Speed vs. Distance: What Causes Injury?

24 02 2014

10 miler 2

You’ve been running more miles. You’ve been running faster. And something begins to hurt. Which was the culprit? The longer runs or the quicker pace? It could be either. Or both. Most running injuries are caused from training—training too hard and/or training too often.

Trying to run too much, too fast and too soon can lead to a number of issues and put a damper on your running. It’s crucial, especially for beginner runners, to know when to back off and take it a bit easier to stay healthy and strong. In order to avoid injuries and get the most out of your training, you should consider the following:

– Only increase ONE of the following at a time: frequency (how many times per week you run), duration (distance or time you run at one time) or intensity (speed). Trying to up your mileage while also increasing your speed and distance is a dangerous combination. Focus on one of those at a time to help avoid common overuse injuries.

– If your goal is to jump from a 5K to a half marathon, focus on distance. If your goal is to run a sub-30-minute 5K, focus on speed. Cater your training to your specific goals so you can reach them healthy and successfully.

– Have a proper training schedule with appropriate workouts and recovery. Recovery and easy days are just as important as hard workouts and should be incorporated into your training. Don’t try to do speed work or long runs every day. One speed workout per week and one long run per week should get the job done.

– To keep your muscles from getting tight or stiff, do dynamic warmups before your run (warmups that include movement such as arm swings, leg swings, butt kicks, high knees, lunges, calf raises), and do static stretching after your run (stretches that you hold at least 30 seconds). Proper stretching can help combat common running aches and pains.

-Lastly, consider hitting the gym for some cross training. Work on your core and strengthen other muscles to keep your entire body strong and injury-free.

Questions about training? Stop by and ask anyone on staff!


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