You know you’re injured when you develop a persistent pain in any part of your running body. Pain can me measured on the following scale: tender, twinge, ache, sore, severe. Please report any unusual twinges immediately to me. Usually, an injury is a clear signal that it’s time to buy a new pair of shoes.
Dealing with Injuries. Injuries are part of the game we are playing. You should know how to deal with them by slowing down, by icing and by checking your shoes. I will share some information before the workouts this week. Here is a quick synopsis.
Whenever you feel a pain, the worst thing you can do is speed up to test the injury. You must have the courage to slow down immediately and run “under” the pain, not through it. Running under the pain means going slow enough that it goes away, whether in the first five minutes or the next two weeks. You cannot think of yourself as “training” while you are also getting rid of an injury. Go with a slower group or jog on your own at home.
Icing is by far the most effective way to quell the pain of injury. Pain is part of inflammation, which includes heat, pain, swelling and discoloration in a damaged area. Inflammatory fluid calcifies in a damaged area to slow you down. Icing helps to prevent the fluid from getting in there by restricting blood flow initially, and by cooling the area.
There are all sorts of ways to ice an injury. Your first consideration should be where the injury is located. Location will suggest your method—whether dipping a foot into a bowl of ice cold water or holding an ice pack to a knee. The simplest pack is a zip-lock bag with a little water and a bunch of ice cubes. Longs has an “EZY Pack” that freezes in the freezer, but is soft enough to mold to the contours of a knee. Try strapping one of those on while you eat after a workout.
You should ice an injury after every run until the pain goes away. Continue icing certain parts of your body as a preventative measure because failing to ice causes an injury to recur. You should ice long enough to cool the injured area and make it hurt a lot. This will usually take 5 to 10 minutes. The more pain the icing causes, the better. Make sure the water is as cold as you can make it with lots of ice and little water.