A study published on the end of 2018 questioned if the change in the training load could increase the risk of injuries. The article is a systematic review which is the highest level of scientific evidence. Have been reviewed several articles but only 4 were qualitative good to be considered in the study.

The Conclusion of the study were:

3/4 studies found that:

  • Sudden increase in running distance between 2 weeks
  • A non-specific recent change in one or more training variables (velocity, distance, volume, frequency)

Lead toward an increased injury risk

In contrast the Fourth study found:

  • no difference in injury risk when comparing two intervention groups

Therefore, there is not enough evidence to state that a change in the training load will increase the risk of injuries among runners.

Although is worthwhile to underline that an excessive progression in training load can increase the risk of injuries.

The main problem is to understand and investigate what means EXCESSIVE, this can vary a lot among novice, amateurs and professionals.

In effect another important revelation in the study is:

  • The 10% rule used from several runners and coaches is not supported from any evidence, finding no differences between an increase 10-29%.

Let’s do an example:

  1. Novice: run 10km per week
  2. Amateurs: run 30km per week
  3. Professionals: run 100km per week

An increase of 10% of weekly increased would be:

  1. Novice: 1km
  2. Amateurs: 3km
  3. Professionals: 10km

Now imagine doing so over a month period, it’s easy to understand that the absolute value among them would be different. A Novice would increase roughly 5km over one month and a professional would increase roughly 50km.

We can understand that if for the novice can be a good progression, for the professional is something unimaginable.

Individualise the training load is probably the best answer.

Because the factors to consider are many, just to name a few:

  • Age
  • BMI
  • Nutrition and supplementation
  • General Fitness
  • Presence of Pathologies
  • Previous or current injuries
  • Training environment
  • Muscles weakness

Just few examples:

Let’s consider two novices:

1 person has BMI 22(healthy)

1 person has BMI 32(obese)

Can we expect the same progression? The answer is certain no

Same if we consider two amateurs where one is 65 years old and the other 20years old.

Muscles weakness, a recent study published in January 2018 showed that an insufficient strength of the deep core musculature may increase a runner’s risk of developing LBP.

In fact, with complete deep core muscle weakness, peak anterior shear loading increased on all lumbar vertebrae (up to 19%), Additionally, compressive spinal loading increased on the upper lumbar vertebrae (up to 15%).

Is then worthy to consider it? Absolutely yes.

A good advice would be to have a regular check up with your physiotherapist considering all the possible variables, trying to develop the best training load which suits for you.

Your physiotherapist can also assess the presence of restriction in the joints motion, the presence of muscles weakness or any imbalance which may lead to an injury.

In this way you will have an inclusive picture of the situation, also will be addressed the needed of any home or gym exercises which you can implement in your running and progressive loading program.



Raabe ME and Chaudhari AMW, (Jan 2018),Biomechanical consequences of running with deep core muscle weakness.

doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2017.11.037

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