As you are training, you begin to develop pain when you run. You become concerned and ask around to your running friends. You find out many of your running buddies experience the same thing. You find that it actually seems to be an anomaly to have someone in your group who is not experiencing pain somewhere. This must mean experiencing pain when running is totally normal, right? WRONG!!!
Despite what others may lead you to believe, pain with running is NOT normal!
Yes, statistics show that over 80% of runners will experiencing injuries at some point in their running career and that many of them are chronic injuries. That still does not mean pain and running injuries are normal. Pain is NEVER normal to experience in the body. In fact, it is 100% NOT NORMAL to experience pain with training.
Because runners think experiencing pain is normal, they ignore the injuries, run through the injuries, and mask the injuries with medications. Eventually, the injury that began very basic and simple becomes complex and severe. Over time, the runner is shut down from being able to train or race because of it – sometimes for a week, sometimes for months, sometimes for years!
I get it, though. With regular training and racing, muscle soreness and occasional aches are normal to experience. That is just part of what happens with normal training. So how exactly do you decipher whether what you are feeling is a normal soreness or whether it is a pain you need to be concerned about?
There are several things to look at when determining what you are feeling…
How intense is the pain? Do you need to mask it with medication?
In most cases (not all), the sharper and stronger the pain is, the more attention you need to give it. Muscle soreness generally shows up more as an ache and discomfort that can linger for several days. Often, this soreness decreases as you start your run or workout the next day. Injury pain is typically sharper and stronger and gets worse with your workout the next day.
If you ever need to take ibuprofen or some other pain medication in order to cover up the discomfort and allow you to train, in my mind this is an immediate sign you are dealing with something that needs attention.
How long does it last?
Two directions need to be explored here…
During activity: Do you experience pain with the movement/activity and then once you are done the pain goes away? Or does the pain stick around and linger for several hours. The more the pain lingers, the more you need to be looking into what is going on. It doesn’t mean to totally ignore the pain that goes away immediately, as you should still keep an eye on that, but it is not as concerning of a pain.
After activity: The important thing to look at here is does it calm down with time? If you rest a day or two, does the pain decrease and go away? And if it goes away, does it stay away when you return to activity? At times, rest can clear up issues. Other times, it does not. If you rest a couple days and the pain resolves and does not return when you resume training, great! Problem solved! If the pain returns, you know you are dealing with a potential injury that needs attention.
Are you compensating?
The body will often compensate to allow you to function with as little pain as possible. If you find yourself compensating due to a pain you are experiencing, that is a sign of an injury you need to get looked at. Not sure if you are compensating? Have someone watch you run. If something looks off to them, something is likely off.
Where is the pain?
When you are feeling pain directly on the bone, that is always a sign to stop. Bone pain is a strong indicator of a stress reaction and/or stress fracture. Continuing to train through that will lead to more severe circumstances.
Can you calm it down?
Self-treating injuries for a period of time is 100% OK. Many aches our body feels are normal and just need some gentle care. If you stretch, roll, massage, etc. the area and the symptoms calm down AND stay away, great! It was just a muscle soreness that needed to be worked out.
With injuries, I often see one of two cycles: 1) the pain calms down, only to return on the next run, or 2) you have to stretch/roll/massage before each run just to be able to run.
Which scenarios can you relate to? Want help to break out of your pain cycle? Let’s chat! Schedule a call with me to see what can be done to get you back to training and racing again! https://ocrtrainingsystem.mykajabi.com/booking-page-2
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