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Running series #2: evidence based running progression

8 May 2024

Running series #2: evidence based running progression

We’ve covered how we can protect our bodies from running related injuries (RRI) through strength exercise, but how can we know we are safely progressing our training?

Remember, up to half of all runners sustain an injury each year that prevents them from running, and 25% of all runners are injured at any given time. Considering the high rates of RRI in runners, injury prevention must always be considered as a part of training, and careful progression of running loads plays an important role in this.

A 2014 study followed 873 new runners for 1 year and compared those who sustained an RRI to those who did not depending on their weekly increase in running distance: <10%, 10%-30%, and more than 30% in the 2 weeks prior to injury.

The study found that runners who increased mileage by more than 30% had an increased injury rate than those who increased their mileage by <10%. Runners who ran longer distance at a faster pace had higher rates of patellofemoral pain (deep knee pain), iliotibial band syndrome (side knee pain), shin splints, patellar tendinopathy (front knee pain), greater trochanteric bursitis (hip pain) and injury to the gluteus medius or tensor fascia latae (hip muscles).

Other injuries like plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinopathy, calf injuries, hamstring injuries and stress fractures were not linked to the 10% rule and may be related to other training errors such as pace, increases in speed or sprint training. 

Your physio can assist you in creating a personalised running program to help you achieve your goals while keeping injury away.

Main Take-Away

Progress your running mileage by less than 30% over a 2-week period.


Kakouris, N., Yener, N., & Fong, D. (2021). A systematic review of running-related musculoskeletal injuries in runners. Journal of sport and health science, 10(5), 513–522.

Nielsen, R. Ø., Parner, E. T., Nohr, E. A., Sørensen, H., Lind, M., & Rasmussen, S. (2014). Excessive progression in weekly running distance and risk of running-related injuries: an association which varies according to type of injury. The Journal of orthopaedic and sports physical therapy, 44(10), 739–747.

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