensity of your training regime by more than 10% from week to week, both in terms of running distance and tempo. Staying within this limit will prevent you from ‘overdoing it’, which will, in turn, reduce the likelihood of sustaining any running related injuries.
3: Perfect your Technique
Perfecting your running gait is really important if you want to avoid injury. Focus on keeping your body upright and straighten your back when you run.
In addition, be sure to maintain a high cadence (your steps per minute ratio). Ideally, you should take between 170-180 steps per minute when you run. Low cadence running means that you take fewer steps to cover the same distance. This results in your feet spending more time in the air which, in turn, puts a greater load on your joints and muscles every time you take a step. Conversely, high cadence running minimizes the amount of time your feet are in the air, thus resulting in a lower risk of exertion when you run.
Please note: Unlike the rest of Injurymap, the exercises in this particular program are not based on scientific evidence (as it does not yet exist). It is therefore recommended that you seek medical advice before starting any training program in order to ensure that it is safe to do so.