• Are you building up for a race, starting out running or just wanting to increase your training load? There are a few simple rules you can follow to significantly decrease your chance of an overuse injury,and still increase training load, so read closely…

    A recent study in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physiotherapy, tested out the rule familiar to most runners that you should not increase your distance by more than 10% per week unless you want to incur the wrath of the over-use injury monster! The study has clarified a few things and managed to give some simple guidelines to follow so that you can safely increase your training load without those annoying niggles (or less of them anyway).

    It has been an accepted practice and quite easy to just go by the rule to not increase distance by more than 10% per week, but this hasn’t been studied in very much detail in the past. Fortunately, this is changing, and for good reason too as “training error ” is thought to account for 60-70% of over-use injuries.1

    So here are the main findings from the study, condensed down:

    1. Runners who increased their distance by more than 30% over a two-week period were more vulnerable to over-use injuries, compared to runners who increased by less than 10%
    2. The suspected reason for this is that if a runner increases distance by a large amount (more than they are used to), they are forced to slow their pace, which in turn means shorter strides to cover a larger distance, which is a considerable number of extra steps. This means far more repetitive loading through your limbs. This is important as the force going through your knee joint is significantly higher when in slow-speed running.
    3. When it comes to training error, it is most important to gradually increase your distance but we also can’t ignore that increasing your speed rapidly or suddenly has been linked to injuries like achilles tendinopathy, plantar fasciopathy and calf injuries.

    Conclusion: Generally follow the rule of not increasing more than 10% per week to stay in the safe zone. If you need to increase by more than that and have less time, stay below an increase in distance of 30% over two weeks – any more than this and you are asking for trouble.


    If you need advice on your training plan (adding in interval training, altering terrain etc) or need some sport specific strength and conditioning, book in for one of our individualised RunFx assessments for a comprehensive review of your running to keep you running easier, faster and with less risk of injury.