Monday, February 7, 2011

EricG's Running Tips #6 That $%#& Hurts! What Now?

According to this article in Healthy Living which my wife brought to my attention the five most common running injuries are, Ilotibial Band Syndrome, Shin Splints,  Runner's Knee (patellofemoral pain syndrome), Achilles Tendinitis and Plantar Faciitis.  If that's so then why the hell do I always have trouble with my hamstring.  Anyway, the point is we all suffer through different injuries at one time or another and I know when I am not feeling near or at my best I often struggle with the decision to run, rest or cross train.  As runners and maybe even more so for ultra runners we have trained ourselves to push through anything.  So it makes sense that if we are feeling pain just push through it during training too and it will eventually go away right?    I have never applied much science to my running.  I have learned what tends to work for me (always subject to change) through trial and error but by no means do I suggest this for all.

I feel like I have become overly sensitive to things going on with my body, or rather more in tune.  Therefore I feel every little annoying tweak or twinge. Yes I know you should stop if you are injured but how do you know without going to a doctor, which I try to avoid at all costs (probably because I know they will tell me to stop running).

So what I do is take note of those little aches as they arise and if they improve, stay constant or get worse throughout a run.  Its not the obvious injuries that are the problem.  If I am hurt so bad that running is extremely painful or seems impossible I stop.  But what if its just super annoying.  My hamstring is a perfect example.  It has had this constant dull feeling for a couple weeks now.  Almost like its on the verge of bad but I figured I would keep running and just take it easy.  If I don't stress it out it will heal while I am running.  WRONG!  It has not gotten better or worse but it is preventing me from training the way I want to be.  So I wasted 2 weeks with mediocre training and have now remanded myself to the gym this week.

Of course I always suggest, although I never do it, unless I am in real pain seeking the advice of a doctor.  I guess my message here is if you think its an injury it probably is and you are better off taking care of it now rather than trying to run through it. In the end pushing through could result in poor training which will lead to the rest you should have taken in the first place, or worse.  You could end up injuring yourself long term.  Imagine weeks or months without running!  Talk about painful.

On another note the article referenced above has suggestions for exercises to prevent the "5 most common running injuries".  Enjoy



  1. Eric I've had hammy issues too. Several years ago I went to a physical therapist who gave me some stretches that have worked wonders.

  2. Hey Will, If there is a way to learn those stretches without going to PT let me know. E

  3. Hi Eric,
    Remember, I AM a Physiotherapist who does sports physio/orthopaedics and is a runner. Email me if you have any questions. Firstly, if the ham's are tight you need to do LONG hold stretches ie) leg up on a door jam, hold 3-4 mins. Second, hamstring overuse (a hip extensor) is often secondary to weakness of other hip extensors (ie. glutes).

    Finally, I like to consider those first twinges of pain as your 'friends' - telling you to stretch/strengthen/work on your core ( or whatever you are missing-) BEFORE those twinges turn into injuries.
    Wish I could see you on the trails- but I'm on the other side of the country. : )

  4. I'm with you. Push through injuries unless they are well beyond the normal threshold of pain. We have to balance that feeling of overcoming and persevering with coherent thinking and common sense.

  5. Thanks Heather I will shoot you an email.

    Jake, The common sense part is easy. The tough part is determining when annoying is actaully serious. Come to think of it the whole process is annoying. I wonder if that is an injury too:) E

  6. Well, I'm right there with you brother. I've decided to rest my knee another week. Sure, it puts my training behind a little, but the rest will allow me to get back on it full bore instead of half a$$...

    Great tip...and great responses!


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