Category Archives: Injury Prevention

Should You Run Through Discomfort or Pain?

PainsmThis is a question Bennett frequently hears from coaching clients.  Discomfort, aches and pains during training can be expected.  When to run through and when to stop running? When is the ache or pain a red stop light?


During a workout, it’s OK to run through an occasional muscular twinge.  If the twinge persists, worsens or forces you to alter your gait, your body telling you “this way more stress and strain than I can handle”.  Cut your workout short and head home.  Ice the affected area several times daily for the first 48 hours.  See Icing – No Muss No Fuss for tips on icing.

Overtraining – One Train You Want to Miss

OvertrainingsmI was once asked to write a scientific article on overtraining. My response was that’s the simplest article ever.  It’s two words long: “Avoid it.”

Jack Daniels
Legendary running coach
Author of “Daniels’ Running Formula”

Sylvia Cashmore (Peterborough, Ontario) was training for the 2012 Boston Marathon.  She was running 6 days per week.  Being an avid triathlete (often placing first in her age group), Sylvia was also cross-training 2-3 times weekly.  Unfortunately, all of her hard work resulted overtraining and developing a severe nasty cold which jeopardized her training and racing plans.

One Run Away From Illness or Injury?

How to tell if you are courting illness or an injury that will derail your training and racing plans?

Like the canary in the mineshaft, a running log can provide an early warning sign of impending danger — illness, staleness or burnout – before the physical symptoms show. When you enter your workout details in your running log, rate your workout on a scale of 1 to 10; 1 is awful, 10 is Nirvana. If you have three consecutive runs with a rating of 4 or less…

Flying Is Hazardous to Your Training

Many of us know that runners are more susceptible to catching colds after racing and running longer distances. Research has shown running longer than 90 minutes increases the risk of developing an Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI). How to Prevent Colds and Illnesses after Racing and Running Long.

What other common activity increases your risk of illness? It’s not going outside without a hat during winter (sorry, Mom).

It’s flying.

The Most Accurate Training Monitor is Free

Yes. It’s called the brain.

Australian researchers at Deakin University reviewed 56 studies comparing objectives measures of training load (e.g. heart rate, blood markers, oxygen consumption) versus subjective indicators of training load (perceived stress, mood).  Their results, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that in over 90% of the studies reviewed, subjective measures were equal or more reliable indicators of training load than the objective scientific measures.

In other words, how you feel during and after a run is the most reliable indicator of how your body responds to your training.

How To Cure Painful Side Stitches

DiarrheasmallMany runners have experienced a beautiful run that was brought to a sudden painful end by a side stitch.  This sharp stabbing pain in the upper belly just underneath the rib cage, usually on the right side, begins without warning. With each step, the pain worsens, subsiding only when you stop running.

Until recently, the cause of what the scientific community call Exercise-Related Transient Abdominal Pain (i.e. the side stitch) was not clearly understood.  Some of the hypotheses to explain this annoying run-killer included not waiting long enough after food or liquid intake  before running, lack of oxygen to the diaphragm, spasms or cramps in abdominal muscles and the build up of abdominal gas.

Banish IT Band Pain


Iliotibial Band Syndrome (a.k.a. ITBS or IT band pain) is one of the most common running injuries.  The pain is debilitating, often stopping you dead in your tracks and forcing a long layoff from running. We’ll examine the cause of IT band pain, why commonly prescribed treatments are ineffective and the one exercise that you should do to alleviate this painful injury and get you back on the roads.

Sarah, one of the runners that I recently coached, had been suffering from IT band pain, which was preventing her from doing any running.  To alleviate the pain, she had purchased an over the counter knee strap to be worn while running.  In addition, her physical therapist had prescribed a heel lift to correct a minor leg length discrepancy.  Her ITB symptoms decreased in severity, but two weeks later, she began experiencing knee pain in the same leg.   When she attempted to increase her mileage, her IT band pain returned with a vengeance!

How to Prevent Stress Fractures

XrayShinSmallFew injuries have as much negative impact on a runner’s training program than a stress fracture.  The treatment involves no running for six to eight weeks (12 – 15 weeks in severe cases) to allow the bone to heal.  Stress fractures affect elite and recreational runners alike.  Women’s marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe has suffered several stress fractures throughout her career. We know runners whose marathon times range from 3:20 to 4:40 who have all suffered stress fractures.

According to Dr. Cathy Fieseler, Director of Sports Medicine of Trinity Mother Frances Health System (Tyler, TX):   “My experience in my medical practice is that women comprise half of my stress fracture cases, but (women) are four times more likely than men to suffer a recurrent stress fracture”.

Research studies shed light on the biomechanical factors that increase predisposition to stress fractures, the differences between female and male runners that suffer stress fractures and a simple exercise or change to your training that you can implement to reduce your stress fracture risk.

How To Prevent Hamstring Injury

Lack of running-specific strength in the lower limbs is the main reason why most runners get injured. Your hamstrings are no exception. We’ll examine what causes hamstring injuries in runners and the best way to avoid injuring your hamstrings.

In most non-running activities, a muscle is being shortened as it exerts force (e.g. performing a bicep curl). This is called a concentric contraction. However, in running, muscles are frequently being lengthened as they exert force. This action is known as an eccentric (pronounced ee-CEN-tric) contraction. Eccentric contractions are more damaging to muscles than concentric actions.

Your hamstrings undergo an eccentric contraction every time you swing your leg forward (during the swing phase of the gait cycle). They contract and pull back on the leg as it moves forward. Regardless, the leg moves ahead, resulting in eccentric strain on your hamstrings. Imagine your hamstrings being stretched to the max as they try to shorten – approximately 90 times per minutes!

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