Running injuries don’t usually come on like a mack truck. They usually start out small. Quiet, like a whisper. You may feel a twinge, a tingle, a dull ache or stiffness. Sometimes they work themselves out or are resolved with some extra stretching or by implementing a solid warm up and cool down. A pack of ice on the affected area or some Ibuprofen can also help. Maybe one day off. Or two. But after that it’s back to the run.
If the problem returns or intensifies, the next step is a trip to the Google search box. Typing “calf tightness”, “Plantar Fasciitis cures”, “my knee hurts when I run” will yield a variety of resources for an injured runner. Foam rollers are purchased, yoga mats pulled out of the closet and the rehab gets cracking.
Here’s where runners get skewed. Now trust me, I’m a big fan of remedies. Having my fair share of pulls, strains, aches and pains I get it. But sometimes one needs to just a break. An unapologetic, unabashed, body-restoring running break. For at minimum one week, better yet, 2 or 3.
Sure you may lose some running fitness. There, I’ve said it.
But what happens when you “run through” an injury is that not only can you do more damage to the affected area, but your super-smart body, will compensate for the hitch in your giddyap. Yay, right? Wrong.
Muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints work together. If one area is compromised it will affect the entire mechanism. Which will lead to further problems.
So I propose that if you are hurting, you take a break. Stretch. Roll. Hydrate. Swim. Spin. Get massages. Elevate. Do yoga. Address Mobility. Work on strength. And most importantly do something other than running.
After 2 weeks start back up. Slowly. Walk first to warm up then add some running segments. Move to softer surfaces such as a trail or track. Start slow. Increase time gradually.
Let’s take care of our bodies so we can do what we love.
Now go run!
PS – You all know that if you have heard a pop, felt a snap or are in continuous or chronic pain you should get to a doctor ASAP, right? Ok, just checking.