Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tuesday Tips: Dealing with Pain

"No pain, no gain!" Is that really true? Is there a certain amount of pain that just naturally goes along with working out and pushing your body to its limits? Or is all pain a sign of your body telling you that something is wrong?

Unfortunately, I'm experiencing pain in my left leg again. The good news is that it's not in exactly the same spot as my stress fracture was, so I don't think it's a re-injury. The bad news is that I don't know WHAT it is. It's in an odd spot: the inside of my leg, just above my ankle, going to about the middle of the leg. I feel like lower leg pain associated with running usually occurs in the calves, shins or ankles.

In some ways, this feels like deja vu. There is pain in my leg, but I don't want to rest it to see if it will go away. I don't want to lose momentum in my walk/run training program. At the same time, I realize that if there is something seriously wrong, continuing to run could make it even worse.

So how do I know when pain is normal, and when it's cause for concern? Fellow runners, what do you do when you first start to experience some leg pain? Run through it, and maybe ice it afterwards? Or do you stop immediately, and rest a few days?

I should note that I'm still not running all that much - a total of 12 minutes, broken up with some walking - so I don't really understand why I'm having pain at all. My runs are otherwise easy. I would not characterize the pain as severe, but it has gotten worse over the past week and I also feel it occasionally at random times during the day, when I'm not running.

I'm not the type to run to the doctor at any hint of illness or injury...I hate to waste a copay just to be told to take it easy for a few days, you know? So I could use some advice on how to deal with pain and how to tell what is normal and what is not. Thanks!

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