How to run your best race in 2018 | TPM Physiotherapy Townsville

Posted on: Jan 24th, 2018 by The Physio Movement | Categories: Sports Medicine & Nutrition

Runners: How to run your best race 

Physiotherapy Townsville | Tpm Physio Townsville

Strength and Conditioning for Runners

2018 – the year of the runner. Running participation in Australia has skyrocketed over recent years to now having 4.876 million Australians participating in some form of running. Be this through the increase of bucket list half-marathons, more enticing activewear options, or the motivation of wanting to look like an Instagram model.

However, with the increase of running comes the increase of running-related injuries. Overuse running injuries, sprains and strains are all too common at The Physio Movement clinic, therefore we will be posting a series of blog posts through the start of 2018 in preparation for your mid-year event. Be it any distance from the UTA100 through to your 5km weekend Parkrun, this information can be helpful for anyone looking to reduce their risk of injury.


Did you know Strength and conditioning in runners has been proven to:

  • Reduce the incidence of overuse injury by 50%
  • Improve running economy by about 4.6% (i.e. take less effort to go faster)
  • Improve recovery time (shown in elite rugby players)
  • AND THEREFORE – show a 2.9% improvement in performance, which in this particular study equated to about a 16-second improvement in 3km time


Now, running injuries generally arise as a result of increased load. When running, there is approximately four times as much body weight being put through your body with every stride. One study found that there is approximately 100,000kg worth of force being placed through your skeleton with every mile that you run. Another study found that this is even higher in the Achilles tendon, with approximately 7-10x the amount of load being placed through this with every step. Load can be managed in one of two ways. If someone is injured, often the best way to reduce load is by modifying training load with less distance, different surfaces or less speed. However, once this person has been rehabilitated, another method may be to increase the tissue’s ability to manage load through (yes, you guessed it), strength and conditioning.

There are many different ways to build strength. Look at the big strong guys at the gym who pick up a big heavy bar once, lift it up, drop it, then walk away and look at a mirror for another 5mins. Us runners envy these people because of how much weight they are lifting, during what is called their 1RM or 1 maximum repetition. Appropriate strength training for runners is achieved through ~8-12RM, i.e. the maximum amount a person can lift for about 8-12 reps, or 70-80% of their 1RM. For example, a runner might get best benefit from about 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps, working to fatigue each set, then having about 2-3mins rest between. This is not a recipe, merely a guide.

Now this is just a general strength training protocol. There is different evidence out there for different injuries. For example:

  • Tendinopathy evidence – start at 15RM building to 6RM over 12 weeks
  • Plantar fasciitis – start at 12RM building to 8RM over 12 weeks

Other evidence suggests optimal performance benefits come from 4-10RM for runners and cyclists, but this is completely individual.

A runner can progress their strength training by increasing the load in three different ways:

  1. Increasing weight (about 2-10% once the runner is able to complete 12-15 reps easily)
  2. Time under tension (for example, a slower release of the weight rather than just letting it drop to the ground)
  3. Range of movement (for example, fully bending and straightening your leg rather than just working in inner or outer range when doing leg press)

Following this, the movements can be made more challenging. For example, a basic starting point could be a straight movement, such as a straight up and down step-up. This can then be progressed to lateral movements, rotational movements, combined movements before moving into sport-specific movements.

In the coming weeks we (Connor – Physiotherapist and Callum – Exercise Physiologist) will be holding our first seminar on how to run your best race in 2018. Our seminars will be followed on from our series of blog posts and will build on the basics described here by looking deeper into what exercises can actually be done to help with your running. Reserve your spot at our first event held on Monday February 5th at 6pm – 517 Flinders Street.


NOTE: Please discuss with your appropriate health professional for your own personal safety prior to completing any further changes in training


Looking to runner your best race in 2018? Reserve your FREE spot at our first seminar Now




Statistics – Roy Morgan Single Source January – December 2015

Goom, T. (unknown). Strength and conditioning for runners part 1. Retrieved from—optimise-strength-and-conditioning-for-your-runners/401

Lauersen JB, Bertelsen DM, Andersen LB. The effectiveness of exercise interventions to prevent sports injuries: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Br J Sports Med Published Online First: 07 October 2013. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-092538

Yamamoto et al. (2008). The effects of resistance training on endurance distance running performance among highly trained runners: a systematic review. Journal of Strength and Conditioning, 22(6), 2036-44. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318185f2f0

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