Just 10 per cent more a week: how to avoid fun run injuries
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Just 10 per cent more a week: how to avoid fun run injuries

Perhaps unsurprisingly, sports podiatrist Ricky Lee says the most common injuries he sees from people training for a fun run come from those who go too hard, too fast without allowing their bodies to gradually improve.

"One of the things we see and why we see so many injuries in our clinic is because people go from running say a kilometre and then decide they want to run 10 kilometres and try and build it up in two weeks' time. They do a five or six kilometre run and then a eight or nine kilometre run and then they hurt themselves," Mr Lee said.

Ahead of the Canberra Times Fun Run on Sunday, September 23, Mr Lee is one of many training for the event.

Podiatrist Ricky Lee with his partner Jessica Pearson-Lee.

Podiatrist Ricky Lee with his partner Jessica Pearson-Lee.

Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

His advice to those who want to build up their running stamina is to choose gradual progress. It's hard to go from sweating after 500 metres to belting out a half marathon with a time to challenge local MP Andrew Leigh.

"One of the things we use is the rule of 10 per cent, so when people are starting to run you can only increase your load in 10 per cent a week and that reduces injury risk."

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The people he sees in his clinic, with everything from toe injuries to problems with their hips or back, often have needed to exercise some patience, as well as their legs.

"People go out, they get too excited and like any of us we get a bit frustrated by building up by 10 per cent a week and going up from that slow build. That is probably one of the biggest things we need to do [is slow down]," Mr Lee said.

It's not necessary to spend mega dollars on running shoes, podiatrist Ricky Lee says. He's pictured here with his partner Jessica Pearson-Lee.

It's not necessary to spend mega dollars on running shoes, podiatrist Ricky Lee says. He's pictured here with his partner Jessica Pearson-Lee.

Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

He also recommends running on both road and soft surfaces to help when increasing distance. When helping people increase their running abilities, a focus on technique and proper footwear is important.

In the most unexpected thing to be said by a podiatrist, it's not necessary to buy the most expensive shoes available to get the best experience, Mr Lee said. Barefoot running is also a fad that's not for everyone.

"Everyone is individual and everyone has a different make up and it's finding out what works best for you. There's no fast rule to these things, some people will be able to barefoot run and some people won't."

While he was once more of a cyclist than a runner, Mr Lee said he has been pounding the pavement as his preferred form of exercise because he can go for shorter runs more often than he would go for a long cycling session. His favourite place to run in Canberra is a little secret - the Mt Stromlo running track.

"That's a fantastic place to run, particularly for people getting in to running. It's a great spot, it offers a change in gradient, it offers that softer surface and it offers a really good run. There's options there, you can do a kilometre run if you want to, you can do an extra 500 metres on to it and you can build it up over time."

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