Run Strong For Life
13 key ways to stay injury-free and find out how prone you really are to running ailments
ast or slow, young or old, all runners share a common goal: to avoid injury. One man who knows a thing or two about those dreaded injuries is Dr Reed Ferber. The professor of kinesiology and director of The University of Calgary’s Running Injury Clinic in Canada has coined a rather telling nickname for those runners among us who manage to remain truly injury-free: ‘golden unicorns.’ Yes, he believes that such runners really are that elusive. In fact, Ferber says that as many as 80 per cent of runners will develop running-related complaints each year. His job, of course, is to fix those aches and pains when they strike. But his ultimate goal – and the focus of his current research – is to identify the biomechanical and lifestyle habits of those golden unicorns. By doing so, Ferber hopes to create a complete blueprint of an injury-resistant runner that others will be able to follow.
His work adds to that of other researchers all aiming to better understand the causes of overuse injuries. Some issues lie beyond your control, such as the way your body is built. But in other cases, there are identifiable risk factors that can be addressed, potentially warding off injuries before they strike.
So we asked Dr Ferber and other leading injury-prevention experts – doctors, biomechanics researchers and physiotherapists – to identify common weaknesses in runners’ bodies, training programmes and lifestyles. We compiled these factors to create the injury-risk predictor quiz that you will find on the following pages. Use it to help you gauge your likelihood of spending time on the sidelines. Next to each risk factor, you’ll find strategies from our experts to mitigate the danger. Combine all the specific recommendations that apply to you and you’ll have a bespoke, targeted injury-prevention plan. Put that advice into practice and you’ll take a big step towards becoming one of those elusive ( but not quite mythical) beasts.
Have you just started running in a new type of shoe? Do you have weak hips?
How many days per week do you run? Are you a woman? Do you overstride?