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Getting the Most Out of Your Running Program: Tips for Injury-Free Running

Running is a great way to improve fitness and mental health, but it’s important to not overdo it. For recreational distance runners looking to get the most out of their running program, I recommend running a minimum of three or four times per week on non-consecutive days, and engaging in light aerobic activities (such as walking or spinning) and/or strength training on non-running days. This will help your body adapt and ensure adequate recovery, while also helping you feel more prepared and fresh heading into each run.[0]

I also recommend runners start each run with 10 minutes of walking and end with a five-minute walk. This can be a “fitness walk” which involves striding briskly (3.0-3.5mph or 18 to 20 minutes/mile) with arms pumping like running.[1] This increases your heart rate, promotes blood flow to the working musculature, and allows a nice transition and cognitive shift as you go from sedentary to active.[0] Adding light skipping and side shuffling (10- to 20-second intervals) to the walking warm-up is something I enjoy doing.[0]

In order to avoid injury, it’s important to start with a manageable number of miles. I suggest starting with 5-8 miles per week and then building up about 10% each week as long as there is no pain in the feet, legs or back.[1] Strength training is also an important part of any running program, as it helps build muscle and prevent injury.[0]

Finally, it’s important to be consistent with your running program. Sporadic or inconsistent running can increase your risk of injury, so it’s best to stay on top of your running schedule. By following these tips, you’ll be able to get the most out of your running program and stay injury-free.

0. “The Seven Most Common Ways Runners Get Injured and How to Avoid Them” Outside, 10 Feb. 2023,

1. “Running Injuries and Military Fitness: How to Recover and Keep Up Training”, 10 Feb. 2023,

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