There are a bunch of random things on my mind right now. Lots of things I want to just share with you all about running and gadgets and just…stuff. But I think I would like to have a heart to heart with you about something that runners do very often. It’s a habit that some of us have picked up somewhere along the way and can be rather hard to shake at times…
I know that some of you reading this right now are guilty of this most heinous transgression. I’ve done it myself. Why…oh why…is it that a runner cannot simply rest when they need to? What is it about us that makes us want to push through the pain? I mean…I’ve met so many of my fellow runners over the years that have run through an injury only to make the injury even worse than it was to begin with. For the sake of running. Only to not be able to run…because of the injury.
Does that make sense?
Let me break it down for you. Running, just like any sport, can lead to injuries from time to time. Sometimes it’s a result of overtraining – going too hard too fast for too long. Other times it could be due to a lack of stretching or cross training to balance out your muscles. And then other times still it could simply be a result of an accident or something like that. Anyway you slice it, if you run, at some point in time you may experience some aches and pains that are different from the “oh my muscles have worked really hard” kinda aches and pains. Now when you start to get those…”SH!T that hurts!” kinda pain…or you notice that something isn’t quite right when you’re running or even after having finished a run…it’s time to investigate. Go to the doctor, or if you’re like me…google your symptoms and talk to some folks…then go to the doctor. But either way, don’t ignore the pain, and please…please don’t try to run through it. At least try to figure out what is wrong with you first!
I get that we all love to run and that sometimes a day without running feels kinda lackluster. I know what it’s like to want to run, but you physically just can’t because of the pain. I’ve been that person, driving through my neighborhood…looking longingly at those who are out there running while I know I have to sit on the sidelines as I recuperate. But I will say to you that it is better to sit it out temporarily, giving your body the rest it needs to properly heal…than to risk further injuring yourself by being stubborn (yes, STUBBORN) and going out for a run anyway when you know you shouldn’t be.
We’re all adults, so of course I fully expect that you will do whatever it is that you choose to do. But, if I may just offer my advice…from one runner to another…consider the long term effects versus the short term gratification from running while injured. My goal is to be able to run for years to come, so if that means that sometimes I have to sacrifice running for a few weeks to allow myself to properly heal, then that is something I must do. My hope for you is that you too will be around to run in the long term with me.
Here’s to running smart, strong, and healthy!
Some additional reading: Rethinking Running Health