When to know when to give your body a break from running
Running can be uncomfortable especially when you are just getting started but it should never hurt. Aches and pains in the feet, ankles and shins are common among runners and to be honest most running injuries will go away in time. The best predictors of an injury are previous injuries so sometimes you have to think back, maybe you broke a leg or sprained an ankle as a child, this trauma can rear its head later on in life especially if you have just taken up running and haven’t exercised for a long time. We tend to lose our flexibility the older we get so it is so important to look after yourself once you start to increase your mileage.
An important part of running is learning to recognise the warning signs of an injury early. Mild stiffness or tenderness that doesn’t go away after a day or two’s rest or after the first few minutes of a run is one of the first signals.
Unfortunately, no one is injury-proof but before you panic, wait to see if the pain resolves itself within 24 to 36 hours. If it does, and you feel OK after your next run, that probably means you’re good to go, however if you limp or notice a change in your running style, you need to stop and address the issue as this can lead to long term damage that may mean you have to stop running permanently.
Running is hard as you don't see the results over night, it takes time, commitment and consistency but one of the things that running does teach you is to have patience.
You have to be extra patient when you are injured and being injured forces this patience upon you. You have to create a plan B if you experience setbacks and that can be hard...especially if it seems that everyone else is doing so well. A week can seem like a lifetime...
Here are my top tips for helping you have a comeback plan
1. Don't deny that you are injured, you have to deal with it and accept your injury but you may also experience some anger and depression and refuse to stop running, however you will reach a point where the pain forces you to stop. You will be able to return to your training plan if you allow the healing process the time that it needs.
2. Stick to a routine, walk when you would have run, by sticking to your normal training routines you will still gain the psychological benefits of regular exercise.
3. Keep up running friendships and support others in races, supporting is a great way to experience the race without the stress and it is appreciated by runners so much.
4. Cross train so that you don't end up feeling lethargic and fat, go swimming, do yoga or Pilates, strength training to build up muscle strength, go biking, it will really help fill the void.
5. Most importantly return to running with realistic expectations, start slowly and build gradually, set goals and don't do too much, too soon with too little recovery.