Former American steeplechaser turned trail-elite Allie Ostrander shared her tips for runners to avoid injuries on social media recently, telling fans to consider it her “formal petition against running-related injuries.”
Ostrander announced her shift from track to trail in Feb. 2023 (along with her partnership with ultrarunning GOAT Kilian Jornet‘s brand NNormal) and is also a mental health and eating disorder awareness advocate.
Originally from Kenai, Alaska, Ostrander had a very successful NCAA career with Boise State University in Idaho, winning three straight NCAA titles in the 3,000m steeplechase. Her tips on avoiding injuries are excellent ones for all runners, whether they run on track, trail or roads.
Here are Ostrander’s suggestions, along with some ideas to get you started.
View this post on Instagram
Run more uphill miles
“Uphill running is lower impact and higher output, so you work harder,” shared Ostrander, “but it puts less stress on your bones.” She suggests running on the treadmill at a 3–5 percent grade, running up a long hill and getting a ride down, or doing hill repeats and walking downhill between reps.
Try: this easy hill workout.
Replace easy miles with cross training
“You don’t have to replace every easy run with a bike sesh because, let’s be honest, running is way more fun, but cross-training can be a great tool to get in some aerobic training without the impact,” Ostrander says. She suggests replacing 1–2 runs a week with a cross-training session and explains that she uses the formula of 10min of XT=1 mile running.
Try: a standing bike workout.
Don’t be afraid to strength train, lift heavy, and build muscle
Building muscle will make you a stronger runner, and you’ll be better equipped to power through hard training. “It can also correct imbalances and improve running economy,” says Ostrander.
“Being in an energy deficit increases injury risk and decreases adaptation to training,” explains Ostrander. She recommends focusing on consistently giving your body the energy it needs.
Rest days are important
“Rest allows your body to absorb all the training,” Ostrander says. “Don’t wait until you feel overly tired or have some sort of pain to give yourself a day off.” It can be challenging to really allow ourselves to take the time off we need, and Ostrander suggests scheduling rest days into your training plan to keep it as much a priority as hard training.
Try: recovery day yoga to relax and unwind.