Noakes' 10 Laws of Running Injuries: Law 7 and 8

Posted by James Greenwood | 9:00 AM | View Comments

Even when when running injury free, it is essential you remain sensitive to the feedback our bodies send us on an ongoing basis.

This will ensure you are constantly aware of any changes that might be occurring in the body and its various structures and systems, and make the necessary adjustments to facilitate them.

If you are injured, the seventh law of running injuries states that rest is seldom the most appropriate treatment.

Rest treats the symptoms of the injury for example reducing the inflammation, but does not address the underlying cause of the problem.

When you start running again, be prepared to have the same injury re-appear again.

We all know you love to run, and often runners, and athletes in general, ignore the advice and continue with the activity.

Without recommendations on how to work within the limits of the injury, the injury is often made worse.

Noakes recommends continuing running, but only to the point where discomfort is experienced, and then running should be halted. Obviously at this time, the treatment you are receiving, if effective, will be making it possible for you to run progressively further.

If the injury persists throughout the course of the treatment, there is a good chance the diagnosis is incorrect. If after 5 weeks of treatment, there is still no improvement, then more in depth investigation should be carried out as the running injury may well be the result of a less obvious injury, unrelated to running.

So whose advice should you listen to when you have an injury? There are a million arm chair experts, all well meaning with their advise, but in no way qualified to disseminate it.

Noakes' eighth law of running injuries is never accept as a final opinion the advice of a non-runner (doctor or otherwise).

Dr. Noakes offers us 4 simple guidelines with respect to this law:
  1. Always ensure your adviser is a runner. Only a runner has the insight and understanding of the world of running. This does not mean the advice is correct, but it will be more than likely more relevant.
  2. Your adviser must be able to discuss the follwoing factors, in detail the following factors that might have led to your injury:

    • Genetic factors
    • Environmental factors
    • Training factors

  3. If your adviser is unable to cure the injury, there must be a feeling of distress not only about the injury, but also regarding your inability to run. This shows an understanding of the emotional and psychological side of injury.
  4. You should not have to pay a fortune to get treatment in order to return to running.
Consider all the information you have gathered from all sources and take time to assess and analyze it for yourself, before taking action.

Next week we will finish the series by looking at why you should avoid getting operated on at all costs, and clear the misconception that running causes Osteoarthritis in previously uninjured runners.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.
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