Many people are turning up the heat on a training cycle for a fall race. It’s time to put the pedal to the metal and get down to business for many of us. Unfortunately training harder sometimes translates into injury.
If you’re a newer runner — or even a veteran runner that hasn’t been injured in a while — how do you know what aches and pains are par for the course and which ones need to be taken a bit more seriously? Check out what to do when injury strikes.
What To Do When Injury Strikes
Don’t run through pain.
If you’re running along and suddenly feel a pain or sensation you’ve never felt before, stop running. Pain and discomfort are usually signs that something is wrong. If it’s just a niggle or nag here and there — and if you’ve felt the sensation before — and know it’s not an injury, proceed with caution.
Alert your coach if something doesn’t feel right.
If you have a coach, alert them to any potential injury immediately. They can’t help you if they don’t know something’s bothering you. If you are injured and it’s caught early enough, you likely won’t miss much training time (if any at all). But the longer you wait before you speak up, the harder continuing to train will become. Your coach can help determine if you need to be seen by a medical professional or if RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) will do the trick.
Adjust your training schedule.
If you don’t have a coach, you’ll need to readjust your training schedule on your own. A good rule of thumb when dealing with an injury: if it hurts, STOP. If you can run one mile and you have two miles on your schedule but you feel pain at mile 1.25, call it early. There’s no sense in running through pain. Don’t be a hero.
Seek medical care.
If your coach has helped determine your injury won’t be cured by good old RICE treatment, get to a sports medicine doctor or a sports-specific chiropractor as soon as you can. A proper diagnosis will help your caregiver and your coach determine appropriate next steps. Perhaps pool running is in order, or stationary cycling. Or you might need time off your feet completely to heal properly. Without a diagnosis, injury can be difficult to treat. Your coach will likely have a small army of healthcare providers they can recommend if you don’t know one.
Stretch and strengthen.
Start physical therapy or complementary strengthening and stretching regimens as soon as possible. Ever hear this one? “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today”? It’s particularly applicable when dealing with injury prevention and correction. Trust me.
Wishing all of you training for summer and fall races all the strong and healthy running vibes I can muster. I trust all of you are diligent with your strengthening and stretching and will avoid injury through this training cycle. But if you find yourself in a bind, be sure to talk it over with your coach.
TALK TO ME!
Do you remember your first ever running-related injury? What was it and how did you treat it?