Injury Prevention for the Weekend Warrior

 In Running

injury prevention

Working in a popular sports practice I often get asked if I treat a lot of elite athletes and the answer is not often…I mainly see weekend warriors. Weekend warriors are those of us that have to squeeze our training in before and after work and then run about on the weekend like a bull at a gate and show up to work on Monday looking like we have been hit by a semi-trailer. Being a weekend warrior is a constant juggling act between relationships, family, work, training and social life. Sound familiar? If so below are some handy hints ( 5 in fact) on how to reduce your chance of running, swimming, climbing, biking or lifting your way into an injury this summer!

Weekend warriors are those of us that have to squeeze our training in. #performbetter @pogophysio Click To Tweet

1. Load, Load, Load

If you have ever been to a physio with a tendon problem you will be all too familiar with the word load. Load refers to the volume or intensity of force/stress we put on something. Load can refer to time under tension, weight, speed, changes to surfaces…etc. Possibly 60% of the injuries I see as a sports Physio could have been prevented by better controlling the load we put our bodies under. One of the biggest mistakes that I often see is when people put too much load too quickly through tissue and don’t allow it time to adapt. An example of this would be not running all winter and heading out in spring for a 15km run because that’s what you could do last April.

Unfortunately this approach to training does not allow the tissues in our body time to adapt and change to cope with the new levels of load. A better approach might be starting off with a 3-5km run and gradually make the distance longer by a km every week. Tendons (which attach muscles to bones) are particularly slow at adapting to load and often only tolerate a 5-10% increase in load every 3-5 days. Subsequently tendon problems are usually one of the first injuries to present with a sudden increase in load. A safe way to get back into training when you have been out for a while is to start off slow and very gradually ease your way into it, roughly 5-10% increases every week.

Start off with a 3-5km run and gradually make the distance longer. #performbetter @pogophysio Click To Tweet

2. Rest and Recover

Rest is one of the most powerful means of promoting general health and preventing injury. You always hear people say it was on that last run down the mountain, or my last wave before I was going to come in. Injuries often happen when we are tired or unwell, and our bodies aren’t functioning at their optimum level. In elite sports there are lots of different ways that an athletes health is monitored however most of us don’t have access or energy to study ourselves this closely. Subsequently it is important to monitor how you feel on a day to day basis and adjust your activity levels accordingly. Some helpful hints include skipping or tapering back training if you have had a late night or not enough sleep, if everyone in your family is sick, if you’re unwell or even a bit sniffly, under a lot of stress and pressure at work or are having relationship of family issues.

If you a re a runner this blog may be of interest, click HERE>> (Runners take a rest day)

3. Listen to your Body

This third point ties in the above two very closely. Listening to your body is an art form and one many of us are either not good at recognising, or very good at ignoring. It involves paying attention and noticing changes to pain, discomfort, tiredness and sickness. These factors can be as simple as noticing that you are having three coffees a day instead of one, or that niggly hip pain in your first 2 km of your run or that you have had a runny nose for a few days now. The next step is to act on these observations accordingly and allowing your body to get back to its state of optimum health or “normal” before you continue or increase with your current level of training. This might involve a trip or two to the doctor or physio, changing your work hours or sleep patterns and often adjusting something to ensure you get a chance to heal.

Listening to your body is an art form. #performbetter @pogophysio Click To Tweet

4. Train to Keep Training

Most elite athletes will participate in some kind of strength and conditioning program to keep their bodies in great condition to ensure they can compete at peak performance levels. This generally entails 1-2 session per week of strengthening certain muscle groups in a gym, studio or even at home. This type of training reduces incidence of certain injuries and helps improve performance and allows for active rest. For a program best suited to your sport see your local strength and conditioning coach or physio.

5. Check Your Shoes

For all those runners, walkers and climbers out there don’t forget to keep an eye on your joggers. You know the ones with a hole in toe and no tread on them that are better suited to gardening than running? Footwear can play a massive role in controlling the movements about our lower limb and lower back as well as shock absorption. Research is contentious about how often we should change our joggers and different articles will suggest that at between 500-800km we should be changing our runners but some will indeed need to be changed a lot sooner or will last a little longer.

For a guide as to which running shoe you should buy click HERE>>

Lindsay Christie (APAM)


Lindsay Young physio Gold Coast



Cook, J. L., & Purdam, C. R. (2009). Is tendon pathology a continuum? A pathology model to explain the clinical presentation of load-induced tendinopathy. British journal of sports medicine43(6), 409-416.

Kong, P. W.; Candelaria, N. G.; Smith, D. R., Running in new and worn shoes: a comparison of three types of footwear. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2009, 43, 746-749.

Faigenbaum, A. D., & Myer, G. D. (2010). Resistance training among young athletes: safety, efficacy and injury prevention effects. British journal of sports medicine44(1), 56-63.

Rees, J. D., Maffulli, N., & Cook, J. (2009). Management of tendinopathy. The American journal of sports medicine37(9), 1855-1867.

discover-recover-physio gold coast

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