How To Deal With Pain When You Want To Run

As keen runners, we will all have to deal with pain at some point. Here’s how to minimise it and cope.

We all hope for a pain-free running career, but what happens when you have recurring pain that threatens your training schedule and your enjoyment of running?

Running doesn’t have to be as painful as all that. There are plenty of tools we can use to help heal from pain – massage, physiotherapy, icing. But what about our mental attitude to pain? Revisiting how we think about “pain” might help us enjoy running for longer, without long periods of time out because of aches and pains.

This isn’t medical advice, and is in no way meant to replace physical therapy when you’re injured. But this fresh way of thinking about pain might just help you cope a little better next time it happens.

Remember that our bodies are constantly growing and rebuilding, and are amazingly adaptable. Our bodies are more robust than we give them credit for – it’s often our mind and emotions which stand in the way. How do you think you would deal with pain when you first feel it? And what about how you’d cope with rehabbing from an injury? Those thoughts and expectations might be quite different to the reality of how your organic body copes.

And remember that pain and injury. Pain is always real – if you feel pain, there’s a reason for that. But understanding pain, how much your body can cope with, and the difference between the pain you feel and the actual injury or damage to your body could make a big difference to how confident you feel getting back into running. If you can make an informed logical decision about what you do and how you do it, you’ll be more confident about managing your injury.

5 Things To Consider About Running Pain:

  1. Pain and injury aren’t necessarily the same things (acute or chronic)
  2. Not all injuries are painful
  3. Not all pain means there is actual damage.
  4. Chronic pain isn’t a reflection of the state of the injury
  5. Lots of factor contribute to pain and how we feel pain

Just something for you to think about today, especially if you’re currently nursing aches or pains (or dealing with the prospect of a longer-term injury). Is your pain the same as your injury? If you were able to separate the two in your mind, would it make a difference to how you felt about your treatment, and your return to running? Is pain a useful feeling for you, or does it cloud the truth of what your injury actually is?

Pain is highly individual, and overcoming any kind of pain needs more than one type of approach. Make sure you consider and address the various factors that might be contributing to your pain – including your previous experiences with chronic pain, your long-held beliefs about pain and activity, your recovery capabilities, and of course your body.

You’ll know when you feel confident enough to run again without thinking too much about any pain you might experience.

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