the Inside Run – 2017 vol. 8

Front Runner Sports are pleased to present a practical, monthly summary of recent research relevant to distance runners. Our expert team will pick their highlights from the previous month to give YOU The Inside Run on how new and practical research can assist you to beat YOUR best. Please see our summary below!


1.     An Examination of the Training Profiles and Injuries in Elite Youth Track and Field Athletes

Despite the establishment of youth elite programmes for promising Australian Track & Field athletes, dropout, forced retirements and injury rates remain high in this population. With no clearly defined parameters for appropriate training volumes, training intensities or competition schedules for youth athletes, this study sought to examine the training profiles of, and injuries suffered by, elite youth track and field athletes between the ages 13 and 17 years. The key finding was a significant relationship between forced retirement and the athlete having sustained an overuse injury in their youth. Therefore the author’s suggestion is that monitoring by coaches and athletes of training loads, including intensity and the number of hard sessions completed each week, be prioritised to minimise injuries sustained by 13–16 year old athletes.

Read the paper HERE


2.     Can Runners Perceive Changes in Heel Cushioning as the Shoe Ages with Increased Mileage?

 Have you wondered how many km’s of running it is realistic to get out of your volume trainers? For runners with a rear foot strike pattern (~95%), the durability of your shoes midsole (cushioning) under the heel has been shown to deteriorate as shoe mileage increases. As a running shoe’s cushioning has a functional lifespan. This study investigated this question and found two interesting results. Firstly that rear foot strike runners will have a 16% to 33% reduction in the amount of cushioning in the heel region of the midsole after running 480 km. Secondly that despite a significant reduction in heel cushioning, the experienced recreational runners in this study were not able to self-perceive these changes after running 640 km. Therefore, objective measures such as km counts on GPS platforms and training diary’s may be an effective way to monitor your shoes lifespan, rather than going on purely how it feels under your foot when running.

Read the paper HERE


  1. Running Injury Development: The Attitudes of Middle and Long-Distance Runners and their Coaches

 Training load errors (e.g. building up volume too quick, having too much of your training volume at a high intensity, not having enough recovery between sessions etc.) are the primary risk factor for running related overuse injuries in runners. Given coaches are in charge of the training prescription and monitoring (load management) of their athlete’s, the attitudes amongst runners and their coaches regarding factors leading to running injuries warrants formal investigation.

The results of this study on Danish Athletics Clubs showed that both runners and their coaches emphasise ignoring pain as the primary factor associated with injury development. This reinforces the need for coaches to have effective communication and load monitoring tools with their athletes to receive both objective (e.g. training loads & pain scores) and subjective (training diaries and verbal communication at training) feedback to ensure their risk of developing an overuse injuries is reduced.

Read the paper HERE


4.     Strength and Conditioning Habits of Competitive Distance Runners

Targeted strength and conditioning (S&C) programmes can potentially improve performance and reduce injury risk factors in competitive runners (at Front Runner, we believe the single best thing you can do for your running, aside from running itself, is some form of personally prescribed strength work). This study aimed to explore S&C practices of competitive middle and long-distance runners and examined whether reported frequency of injuries were influenced by training behaviours.

The study found the following results:

  • The primary motivation for distance runners to engage in S&C activities was to lower risk of injury (63.1%) and improve performance (53.8%)
  • The most common activities utilised were stretching (86.2%) and core stability exercises (70.2%) – not traditional strength training
  • Resistance training (RT) and plyometric training (PT) were used by 62.5% and 35.1% of runners respectively
  • Junior (under-20) runners included PT, running drills and circuit training more so than masters runners (>35y)
  • Significantly more international standard runners engaged in RT, PT and fundamental movement skills training compared to competitive club runners (likely a combination of more time, more motivation and access to professionals)
  • Middle-distance (800 m-3000 m) specialists were more likely to include RT, PT, running drills, circuit training and barefoot exercises in their programme than longer-distance runners

Injury frequency was associated with typical weekly running volume and run frequency, however S&C (in general) did not appear to confer a protection against the number of injuries runners experienced. This reinforces two important principles for distance runners; firstly that monitoring training load errors (the number one risk factor for running related injuries) should be the primary focus of reducing risk of injury and that the focus of strength training interventions may need to shift more towards tailored resistance training to ensure a protective element against injury in distance runners.

Read the article HERE


  1. The Pathway to the Top: Key factors and Influences in the Development of Australian Olympic and World Championship Track and Field Athletes

Understanding the development and long-term sustainability of an elite sporting career has become an important pursuit worldwide. This study aimed to understand the major influences contributing to their development and success. A Track and Field Athlete Development questionnaire was used to collect data from 73 Olympic and World Championship level athletes. The results demonstrated the key influencing factors during development included later specialization, involvement in other sports during adolescence and strong social support. In addition, growing up in a major city and completing a University degree were also common features.

Read the article HERE


Running Regards,

Team Front Runner