Choose Workouts With A High Fitness/Injury Ratio (Read 381 times)


    Being a physical therapist, I like to share with and help runners create individualized workouts with a high Fitness/Injury Ratio. Workouts that have a high Fitness/Injury Ratio maximize fitness with low risk of injury. Preventing injury is key if you are to reach your potential as a runner. Injuries interrupt training programs and can cause significant mental stress for runners at important times in their development. Let’s look at an example to illustrate further what I mean by Fitness/Injury Ratio. Last Sunday I went for an 18 mile long run. About the 16 mile mark I felt a sharp pain go through my right knee. I stopped momentarily, but finished the run. It was very sore the next day, but since has subsided. An 18 mile run ran at 30-60 seconds slower than race pace is part of my marathon training program for the upcoming Chicago Marathon, so it is a critical fitness building workout. This means that it has a high Fitness Potential. I like to grade Fitness Potential on a 0 to 10 scale with 0 being a workout that provides little to no Fitness Potential and 10 being a workout that has absolute maximum Fitness Potential. I gave this particular 18 mile run about an 8 as far as Fitness Potential. My fitness will definitely improve completing this run. However, the Injury Potential was also quite high because of two main reasons: I am a little heavier than I like to be at this point in any race preparation, and the training for this marathon has been less than satisfactory due to my training partner’s own injury problems. I gave the Injury Potential with this run about a 7. Now we do the math: I rated the Fitness Potential an 8, and I rated the Injury Potential a 7. The Fitness/Injury Ratio therefore would be 1.1 (8/7=1.1). Obviously, the higher the ratio the better. The Fitness/Injury Ratio is calculated on a fairly individualized basis because a variety of factors for each person come into play (i.e. the type/intensity of workout at hand, your age, your recent training, weather, your shoes, etc). Think back on the last run that caused an injury and calculate the Fitness/Injury Ratio. I bet it comes out below 2. Typically, I try to avoid doing workouts with a score of 2 or below very often because the “return on the running investment” is not high enough (too much risk of injury for the fitness gained). However, I also understand that with no risk comes no reward, and there are certain situations where you must do workouts with a low Fitness/Injury Ratio. My humble advice: Continually choose workouts with a High Fitness/Injury Ratio and watch your running improve. Have an Enerfit Day, Joe Freudenthal enerfitrunning.blogspot.com