#182 The #1 Riskiest Running Activity - DOC

#182 The #1 Riskiest Running Activity

Today on the Doc On the Run Podcast, we’re talking about the #1 riskiest running activity.

Whenever you are training your goal is to get as close to your threshold for injury as possible without going over that line. 

When you are injured and trying to maintain your running fitness your goal is to increase your activity without dipping below your threshold for recovery. 

All of that is about risk management.  

The harder you train during your big build blocks just before a marathon, the more risk you will sustain an over training injury. Because that’s when you are using harder. 

The more activity you do when you are healing an injury, the more risk you will slow the healing process. Because you might stress the tissue too much. 

But some activities inherently have a lot more risk than other activities. 

All day I think about running injuries. When I run I think about running biomechanics. And all day long I talk to runners like you who have done something that was just a little too risky and sustained an over training injury.  

It may not surprise you that my personal training activities and the run courses I choose when I am training are specifically designed to help me build fitness while decreasing the risk of an over training injury. 

But just to be clear, I am, by nature a “risk taker.” So I’m not necessarily afraid of risk. 

One of the most popular running workouts that will help you build fitness is a series of hill repeats. I personally believe that doing hill repeats once a week is likely the most effective workout to build running specific fitness. I also personally believe that hill repeats are the number one riskiest running activity you can do. 

If you can stomach the risk and you want to become a strong runner you may want to do hill repeats. But make no mistake, it is risky. 

I do lots of other things that are risky, but I do not do hill repeats. 

When I do house calls around San Francisco to see runners I most often take a motorcycle. When I’m on my motorcycle I split lanes. If you don’t live in California you may be surprised to hear that driving a motorcycle between the cars on the freeway is actually completely and totally legal. But it is very risky.  

But I do not do hill repeats. 


I fly a paraglider. A paraglider is basically a parachute that flies in a similar way to hang glider. Because it is flexible it can easily fold up in mid air whenever you run into turbulence. If that happens the paraglider pilot drops out of the sky. Flying a paraglider is risky. 

But I do not do hill repeats. 

For a few years I race motorcycles professionally. I once crashed a motorcycle going 135 mph. Racing motorcycles is dangerous. 

But I do not do hill repeats. 

One famous rock climb in Yosemite National Park is called the Royal Arches. It’s an all day climbing route that is about a quarter of a mile high. One weekend when I was in medical school I climbed the Royal Arches alone, without a rope. Rock climbing without a rope for protection is risky. 

But I do not do hill repeats. 

I’m not suggesting you should get into an argument with your coach about doing hill repeats. Your coach’s job is to actually design workouts that put you as close to your threshold for injury as possible without you actually sustaining an over training injury. If your coach put hill repeats on your training plan, it’s probably been included in that session with a great deal of thought and consideration of that risk. 

But if you are designing your own training plan and you simply do hill repeats on a regular basis you may be putting yourself at unnecessary risk.  

Remember, the goal is to keep increasing your milage and intensity without the pain and injury creeping back in. You can really only do that if you are keeping track with a pain journal. 

To make things easy for you, we created the perfect Runners Pain Journal PDF for you. Download it now.…Its free.

To print out your copy of the pain journal, Download here:








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