How many times per week should us runners be doing our injury prevention workouts?
That’s a question that comes my way from time to time, and the short version of the answer is “little and often”.
Let me elaborate…
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As runners, we need to be incorporating regular strength, stability and mobility exercises into our weekly regimes, to help avoid imbalances from developing from the repetitive motion of running.
Building stability and resilience throughout your body as a whole help when it comes to meeting the demands of stressing your body with mile after mile of pounding the pavement.
The idea that these supplementary exercises are an important part of staying injury-free isn’t a new one, still lots of us neglect these workouts in favour of squeezing more miles into a busy week.
Of course, runners need to run. There’s no shortcut to getting the miles in your legs.
However, so often I’m told how: “I only realised I should have been doing more strength exercises once I got injured”.
I hope not.
But I know to many it will!
So, let’s say you’ve got a 20-25 minute routine of specific exercises from the physio which you were given having been injured in the past.
Hopefully you’re back running pain free now. If you are, don’t make the mistake so many runners make, which is pushing these exercises to one side, thinking they’re no longer required.
Instead, think about turning you REHAB exercises into your MAINTENANCE exercises.
You can consider ways in which you could perhaps progress some of the exercises, if they’re getting too easy.
- Add additional load/resistance
- Introduce an unstable surface
- Increase or decrease the pace of the exercise
- Increase the number of reps and sets
When it comes to the main question at hand:
How many times per week should you be performing these exercises?
I have a simple rule of thumb:
1 x weekly = Not enough
2 x weekly = Maintenance
3 x weekly = You’ll start to see progress
4 x weekly = A great average to aim for during a normal running week
5 x weekly = If you’re doing intensive rehab, or otherwise not running for some reason
If you can aim to perform the exercises your physio has given you on average 3-4 times weekly as a maintenance routine, you’ll be in a great place when it comes to giving yourself a chance to continue running injury free.
If you haven’t got an existing set of exercises to work from, you should perhaps check-out this free programme for runners: