The majority of running injuries are caused by training errors. When working with runners, I often find that my clients often do not have a program, or are using a training schedule that may be too advanced for where they are on their running journey. Each run puts a specific load on your body. If you don’t have the capacity to handle said load, then your injury risk is high. Generally, the load of running is higher than your capacity when you are just picking up running, or are running more intensely than usual. Between these two areas, is what we call the ‘sweet spot’. The ‘sweet spot’ is where your injury risk is lowest, and is the zone which should encompass the majority of your training. Below is a graph designed by Tim Gabbett, which provides a visual explanation of this ‘sweet spot’ or ‘low injury zone’.
Although this graph looks very simple, quantifying load is much more complex. Load is a combination of extrinsic (running pace, distance, intensity, etc) and intrinsic (mood, stress, mental/nervous strain, etc.). Therefore, I often use a combination of an objective (heart rate) and subjective (perceived difficulty/10) measure to quantify the load of my run. For example, if my average heart rate is 140 beats per minute, but I perceived that run as a 9/10, then it’s probably likely the strain on my body is higher than what my heart rate suggests. To keep it simple, if you have an intense session, simply balance it out by running a very light session, to ensure that you balance out the spikes in load. Load management is a topic that we can spend hours speaking on, therefore if I’ve peaked your interest, feel free to reach out and I’d be happy to get into more depth.