Jan 03 2022 Tips to avoid injuries for newbie runners

Tips to avoid injuries for newbie runners


Are you a newbie to running or want to re-start running as a New Year’s resolution?

This short blog will highlight an important tip to stay injury free when starting your running training program. We will explain why people get injuries when they first start a running program and what you can do to reduce the risk of picking up an annoying injury when you start out. We will also outline a very basic starter running program that all beginners can follow.

We see a lot of people in the New Year come back into the clinic after they have tried running as their new form of exercise. Their injuries are mostly caused by doing too much running too soon. The Physical Stress Theory proposed by Mueller and Maluf (2002) describe how muscles and tendons adapt to small increases in stress. When new stresses, such as running, are greater than what the muscles and tendons can absorb, pain and injury can be the result. The most common running injury complaints we see are calf and achilles tendon strains. Both these injuries are the result of the tendons and muscles not being accustomed to the amount of strain associated with the new running program. The best advice we can give you when you want to start running is to take it slow, be consistent and let the body adapt to your new running regime.

How do you know when you are increasing your running times and distances too fast and increasing the risk of injury? We suggest that if you are still feeling the effects of your run 48 hours later then you have probably run too far. A simple model we use for judging running intensity is the Perceive Rate of Exertion Scale (PRE-Scale).

Figure of the PRE-Scale


This 1 to 10 scale allows you to judge your run based on how hard you felt the run was. A 1/10 PRE-scale is rated as being very easy (1/10) and a 10/10 PRE-scale being so hard that you could not finish (10/10). We recommend that beginner runners should run between 3 to 6 on the PRE-scale. By ensuring that you keep within the PRE-scale bands you can confidently progress through the stages of the beginners running program outlined below.

The beginners running program we outline below is tailored for people who have not run before or getting back into running after a long break.

All runs start with a fast 5 mins walk and then a work block involving a run and walk circuit, followed by a 5 mins walk cool down. After 4 weeks you should be comfortable running up to 15 mins in duration.


Running work block:

Run 1: 1 min on / 1 min off x 3 rounds

Run 2: 1 min on / 1 min off x 4 rounds

Run 3: 1 min on / 1 min off x 5 rounds


Run 4: 2 mins on/ 2 mins off x 3 rounds

Run 5: 3 mins on/ 2 mins off x 3 rounds

Run 6: 3 mins on/ 1 mins off x 3 rounds


Run 7: 4 mins on/ 2 mins off x 3 rounds

Run 8: 4 mins on/ 1 mins off x 3 rounds

Run 9: 5 mins on/ 2 min off x 3 rounds

Run 10: 5 mins on/ 1 min off x 3 rounds


We suggest that most people that come to see us with running injuries is because they have increased their running distances to levels that their muscles and tendons are not accustomed to. Our therapists recommend a slow, progressive and consistent running plan for people that are first starting out on their running exercise path. Using the PRE exertion scale is a great way of monitoring your running progress and helps reduce the risk of picking up injuries. For people who have not run for a long time or are just starting out, we have outlined an easy and simple starter running program that can be followed for the first month. This program will allow muscles and tendons to safely adapt to the stresses of starting a new running program.

P.S if you have set a New Year’s resolution this month read our tips about how to stay on track to crush your goals by clicking this link.

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