The ‘should I run or rest?’ test

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.

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