How can I minimise the risk of injury?

07 March 2023

Dr Mark Matthews is a Sports Physiotherapist with an extensive amount of clinical experience. Mark is a researcher and lecturer in Sports and Exercise Medicine at Ulster University School of Sport and will be dropping short insights on running and injuries so you  can make the most of your running and training.

How can I minimise the risk of injury


How can I minimise the risk of injury?

The two most common risks of a running injury are (1) training error or (2) a previous injury. Most running injuries are overuse related – too much, too soon. The body doesn’t typically cope well with sudden change in training – this could be a change in the amount of running (volume), intensity of the session, number of training sessions (per week). It is about striking the right balance between training and what your body can tolerate. The key is slow and gradual change to let the body adapt. A quick tip is look back over what you have done the past 8-10 weeks versus what you have done over the last 1-2weeks.  A lot of nagging niggles come about when a person’s body can’t cope with the current training as it is, so a slight adjustment in training and some targeted exercises can keep you running – complete rest is rarely the right approach.

A previous injury can predispose a runner to another injury. This can be due to damage to the tissue itself, or the effect a previous injury had on other surrounding parts of the body. A classic one is knee pain the comes on, goes away with just resting but comes back worse next time. Others can be previous ankle injuries that provoke knee or hip pain, and calf that keeps pulling. It is crucial to address underlying previous injuries and manage them appropriately – I would recommend seeing someone to help you with targeted exercises to address your previous injury.