Injury Prevention

Injury prevention requires a multi-modal (MANY facto approach since injury can result from musculoskeletal, training, physiologic, mental and nutritional factors. Here in Ottawa our clinic aids with injury prevention!


  • Ensure that the major joints and the muscles that cross those joints are as mobile as you can make This means more than just flexibility, it means that you should be strong and in control through the entire joint range of motion. For example, you may have access to the full range of motion of your abdominals/lower back/hips/knees/feet but if this area is poorly conditioned, they may not be able tolerate the demands of running and their full range is not available for use.
  • Important areas: Lower back, Hips, knees, feet, abdominals, Thoracic spine, shoulder girdle, latissimus dorsi

Musculoskeletal Conditioning:

  • Work on all aspects of muscle conditioning. Make sure you become stronger and more powerful while also ensuring you have the muscular endurance for your event(s). As you fatigue, the risk of your technique deteriorating increases as well as the risk of injury. Remember to respect the different energy systems that you use (anaerobic / aerobic).
  • Break your important movements into their components and be sure to spend more time on the weak or easily fatigable ones. For example, chronic low back stiffness and pain requires further investigation into at least the health of the core, glutes and back extensors and thus demands that you work on those components outside of your general strengthening or conditioning program.
  • Important areas: Obliques, back extensors, front and back of hips, knees and feet!


  • Good technique allows you to be efficient and access to a strong base on which you can perform. Re-evaluate your technique periodically and work on the basics regularly to keep your running efficient and lower the risk of injury.

Energy Systems:

  • Different athletes have different strengths and an athlete’s ability to access the aerobic and anaerobic systems is no different. Be sure to put in extra time with those systems that you need to improve so that your form doesn’t suffer during usual training or during a competition so that you lower the risk of injury.

Mental Stress:

  • Stress about competition or outside sources can lead to unwanted increased muscle tension or act as a distraction. Both can indirectly lead to injury. Minimize stress by being prepared, establishing a routine before any competition and using thought redirection strategies like mental imagery to help maintain focus.

Existing Injuries:

  • Manage existing injuries appropriately and in a timely fashion. Even minor injuries can cause a significant negative effect on your performance or they can progress quickly, taking you out of Work with a healthcare professional that has experience rehabilitating and training high level athletes as well as a passion for sports performance.


  • Managing recovery from aerobic (longer distances) and anaerobic (under 2 minutes) activity is different and should be approached differently from both an active and rest approach. For example, clearing the lactate accumulated by a shorter, intense race should be a priority during a break to ensure that its effect doesn’t spill over into subsequent races regardless of which energy system they demand. In this example, choosing a low intensity, longer duration exercise after a race will help clear the accumulated lactate and help to restore energy levels.

Dynamic and Static Warm-up or stretching:

  • A dynamic or active warm down helps to manage metabolic products of your activity as well as ramping down your nervous system to help you recover well. This would be especially helpful when several races are scheduled for one day, helping you get ready to perform at a higher level Static stretching tends to be frowned upon prior to a competitive performance; however, it would be useful to remove unwanted tension or stiffness from specific areas or muscles that may interfere with your performance.

Proper Nutrition and Hydration:

  • Proper nutrition and hydration are important for recovery and to avoid injury. Choosing the right foods is good for preparation and recovery to ensure you perform well and refuel your body Ignoring this could mean that the resulting fatigue and cramping could affect technique or lead to injury.

Before Exercise:  Try to Eat 1-4 hours prior to event

  • Satiated not stuffed
  • Fiber and fat are foes
  • Include: Protein + Carbohydrate

Meals: 3-4 hours before (Low Glycemic Carbohydrate + Lean Protein + Vegetable/Fruit)

  • whole grain cereal or oatmeal with low fat milk + berries
  • whole wheat toast or bagel + nut butter + banana (or other fruit)
  • brown rice + shrimp/chicken/beef + vegetables
  • whole wheat tortilla + chicken + tomatoes/cucumbers/lettuce

Snacks: 1-2 Hours before: Moderate Glycemic Carbohydrate + Lean Protein

Try: whole wheat toast or English Muffin with low fat cheese, yogurt with fruit: apple or banana, soy beverage, Smoothie: milk beverage + fruit, 30 grams whole wheat crackers + hummus, Pre-workout beverage (75 grams of carbohydrates)

After Exercise: Eat within 30 minutes:  At least 20 grams protein and medium glycemic index carbohydrate and Some fat (avocado, oils)

Try:  A Breast of chicken, beef, 2 eggs + whole wheat toast + fruit, Greek Yogurt + Berries, Smoothie: Protein Powder or Tofu + Fruit, or Whole grain pita + Tuna + Light Mayo, Roasted Chickpeas + Dried Fruit

Low glycemic index: carbohydrates -Protein, Vegetables/Fruit

Try: Quinoa + Grilled Fish + Vegetables, Sweet Potato + Chicken + Vegetables, Omelet (2-3 eggs) + Vegetables + Whole Grain Toast

Glycemic Index  
Chickpeas, lentils, baked beans, soy beans, bran breakfast cereals, whole grain/whole wheat bread, pumpernickel bread, barley, bulgar, pasta, parboiled or converted rice, sweet potato, yam, milk, yogurt, most fruit Low
Dried fruit, oatmeal, quick oats, couscous, brown rice, basmati rice, whole wheat bread, rye bread, pita bread. Medium
Soda crackers (white), rice cakes, russet potato (no skin), short grain rice, rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, white bread, white roll, sports drink, watermelon High
lean protein sources: low fat cheese, hummus, Greek yogurt, chicken, turkey, fish, seafood, milk, eggs, beans, lentils, tofu, soy products, fortified soy beverages, protein powders Have after a run within 20 minutes!


4 hours before: 1 to 2 cups

2 hours or less: 1/2 cup to 1.5 cups

During: Sip fluid during your activity

– 1 pint per pound of weight change

– If no weight change: drink according to thirst

Sports Drinks?

Choose sports drink if…

– exercising intensely longer than 60 minutes

– exercising in a hot or humid climate

–                  Drink with water to dilute

  • Make a sports drink with coconut water!

–                  Have gels as well!