% per week rule for running does not prevent injury
evidence based exercise axioms are a dime a dozen, but most
are believed and promoted as gospel.
remember giving a talk to a group of recreational runners
at a local running shoe store running club. I told them the
10% rule, where runners increase running time by 10% each
week, is completely bogus and had no basis in fact, and that
there was a better way to increase running endurance.
caused a lot of contorted faces and "harrumphs"
from the group. It's hard to overcome old myths and axioms.
I explained that simply increasing total running time by 10%
every week doesn't account for fluctuations in fatigue, muscle
imbalances, poor running mechanics, the rate at which each
individual can adapt, and the current fitness of individuals.
course all that sounded too involved for the group of runners
who had been mislead into believing that running is a simple
exercise that is executed by merely putting on a pair of running
shoes and heading out the door. Reversing this type of belief
is challenging, even with good evidence, so strong is the
belief in common myths.
I wanted to help people realize that to get the most out of
their recreational running program they need to address much
more than just meeting a few times per week to walk and run
with a group.
has been known for decades, but has now been more discreetly
identified by a study
comparing an equally ineffective but standard 8 week program
to a 13 week running program with a 10% per week increase.
The study was looking for repetitive strain injuries that
caused a person to take one week of running.
groups increased running volume from 30 to 90 minutes over
either an 8 week or 13 week period. About 20% of runners in
each group became injured.
research has shown over and over the importance of a graduated
approach to exercise that is governed by measured improvements
in specific areas before adding more exercise, the process
is typically oversimplified and people are accelerated too
quickly through exercise routines.
to do? Avoid making increases in your exercise routine simply
because time has passed or when you feel stale. Only increase
your time and intensity when you have evidence your body is
ready to tolerate greater loads.
your smaller synergistic muscle groups increased in strength?
you corrected biomechanical errors?
your heart rate lower for the same running speed or exercise
you can't answer these questions, you need to learn more about
managing exercise. Go to your local sports organization and
ask a coach to help you with your activity. A running coach
will be better at teaching you running than a personal trainer
who doesn't have running specific knowledge. That being said,
there are still plenty of certified coaches and personal trainers
who believe in the 10% rule and other urban exercise myths,
so choose your trainer carefully.
visiting a massage therapist or physiotherapist for preventative
purposes. Ask them to assess you for common muscle imbalances,
and mechanical and postural errors. You might be surprised
at what they find. They'll also be very happy to see you for
preventative measures rather than seeing you after you're
Effect of a Graded Training Program on the Number of Running-Related
Injuries in Novice Runners
A Randomized Controlled Trial
Ida Buist, MSc, Steef W. Bredeweg, MD, Willem van Mechelen,
MD, PhD, Koen A. P. M. Lemmink, PhD, Gert-Jan Pepping, PhD
and Ron L. Diercks, MD, PhD
2008 Cris LaBossiere Rhino Fitness