“Run often, run long but never out-run your joy of running” – Julie Isphording former olympian

Humans are literally born to run and since the beginning of time running has been integral to our survival. Why then do a whopping 2/3s of the 300 million people that run globally, get injured at any one time?

A simple answer that you will hear from most sports physiotherapists, exercise physiologists and personal trainers is LOAD.
Too much too soon.
For some, COVID has meant a time of rest and so with the gyms reopening it is imperative that the return to activity be both modest and monitored. The program needs to be formulated, considered and adhered to make it fit with the users current fitness statistics, time frames and goals.

Effective running requires 3 key components. Firstly that we have adequate strength and conditioning sessions in our weekly schedule, secondly that we run with good technique and thirdly that we increase the LOAD or mileage or speed or effort slowly over time.

A simple question that Rachel Stanley (sports physiotherapist and founder of Run180) likes to ask her clients is “who taught you how to run?. Most of us were taught tennis or basketball, but unless you were on the track team at school most people don’t know how to run properly. They simply put on their shoes and subconsciously copy the already poor running form that most people display. Running properly is essential to avoid injury and increase efficiency. The message from this physiotherapist is to run as naturally as possible i.e. the way that nature intended and that is with quick, light, short steps.

The science of running says that a step rate of around 180 steps per minute will decrease load in your muscles and joints and will help to activate your inbuilt spring mechanisms. This makes your running more economical, safer and more enjoyable This aspect of technique coupled with a graduated interval program that includes both walk and run sections, will see you making a return to your running journey with maximum ease and more importantly maximum JOY.

The “runners high” that is often talked about is an actual thing. When we exercise we flood our system with the feel-good hormones from our own internal pharmacy. Most people that run report that they do so more for their mental health and that the physical benefits of stronger muscles, a healthier heart, better sleep, blood pressure and blood sugar balancers are all just icing on the cake.
Running is natural, free and immediately accessible and along with being your birthright, it is also one of your key passports to a long and healthy life. Further considerations that Rachel will tell her clients are to simply create a program that is simple, achievable, modest and gradual and to also remember that progress is not a straight line and that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Rachel Stanley – Sports physiotherapist and founder of Run180

This article first appeared on