Am I at Risk of a Running Related Injury?

Authored by Tim Barnwell, APA Sports Physiotherapist.

The fun run season is in full swing. When it comes to preparing for a half marathon or marathon the last thing a runner needs is an injury. Researchers are always trying to determine the best way to get runners to the finish line without an injury. It is with interest then, that I read this recent article by some Dutch Researchers.


Franke, Backx, and Huisstede (2019)reported that in a group of runners preparing for a half marathon and marathon over a 16 week training period Running Related Injuries (RRIs) occurred frequently. These predominantly involved the lower leg but systemic conditions such as cold and flu were also included. It’s interesting to see that in this cohort of runners, 15% reported a new running related injury and 14% a new illness during any 2 week period.


This can have a substantial impact on running performance and training volumes, so where to from here?


Well as you might imagine the Dutch researchers don’t believe they have all the answers and would like to complete further research. In any case some of the key messages around injury prevention do spring to mind:


  • Load is important – how far, how often, how fast etc
    • Don’t make rapid changes to load during a training program.
  • Volume
    • Tailor your training program to your level of fitness and consult a professional if you are undertaking half marathon or marathon preparation for the first time.
  • Recovery
    • Include recovery sessions in any training program, allowing your body to adapt to training and regenerate is vital to reducing the risk of RRIs.
  • Respect
    • Consult your physiotherapist or doctor when unexplained pain occurs during a training program and rest if that dreaded cold or flu occurs. Better to miss a few training sessions than be unable to compete because of a longer term illness.


From my experience, the more attention you pay to injury prevention the better you will perform. I hope you all continue to enjoy your running programs and best of luck in that next half marathon or marathon.




Franke, T. P. C., Backx, F. J. G., & Huisstede, B. M. A. (2019). Running Themselves Into the Ground? Incidence, Prevalence, and Impact of Injury and Illness in Runners Preparing for a Half or Full Marathon. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, (15), 1–11.


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