Couch to 5K
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Avoiding injury

I found this, ( which gives what looks like sensible advice for new runners, and thought it might be useful too for New Year resolutioners - and everyone else too, really. I need to go gently, and particularly note the 'Ignore the feeling in your first three months that you could be doing more.' - especially as it was based on a study of 'reasonably fit people'.


Avoiding injury when you start running

Experience shows that many people who are new to running end up with minor injuries in the first six months of running. These injuries are frequently related trying to do too much, or having the wrong shoes. For many runners, injury comes just at the time when they are beginning to love their new sport, and it can be very frustrating to have to ease off or stop completely.

walk for the first month;

build up slowly; never increase your weekly mileage by more than 2 miles or 10%, whichever is greater;

get proper running shoes from a specialist running shop;

run on grass or trails rather than roads and pavements;

get advice from experienced runners;

ignore the feeling in your first three months that you could be doing more;

It is sensible to start running for short times and distances at first, and then gradually build up. The reason for this is that your body takes time to adapt to running. When you start to run, your cardiovascular fitness increases, your muscles become stronger, and your joints and ligaments adapt to the impact of daily running. But your overall fitness level and energy can increase faster than your joints have adapted. If you get carried away, you may start to run longer and faster before your joints and ligaments are really ready, with the result that you may injure yourself. In one study of reasonably fit people who started to run almost all of them became injured at some time in the third month of training. These problems are entirely avoidable, with just a little patience and willingness to learn from experience.

In order to avoid injury, you need to hold back from running too much at first even if you feel ready to go further and faster. In particular, it is a good idea to start off with a month of brisk walking, rather than running. This helps your body to adapt to the effect of regular impact of your feet on the ground, before you start to increase your running mileage.

4 Replies

Thanks for that greenlegs :) I try to run on the grass verges along my route but unfortunately am having to run mainly on the pavement as there isn't really anywhere near me within walking distance (I don't drive). The thought of it bothers me but I figure it is better than not doing it at all!


I usually run down the canal, its all squishy and soft (and flat) ha and I really notice the difference in how my legs and shins feel if I go out on a pavement run, it hurts! Also if I run up hill my calves really hurt the day after!


Great article and thank you for sharing. I can relate very well from personal experience. I still continue to have joint pain even though I know my muscles and cardio are stronger. Gayle


Yes, I know the c25k programme was designed with a 50-yr-old in mind (the programme's author's mother), but maybe she wasn't as unfit as some of us? There does seem to be an awful lot of injury discussion on here.


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