Protect Your Run: How Strength Training Can Reduce the Risk of Running Injuries

My favourite research topic…


I really want strength training to be protective against running related injuries but to date, the research isn’t clear. To me, it makes logical sense that it would but with anything, we can't always assume.

Preventing running-related injuries (RRIs) is a complex issue in the world of sports and physical activity. Despite various interventions aimed at reducing the occurrence of RRIs, the results have been ambiguous and the effectiveness of such interventions remains uncertain. In the past, some studies have attempted to reduce the number of RRIs by implementing a graded training program with a slow increase of weekly mileage, however, the results showed no significant differences between the control and intervention groups. Other studies, which involved online interventions consisting of evidence-based recommendations on running volume, conditioning training, and personal and biomechanical risk factors, also failed to produce significant results.



This study is an 18-week observational comparative study that aimed to examine the effects of a strength training program on the occurrence of RRIs. The study enrolled 433 recreational runners (203 female) who had been running a minimum of 15 km/week for the past 12 months and were between the ages of 18-55. Participants were randomized into two groups: an intervention group that received the injury prevention program (IPP) and a control group that received no IPP. The primary outcome measure was any RRI, which was prospectively recorded according to a pre-determined definition.


The intervention group performed general strength and foam-rolling exercises twice a week for 18 weeks. The exercises took 19 minutes to perform and 11 minutes for foam rolling. The exercises were chosen based on results from a previously published prospective study, where runners with late timing of maximal eversion and weaker hip abductors compared to hip adductors sustained more injuries than their peers.


A RRI was defined as "a running-related musculoskeletal pain in the lower limbs or back that causes a restriction of running (distance, speed, duration, or training) in more than 66% of all training sessions in 2 consecutive weeks or in more than 50% of all training sessions in 4 consecutive weeks, or that requires the runner to consult a physician or other health professional."


Results and Discussion:


The results of the study showed that when comparing the overall intervention group with the control group, there were no significant differences. However, there was a varying degree of compliance with the intervention program, and participants who were more compliant sustained fewer injuries.


The addition of two strength training sessions per week for 18 weeks resulted in an 85% lower likelihood for recreational runners to sustain a running-related injury compared to runners who did not perform the program.


There are several limitations to this study. One of the limitations is the use of self-reporting, which is accompanied by a degree of subjectivity and inaccuracy. Another limitation is that participants enrolled in the study had not been injured in the last 6 months, which suggests that they may have some protective factor against injury or be outliers. Additionally, the strength training sessions were not well-described, and there is no discussion of the level of intensity or how challenging they were.




The study adds something, building on this we may be able to get better exercise selection in combination a longer time frame.


In conclusion, this study provides evidence that strength training ‘may’ be effective in reducing the occurrence of RRIs among recreational runners. However, more research is needed to better understand the mechanisms behind this relationship and to determine the optimal training program to prevent RRIs. It is important to note that self-reporting is accompanied by a degree of subjectivity and inaccuracy and that the results of this study should be interpreted with caution.


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