Where does it hurt?
Interestingly enough, the part of your body most at risk of injury seems to depend on your preferred race distance. Marathon runners most often suffer from foot problems, middle-distance runners specialise in back and hip maladies, and sprinters prefer to tear apart their hamstrings.
If you're a distance runner, you may be happy to know that sprinters have about double the injury rate per hour of actual training, compared to distance athletes. You may not be aware that spring and summer are the 'high seasons' for injuries, and your best direct injury predictor may be the number of miles you ran last month. This means that if May is a high-mileage month, watch out in June - your body is apparently poised for a breakdown (American Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 15(2), pp. 168-171, 1987)
The actual injury rate per hour of running varies from study to study, but a reasonable guess is that the real rate is about one injury per 150-200 hours of running ('Prevention of Running Injuries by Warm-Up, Cool-Down, and Stretching Exercises,' The American Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 21(5), pp. 711-719, 1993). Of course, that means that total training mileage is an excellent predictor of injury: the more miles you accrue per week, the more time you spend running and the higher your risk of damage.
'Injury risk is linked with inexperience; individuals who had been training for less than three years were more likely to get hurt'
Not surprisingly, one recent investigation found a significant upswing in injury risk above about 40 miles of training per week. This same study reinforced the idea that injury risk is linked with inexperience; individuals who had been training for less than three years were more likely to sustain injuries, compared with runners who had been involved in the sport for longer periods of time (Archives of Internal Medicine, vol. 149(11), pp. 2565-2568, 1989). Although that observation seems to contradict the idea that total hours of running are a good predictor of injury (since veteran runners tend to have more total hours), the research probably means that newcomers to the sport have a particularly hard time handling large increases in training volume.
~excerpts from www.sportsinjurybulletin.com
article by Owen Anderson