I have never had an injury in over 20 years of running...great track record I know...but I have had plenty of aches, pains and niggles…all of which I have recovered from and have never kept me out of running for more than a week.
My sore knee this week put me in mind for a tip that you may want to follow if you have any aches, pain or niggles that crop up whilst running.
The first thing I think of if I have aches or pains in my feet or legs is how old are my shoes, and usually when I think it is time to get fitted for a new pair, it is time..That is not always the case, but if your shoes are over 6 months old and you run 3 or 4 times a week, it may be the problem.
If I’m running and a pain or twinge starts I don’t usually stop, I may slow down a bit and I may turn back and shorten my run, but I usually run home..if the pain was sharp and strong...I would stop
Once home I grab an icepack, they are always in my freezer and you should have one in yours, or a bag of frozen peas is just as good...10 mins on ...10 mins off .Just have it on when you are sitting, eating or driving to work etc. I also take a couple of Voltaren, if it is inflammation it will settle it down.
Now this is the important thing, I probably wont go out again for at least 2 days, no matter what my training schedule is like I just cancel all running for a couple of days. You will always catch up and it’s best to stay off it, cross your fingers and wait.
When I do go back out again, like I did this week with my new shoes I closely monitored the niggle. I kept an eye on when it started up again, in this case 5km in...and how severe it was, in this case not too bad. Once home... ice on and off, I didn’t take anymore voltaren as I thought it wasn’t bad enough, I save the voltaren for really special niggles!!
I then had another two days off and tried it out on a long run, once again monitoring it when it chipped in and how severe, in this case a 15km run, it started at 5km but never got unbearable, was not so good going up and down hills but Ok on the flat. Ice again off and on, mainly in the car the next morning driving to Brisbane. Another two days off it, then a run through the National park on a very soft surface, never even felt a twinge, so obviously it’s the pounding on the road that aggravates it.
The big test next long run, 20km in Coolum, going well 15km in it starting niggling, but I only had 5km to go and I was happy with that, home to ice on... ice off again, obviously that is working for me.
Next test will be 20km on Monday
As you an see I have given myself a week or more to sort out the pain in my knee, I’ve tried changing thing (shoes, surfaces) I’ve tried first aid (ice and rest) , I have tried medication (Voltaren) and I know that treatment is working. I will just test if over the next week doing the same thing and hopefully the niggle is gone..it wasn’t an injury but it was brought on by my running.
I think all runners should spend at least a week on sorting out their pain themselves, with first aid, rest, changing some things about their running etc. Often the pain is from inflammation, over doing it, running on tough courses, running every day etc.
If you have a pain whilst or after running, here is a checklist you should ask yourself
How old are my shoes? Over 6 months, get a new pair
Have I increased my distances by too much? You should only increase by 10% each time
Am I running every day? You should never run everyday, I believe your legs need 24 hours at least to recover. Swim, walk, cycle if you want to exercise everyday
Am I running on too hard a surface or course? Get off the concrete, take out the hills, train on a flat course
Am I out there too long? Decrease your distances
Ok…you have done all that...pain is still there or worse.
The first point of call is your doctor...he will have a look, order any tests or x rays and he will recommend a treatment or another health professional to see… another good health professional for runners is a Podiatrist, they are great with running injuries and usually find a way to get you back running quicker and pain free
Don’t get me wrong…your niggle may be an injury or turn into one, but if you follow my guidelines first you will soon know if that is the case...I have other tips on injuries that you should check out if you are unsure...