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Avoiding overuse injuries in runners

March 29th 2024

Running is a fantastic way to stay fit, clear your mind, and challenge your body. However, the repetitive nature of running can lead to overuse injuries, which can sideline even the most dedicated runners. In this blog post, I will share some key strategies to help you run smart and avoid overuse injuries, ensuring that you can enjoy the miles ahead injury-free. Also this topic is very apt for me as I am only weeks away from running the London Marathon….

  1. Start Slow and Progress Gradually: One of the most common mistakes runners make is ramping up mileage too quickly, especially if you have started marathon training too late! Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned runner aiming for a new personal best, it’s crucial to start slow and gradually increase your mileage. As well as your cardiovascular fitness improves, starting gradually allows the tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints to adapt to the stresses of running, reducing the risk of overuse injuries. Training plans are commonly 16 weeks, however from personal experience I would try and give yourself at least 20 weeks to begin the process giving your body optimal time to adapt.

2. Listen to Your Body: Even though the significant technological advancements in fitness trackers and smart watches over the years, your body is an excellent communicator and it’s essential to pay attention to its signals. If you experience persistent pain, discomfort, or unusual fatigue, it’s time to take a step back and let us know at the clinic so we can assess what is going on. Ignoring these warning signs can lead to more severe injuries. Rest and recovery are just as important as the miles you log.

3. Diversify Your Training: Ensure to mix up your running routine to prevent overuse injuries. Instead of pounding the pavement every session, think about adding in trail runs as they are a fantastic way of increasing the stability in your ankles, knees and hips whilst also working on your proprioception (sense of body positioning) due to the unstable surfaces. It is also a nice change to get out in nature! Additionally, try to incorporate cross-training activities such as cycling, swimming, or rowing to not only gives your running muscles a break but also improves overall fitness and reduces the risk of imbalances.

4. Invest in the Right Gear: Your running gear plays a crucial role in preventing overuse injuries. Ensure you have proper-fitting running shoes that offer the correct support for your foot type and running style. Book in for a gait analysis at the clinic and we can point you in the right direction for footwear. Don’t forget about your running attire, it doesn’t have to be expensive and top of the range however it must be designed for running. Running in clothes which are not designed for running won’t be efficient at absorbing moisture which can lead to chafing and blisters. This is something that you can certainly do without on race day.

5. Prioritise Rest and Recovery: Rest days are not a sign of weakness; they are a crucial component of a balanced training plan. Any type of exercise causes micro trauma to your bodies tissues so ensuring that you get adequate rest will allow your muscles to repair with more strength and endurance. Allow your body the time it needs to recover by scheduling regular rest days and incorporating lighter, easy-paced activities into your week such as yoga, pilates and stretching sessions to enhance flexibility and aid recovery.

6. Strength and Conditioning: A strong foundation is vital for running performance whilst preventing overuse injuries. Include strength training exercises in your routine to build core strength whilst targeting key muscle groups such as gluteals, hamstrings, quadriceps and calf muscles. Where possible try to perform single leg exercises which mimic the running stance such as lunges, single leg squats and single leg deadlifts. This added strength provides better support to your joints, improves your muscular endurance and will have a positive overall effect on your running biomechanics.

7. Dynamic Warm-Up and Cool Down: Start and finish your runs with a dynamic warm-up and cool-down routine. The goal of the warm up is to prepare your body for the activity you are about to do. Before you start your run include some dynamic stretches such as leg swings, squats, forward and side lunges. Ensure not to go straight into a fast pace without building up gradually to get your muscles warmed up. Once you have finished your run it can often be the last thing you want to do but taking 5-10 minutes to carry out some static stretches and foam rolling will help alleviate muscle tightness, improve flexibility and decrease DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).

8. Monitor Your Training Load: Keep a log of your weekly mileage and pay attention to your training load. Sudden spikes in intensity or volume can increase the risk of overuse injuries. Consider incorporating tapering periods before races or high-intensity training blocks to allow your body adequate time to recover. Even though there are some very good training plans out there, acquiring a running coach will enable you to have a personalised plan tailored to you whilst also holding you accountable!


Running is a lifelong journey, and preventing overuse injuries is key to enjoying the miles ahead. By adopting a smart and balanced approach to your training, incorporating rest, cross-training, and strength exercises, you’ll not only enhance your performance but also safeguard yourself against the common pitfalls that can lead to overuse injuries. Run smart, listen to your body, and let the joy of running be a sustainable and injury-free part of your life

Happy running


Adam is running the London Marathon in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust.

We hope to raise as much as possible to support this amazing charity.

If you would like to sponsor Adam, please use the link below.


Many Thanks