What really works to prevent running injury?

Strength training helps reduce running injuries
Strength training helps reduce running injuries

Glen Robbins, clinic director of Hemel Physio, shares his training tips.

Runners are prone to injury, but is it possible to reduce your injury risk, and what really works?


Stretching is a contentious issue and an approach that has been investigated time and time again to try and establish a link between regular stretching and a reduction in injury rate. Unfortunately, time and time again that link has never been found. It is safe to say that static stretching before a run will not reduce your injury risk, and it may even impair your performance by reducing your muscles’ maximal force output.

Ballistic stretching may have a role as a pre-run warm-up but has not been proven to reduce your injury risk either.

I am not saying don’t stretch, I am saying be clear that stretching is not the most effective way to safeguard against injury.

Strength and conditioning

Incorporating a well-planned strength training routine into your programme is by far and away one of the most useful things you can do as a runner to reduce your injury risk.

A review by Lauerson et al (2013) studied different exercise interventions and their effect on reducing sports injuries on a sample of 26,610 athletes and found strength training was the clear winner.

The addition of strength training into a training programme reduced an athlete’s injury risk by 50 per cent!

That is huge and requires only two sessions a week to be effective.

We will share more of Glen’s training tips for runners next week.

See www.hemelphysio.co.uk