Plan your next race

It's a familiar scenario: You're perusing the Sunday paper and see there's a race in just a few weeks. Fun! You check your schedule ... you're free! You grab your laptop, and within moments, you're registered. There's just one thing you didn't consider: Will you have enough time to train?

"No matter how fit you already are, it's important to increase your training by no more than 10 percent per week," said David Geier, M.D., an assistant professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina. "Your skeleton simply cannot withstand much more than that and exceeding it will increase your risk of stress reactions and fractures."

For this reason, Geier recommends taking 10 minutes to plot out your next six months' worth of races and games, making sure you have enough time to follow the 10-percent rule before each one.

"The rule doesn't just apply to marathon runners and cyclists, it's also true for people who play sports like soccer, tennis, basketball, or lacrosse," Geier said. For example, soccer players run as much as 15 miles per game, so you want to be up to par months before the season starts.

"At the end of the day, this injury-prevention tool is just as crucial as the cross-training, rest, and other measures you already do," Geier said.

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