Why runners get injured? No one that practices a sport can be is safe from getting injured. A more specific question would be: Why do I keep getting hurt. Is it because of my genetics?
For most runners, it is not precisely the genetic issue that is wrong, but the training plan.
Yes, some athletes are injured due to genetics. For example, people with osteoporosis or osteopenia can have fractures easily.
But the reality is that you, I, your neighbor, amateur runners, and even professional runners, and in general, most of the millions of runners who are injured, probably have a problem better known as “inadequate training.”
There is the kind of runners who seek advice to improve their technique; as well as those who believe they know how to do it. The second kind usually rolls their eyes when someone says their training way is not the right way. I know you’re not that type, that’s why you are on Runners on Fire.
After all, the experience is what makes us good learners. And it is one of how most of us learn. Because yes, I also suffered many injuries at the beginning of my career.
Not all bodies are equal, mainly as we mentioned above, genetics are a factor. But if the genetic issue is not to blame, then why do some suffer from fractures, others from muscle tears, tendonitis, etc.? There is an infinite amount of injuries, but in all of them, if genetics is not to blame, there is a constant: lousy training. Keep in mind that to much training can mean many injuries.
Here I share 5 things that I suggest you should adjust and add to your training plan to avoid injuries.
Target incremental improvement: Your body is gradually improving, so it is not necessary to train more than necessary to “improve faster.” Training too much or too hard only increases the risk of injury, and does not provide any benefit.
Create a balanced approach: You have three types of muscle fibers, and you use all three during a race, so if you love distance but hate speed work, it’s time to take care of speed work unless you want to injure yourself.
Do injury prevention exercises: You have weaknesses that don’t improve just by running. Do eccentric exercises for the hamstrings and calves. Perform resistance training in the lower body for muscle development and connective tissue. Take into account that these exercises are not competitions. Just do them. In the post 3 Super Simple Exercises to Become a Better Runner, you can find some examples.
Schedule your recovery: If you have any discomfort, and after a while, you start feeling better, it does not mean that you are ready to train hard again. Training damages muscles, tissues and depletes your body’s resources. First, repair and replace. Add another day of recovery to help the improvement. And remember that muscle strengthens faster than connective tissue. Most running injuries occur because runners base training on muscle development, and forget that tendons, ligaments, and bones are falling behind.
Have confidence in your body: Stop injecting yourself, freezing yourself, taking medication and other things as a remedy for the usual aches and pains that accompany the training. Stop aggravating your body and allow it to work as it should. Time is the only safe recovery tool.
It’s okay to want to break your PB, want to be better every competition, but that doesn’t mean sacrificing your body because when the time comes for the race or in a few more years your body will complain and the injuries will be worse and worse. In short, take care of your body, take weeks or days off for your body to recover. Yes, the injuries will still be present for one reason or another, but if you try to avoid them, your body will appreciate it.
Do not take it lightly. An analysis of 400 studies on injuries during a race concluded that a history of previous injuries and having used orthotics/inserts was associated with an increased risk of race injuries.
Although there were other more difficult risks to justify, none were about poor genetics. Therefore, personalized training is recommended, as well as specific exercises to avoid injuries.
In 2016, another study about injuries indicated that interval training may be recommended to marathon runners to reduce the risk of injury. And yes, indeed, there is nothing that mentions genetics.
So the concrete answer to why runners get injured is simply about excessive training. Don’t use your genes as an excuse. Instead, perform a better, smarter and more complete workout.