Injury prevention Tips

We have done the lockdown, we’ve read the Government roadmap, we have all picked our favourite German soccer team and now we are ready to get back into sport. Or are we? 

Different sports have been affected in different ways

For the middle and long distance runners, unfortunately the Dublin City marathon has been cancelled but for many time at home has meant an increase in training mileage. As long as this has been increased gradually, all good. However up until recently, there has been no access to the track.

Cyclists ditto. Getting out on the road has been easier and miles registered on Zwift have increased.

Our Poor swimmers have had to completely change their training environment and training methods

For those involved in team or field sports, many have been pounding the pavements, doing 5km runs, 3km time trials, MAS runs, home weights and maybe some technical skills practice.

So no matter which way you look at it, everyone has had to make some modifications to how they train.

As facilities slowly reopen and in time as a competitive calendar starts to fill, the tendency is that we will all ramp up our training volume, increase our training intensity and change our training mode. This is where the problem lies.

Through international research, we know that the risk of injury increases with spikes in training load. For example during the first round of matches in the German Bundesliga following Covid 19 lockdown, there were 14 injuries over the weekend. Most of these were muscular injuries.

The Premier League are expecting a 25% increase in injury risks

So what can we do?

Simple. The best way to avoid injury is to slowly increase your training load and training intensity over a 4-6 week period. Do not try and chase fitness that you may have let drop over the lockdown, Do not go from running 5km on the road to sprinting on the pitch without sufficient time to allow your body adapt. Reduced your running volume for a few weeks when transitioning from the road to the track, similarly when transitioning from the turbo trainer to the road.

This is called Load Management as is the cornerstone of Injury prevention and injury management throughout the world and across all sports. Professional teams will use GPS to monitor training load, but we can equally use our watch or phone to monitor miles run or even steps per day. Similarly miles can be easily counted on the bike or in the pool. If we build up or volume and intensity step by step, then the chances of an injury occurring reduce significantly.

In short, allow you body time to adapt back to the normal demands for your sport in this abnormal time.


Johann Windt, Tim J Gabbett – How do training and competition workloads relate to injury? The workload injury aetiology model British Journal of Sports Medicine Mar 2017, 51 (5) 428-435; DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-096040

Torbjarn Soligard, Martin Schwellnus, Juan-Manuel Alonso, Roald Bahr, Ben Clarsen, H Paul Dijkstra, Tim Gabbett, Michael Gleeson, Martin Hagglund, Mark R Hutchinson, Christa Janse van Rensburg, Karim M Khan, Romain Meeusen, John W Orchard, Babette M Pluim, Martin Raftery, Richard Budgett, Lars Engebretsen – How much is too much? (Part 1) International Olympic Committee consensus statement on load in sport and risk of injury. British Journal of Sports Medicine Sep 2016, 50 (17) 1030-1041; DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-096581



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