I spoke to dozens of budding marathoners over the weekend at the Virgin London Marathon Meet the Experts weekend – and many of them were carrying niggles, or worse. The question came up time and time again… ‘am I OK to run on this?’ (usually after they’d just explained that they’d done 14 miles on it the day before even though it was really painful…)
It’s a difficult question to answer, because only you can truly know how bad the niggle feels. But asking yourself these three questions can help you come to the right decision…
- Is your running technique compromised or affected by the niggle? (In other words, are you running a bit ‘funny’ to protect the sore area?
- Does the niggle seem to be exacerbated by running, either during or afterwards?
- Has the pain/niggle lingered even after taking a few days rest or trying anti-inflammatory measures such as ice or anti-inflammatory painkillers?
If the answer to any or all of these is yes, then I recommend that you don’t run on it. Try to find a form of cross-training that doesn’t hurt, be proactive about reducing inflammation and keeping the area gently mobile through gentle stretching/movement and consider seeing a sports physio, osteopath or therapist for treatment, and to shed light on the cause. There really is no sense in running through injuries – you are likely to end up out of the game a lot longer than if you take action straight away to resolve the problem.