top of page

Running Injury Prevention

Before Davin MacKenzie was a physiotherapist, he was a runner. Since joining Royal City Physio, he has shared his experience as both with patients who have come in with injuries and also with those who are trying to avoid them. Most recently, he has put together an information sheet designed to help new and experienced runners alike. It addresses distance, frequency, cadence, form, shoes and more. See below for the complete document. To download the PDF, visit our links page and click on Running Injury Prevention.

Running Injury Prevention

Quick facts:

i. ~80% of running injuries are due to how you are training. Changing your habits

can significantly decrease your risk of injury.

ii. Your cadence, foot-strike pattern, and form can all decrease your risk of injury

iii. The shoe you wear may be putting you at risk

Online Running Programs:

Safely progressing your mileage:

  • Week-to-week, your total increase in mileage should not exceed 10%

  • For your weekly long run, do not exceed the previous week by more than 15 min

  • If you’ve taken at least 3 weeks off, your tissues will have weakened and you are at risk of injury if you jump back into your previous routine.

  • Start at 50% of your last total mileage and increase from there

Taking a break from running:

  • If you’re taking a break from running you must maintain ¼ of your running volume per week to maintain your tissue strength

  • When you are taking a break from running, try to perform at least two days per week of some form of jumping activity to maintain the strength of your tissues

  • E.g. ABC’s**, or skipping rope, or step-class

How frequently should you run?

  • Try to run at least 3 days per week to build strength. Start with combining minutes of walking with running to reduce impact and your chance of injury.

  • If you have already completed your mileage of 10% of the previous week, and you want more cardio, you can add volume by doing other low-impact cardio activities, such as biking, elliptical, or swimming.


  • Run with a cadence of 165-180 steps per minute (just count your steps!). This will improve your running efficiency and decreases your risk of injury.

Foot-Strike Pattern:

  • Land with a mid-foot or fore-foot strike

  • Heel-strikers have an overall 2.7x greater frequency of moderate & severe injuries than for forefoot-strikers

Running Form:

  • Keep your body upright

  • Land with your foot closer to your body so as not to ‘brake’ yourself

  • Land with a slight knee bend

  • Minimize how high your body travels up & down (vertical displacement)

How to Choose a Running Shoe

Transitioning Shoes:

  • When changing your shoe, do it over a period of 3-4 weeks by alternating between your old shoes and your new shoes.

  • When transitioning from a more cushioned shoe to a more minimalist shoe, do not exceed 10% of your total volume per week in the more minimalist shoe to allow your body time to accommodate.

Type of Support:

  • Shoes are classified by support into ‘neutral’, ‘stability’, and ‘motion-control’

  • Neutral vs. stability shoes

  • Regardless of what foot-type you have, studies have shown that there is no difference in the injury rate between these two types of support.

What is a good fit?

  • To minimize injury risk, it is best to choose a shoe that is similar to the one your previously ran in, as this is the style that your body is most familiar with.

  • Choose a shoe that fits your foot well

  • Select a shoe that is wide enough to allow your foot to splay

  • Leave 1-2cm in length from your longest toe

  • Select a shoe that does not push your big-toe inwards (hallux valgus)

For an expert retailer of running shoes nearby, visit Fit First in Burnaby or The Runner’s Den in Port Moody!

bottom of page