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Listen to Your Body

By: Mike Kiely BA (hons) - Updated: 18 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Run Running Pain Injury Frustration

Dragging your body kicking and screaming onto the road or treadmill is all a matter of judgment. There will be times when physically you are in good condition. You haven’t overdone the training and have taken advantage of the rest periods built into your programme in order to allow for sufficient recovery time. In this case the problem is purely psychological. You’ve woken up in a bad mood or problem solving at work has left the mind struggling to cope with psyching itself up for exercise.

However, there will be times when it is advisable to take note of what your body is telling you. This is particularly relevant following injury. The enforced downtime that results from a sprain or strain is frustrating. Just as you were getting into your stride, then injury comes along and you feel you are back to square one. But on no account be tempted to rush back into action because not allowing the body sufficient time to heal will not only result in the problem returning but it could be made worse.

Back on the Move

Any frustration at inactivity should not be allowed to turn to disillusion. Rather than feel you have lost the momentum built up during the course of the running, keep involved by researching or asking for advice on beneficial exercise programmes that could be followed while you wait to get back on the move. And why not pick up some running books from the local library that similarly keep you mentally tuned in to the goals that you have set yourself.

Less clear cut than a diagnosed injury are those aches and pains that can occur as a result of the normal increase in physical activity. Sometimes, however, there can be little more to it. That slight ache in the Achilles tendon or the tightness at the back of the leg may indeed need little more than a good stretch and a good warm up before running. However, if having completed this preparatory work the pain is still discernible, it is advisable to skip the session and give the body a break. Similarly if all appears to be well but the pain returns at any time during the run, stop, warm down and stretch before putting your feet up. Don’t try to “nurse” a problem area through the rest of the run because it will have a negative rather than a positive effect.

Pain Mechanism

Always remember that the pain mechanism exists for a very good reason: namely, to ensure that a problem area is identified and action is taken to alleviate the pain as quickly as possible. As you become more experienced, your body awareness will become more acute so you will be able to more easily identify the difference between a potential problem and a simple ache that is the result of the body having done some hard work. But whatever the root cause of the sensation, never ignore it. Every signal your body sends you is for a very good reason. Act on the information received and you’ll stay fit and healthy.

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