Over and over again, there are three fundamental mistakes that almost all runners seem to make at one point or another that ends Them up with an injury keeps them from running.
Increasing Running Mileage Too Quickly
Increasing mileage too soon or too rapidly probably is the most common reason for overuse injuries in runners. While there is no set guidelines as far as how quickly to increase your mileage, the one rule of thumb most coaches recommend is limiting your total weekly mileage increase to no more than 10% the previous week’s mileage. Although there is debate on whether or not following the “10% Rule” in increasing running mileage will actually decrease your risk of injury.
One reason for this guideline is to allow for proper recovery especially in the early season when returning back after a layoff from running. The underlying issue which really doesn’t get discussed with the increase in mileage is that oftentimes the body is simply just not strong enough to handle the increased mileage. May the running injuries we see are due to muscle imbalances or muscle weaknesses. If you continue to increase your running mileage, but the underlying issue as far as weak or tight muscles persists, then an injury is often just around the corner.
I have always been a big fan of strength training for runners and other endurance athletes. I’m not talking about the “going to the gym and lift heavy weights to bulk up” type of weightlifting (but there can be some benefits to lifting heavy for runners).
Instead, it’s very important that runners and other endurance athletes build the muscular endurance necessary to support and control their body while running.
The Wrong Running Cadence
Running cadence is another big mistake that many runners make. many recreational and age-group runners tend to run with too slow of a cadence. the slower cadence means that typically the runner’s foot has more ground contact time with each stride. The increased ground contact time results in increased force placed on the body.
If you watch many of the elite level runners such as American marathoner Ryan Hall or 10km champion Kenenisa Bekele, you’ll see that these runners tend to have a cadence between 88 to 92 steps per minute
Here’s a video from the 2000 Olympic 10km Finals in Beijing. Watch how quick their cadence and turnover is as they run.
Bad Running Biomechanics
Poor running biomechanics is the third mistake we see with a lot of runners and can be tricky for even an experienced sports medicine expert to figure out. These running biomechanics problems can take the form of improper foot strike such as landing too far forward with the heel (which can actually slow you down), overpronation of the foot, and excessive arm motion.
Fortunately, with proper training and time, most of these poor running biomechanical issues can be fixed.