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Injury Prevention

Injuries are the pits, which is why Dayton Track Club teamed up with Stance Physical Therapy to share weight training recommendations that'll keep you running long and strong regardless if you're a beginner or elite!


Common running injuries (e.g. plantar fasciitis, Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome, shin splints, stress fractures, Achilles tendonitis, etc.) are a result of (constant) tissue/bone demands exceeding tissue/bone capacity. The forces applied during running/walking are actually low (compared to jumping/bounding or power sports), but they compound overtime, fatiguing muscle, straining tendons, and weakening bone (--> injury). While running form, training adjustments (adding miles or speed work), and changing shoes can vary the distribution of force, their preventive benefits in terms of bone and tissue health are limited. To establish a body that can withstand the ongoing demands of the sport, training must include cross-training, rest, and weight training.


Cross-training includes any physical activity EXCEPT for running. Most of these activities are either partial-weight bearing (PWB) and non-weight bearing (NWB). Partial-weight bearing activities (e.g., elliptical, stair-climber, gliders) offer exercise variety, but still elicit some (small) degree of bone stress. Non-weight bearing activities (e.g., swimming, biking, rowing), conversely, place no demands on bone. However, BOTH options still tax soft tissues (i.e., muscles, tendons).

Thus, cross-training at higher intensities can allow beginners, rehabbing athletes, and/or runners ramping up training to improve cardiovascular fitness without the added impact forces. For recovery, sprinkling in various forms of cross-training at low intensities can accommodate recovery between harder/longer running efforts.


Running, as mentioned, involves repeated bouts muscle contraction which is why complete REST is occasionally necessary. Cross-training instead of taking the day off is like "just going to the store" when your car tires are worn--it's not a complete recovery. Now, the frequency of these SCHEDULED rest days will vary with each runner, but EVERYONE needs at least one day of complete R & R.

Weight Training

Before diving in, keep in mind that weight training for injury prevention is different that weight training for performance. Routines for performance would focus on increasing speed, power, and the amount of weight one could lift--an entirely different discussion. Whereas, weight training for injury prevention is designed to improve muscle size, tissue strength, and bone integrity.

Current recommendations for injury prevention include:

- 6-8 sets per muscle group per workout

- 10-20 sets per muscle group per week

- 8-10 reps per set (should NOT be able to do more than 12 reps per set)

- 2:00 rest between sets (and should need every second of it)

- At least 48 hours between workouts

Sample Routine:

Day One : 8-12 reps x 3 sets per exercise

Day Two : 8-12 reps x 3 sets per exercise

Quad: Leg Press

Quad: Front Squat

Quad: Barbell Lunge

Quad: Bulgarian Split Squat

Hamstring: Trap-bar Deadlift

Hamstring: Romanian Deadlift

Hamstring: Roman Chair

Hamstring: Roman Chair

Standing Calf Raise

Standing Calf Raise

Seated Calf Raise

Seated Calf Raise

Weighted Hip Thruster

Weighted Hip Thruster

= 12 sets per muscle group per week (6 sets per workout for quads, hamstrings, calves)


With anything training, there will be outliers. This article is meant to provide general recommendations for most (but not all) situations. For specific questions, reach out to a professional (like Dr. Ethan) or let us help connect you!

About the Author:

Dr. Ethan M. Sullivan graduated with honors from Cedarville University in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Allied Health, where he also competed in the NCAA as a collegiate distance runner in cross country and indoor/outdoor track. In 2018 he was named the Division II All-Ohio Champion, 1st Team All-GMAC, NCAA Div. II Midwest Region All-Region Cross Country Team, and the All-Academic American Men’s Cross Country Team. In the fall of 2019, he was accepted into the University of Dayton Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. While at UD, he blended his passions of running and physical therapy to begin specialization of lower extremity & foot/ankle biomechanics and orthotic customization. He completed an independent study titled, “Integrating Video Analysis and PT Treatment to Improve Running Economy” and took great interest in Conventional/Olympic weightlifting mechanics/analysis to further his specialization in sport performance. In the Spring of 2022, he completed his clinical doctorate at the University of Dayton and was awarded the “Outstanding Performance in Scholarship Award of Student Research”.

Following the culmination of his 12-week Elective Clinical at Stance, Ethan joined the Stance PT team in the spring of 2022, where he would continue molding his passions of manual therapy, sport performance, and orthotics. On a personal-level, Ethan is a Marvel fanatic and goes to the theater with his wife, Elly, for every movie premier. He is an avid weightlifter, runner, and cyclist with hopes of attempting a half or full ironman in the future. He enjoys playing piano in his free time and is a huge NBA/LeBron fan. He orders seafood for every special occasion and was originally born in Portsmouth, Virginia, although he was raised in Springfield, Ohio.

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