Experiencing soreness, aches, and pains can be a normal part of running. It makes sense since running leads to the break down of tissues in our body. When we rest, our tissues build back up so that they are even stronger in order to better sustain the same amount of training in the future.
But when do normal aches and pains cross the line to becoming a full-blown injury?
Here are some things to consider:
You experience pain that lasts for 2-3 days after a workout
You experience pain that is present at the beginning of a run and continues to get worse as the run continues
You experience pain that is keeping you up at night
You experience pain that changes your running form
You experience pain that is a rating of 4/10 or higher
If any of these apply to you, take some time to rest and do other activities. Consider something low impact like biking.
When it might be ok to keep running when you are experiencing aches and pains:
You only experience general muscle soreness
You experience slight joint/muscle discomfort after a workout or the next day and it resolves within 24 hours
You experience slight stiffness/pain (3/10 pain rating or lower) at the beginning of a run that dissipates after the first 10 minutes
Regardless of whether you are experiencing “aches and pains” or you have a full-blown injury, you will benefit from strength training. Strengthening our muscles and tendons leads to our bodies becoming stronger so that these structures can better manage the loads that are placed on them while we run. If you have an injury, talk to your medical provider to discuss which strength exercises are right for you.
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