To run or not to run…
No poems or tales of adventure this week – just a question. If you are training for an upcoming event (of any distance) and you have picked up an injury – should you try and carry on training – or should you rest up and let the injury heal?
Firstly, perhaps we should consider what type of injury you might have (please bear in mind that this isn’t a complete list – and it’s not a bucket list either – so you don’t have to try and tick off what you think you might have!!).
The seven most common running injuries are:
- Runners Knee
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Hamstring Issues
- Plantar Fasciitis
- IT Band issues
- Stress Fracture
The damage and pain caused by each of these can differ – and for each injury type, typically there is a ‘spectrum’ of pain – which could range from mild discomfort (perhaps after your run rather than whilst you train) through to being so painful you have to stop during a run.
A more complete description of each of these most common injuries can be found at: http://www.runnersworld.com/health/the-seven-most-common-running-injuries
The link gives more detail on each injury type, if you’re likely to be at risk, should/could you carry on running, rehab and future prevention.
So – the question remains un-answered so far – if you have picked up an injury – should you carry on with training.
Well – in addition to thinking about how your injury feels, you would need to consider what type of event you are building up to – and how much training you have ‘in the bank’ already.
As its now coming into spring many of us are building up to runs, from possibly our first 5km – up to marathons and beyond. If, to date, training has gone well – and your event is only a few weeks away, then my suggestion would be to rest your injury if possible – by now you should have completed the training needed – and you’re not likely to gain any extra fitness between now and the race. This is one of the reasons that typical training programmes include a ‘Taper’ – this is where the last week or two before a long race, you let you have some recovery time – to allow your body the chance to repair itself.
If the event you are building towards is a little further off – and your niggle or injury isn’t too bad – it might be worth trying to continue training to see how it feels – it could be something that resolves itself – but if not, then don’t be afraid to reduce your mileage.
As you become more experienced, and run the same race distance over and over, you will get to know your body better, and know what niggles are ‘normal’ and what is really an issue.
At the end of the day it’s your body – and you are the only one who knows how it normally feels – and how it feels if you are injured. And then you need to ask yourself – will it really make that much difference if I skip this 6 mile training run and rest up – or will that be the difference to achieving the goal that you have set yourself?
Remember – if you’re not sure, then get yourself checked – there are plenty of sports physios in Leighton Buzzard, and if you ask at the club or on Facebook many club members will recommend who to see – or if you think its more serious then get the opinion of a medical expert.
Finally, stretching after you run (not before) is also something that can be beneficial to prevent injuries – if you don’t stretch but want to learn what is best, then either ask me (Coach Warby), or Club Captain Rob Laughton – or ask your run leader on a club night.