A recent study investigating the training related risk factors of overuse injuries in 446 of Finland's top male and female endurance athletes (swimmers, cross-country skiers and long distance runners) found some interesting results.
It was been found that athletes who had less than two recovery days per week were 5 times more likely to get an overuse injury compared to those who had more recovery.
In the same study it was also found that those athletes who trained for more than 700 hours during the year (~13.5 hours per week on average) where 2 time more likely to sustain an overuse injury compared to those who trained less.
Now most people know how important sleep is for recovery in general, but not many people give it a though when thinking about injury prevention. However, it looks like sleep is an important risk factor in managing and preventing injures.
An interesting study on adolescent athletes showed that those athletes who slept for less than 8 hours per night on average were 2 times more likely to sustain an injury than those who sleep more than 8 hours.
Take away message: What can we learn from this research?
While the findings from these two research papers are associations and not causation they do support the importance of proper planning and periodsation of your training.
Not just training more but training more effectively, making sure you carefully balance your training and recovery.
When planning your overall season/build up make sure you take into consideration not only your training but also the factors that support your training such as recovery, nutrition and psychology.
Chronic Lack of Sleep is Associated With Increased Sports Injuries in Adolescent Athletes. Milewsi et al. in J Pediatr Orthop, 2014
Training-related risk factors in the etiology of overuse injuries in endurance sports. Ristolainen et al. J Sports Med Phys Fitness, 2014