Running applies physical stress to the body. Your body is an incredibly adaptable machine and adapts to this demand by thickening and strengthening bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles. However, if this type of exercise is applied in such a way that this adaptation cannot occur, the excessive overload can cause microscopic injuries to these tissues. This leads to a process of inflammation, the body’s response to injury.
Fear not, all is not lost. We’re able to reduce the risk of injury by managing this load appropriately. This is done two-fold. Firstly, by allowing sufficient rest between runs to allow the tissue to recover properly. Secondly, by strengthening the muscles and tendons to increase their tolerance to the training load. As a general rule based on clinical research, it is advisable not to increase training load (volume and intensity) by more than 10% week to week.
This means if you’ve done no running the previous week, don’t start running every day! We recommend allowing 48 hours rest between each run for the first 2-3 weeks to allow your body to adapt to the new running stimulus. Then slowly increase the volume and intensity over the following weeks.
On your rest days from running, it is strongly advisable to engage in leg strengthening exercises, running alone won’t do it. Strengthening muscles and tendons will allow them to tolerate a greater running demand, improve running performance and reduce the risk of injury.