Runner's Pain (and Gain)

Navigational Art and Directions By Colleen Yorke, © 2017.
We all have experienced forms of pain. Some of us have scars to remind us. Hurt and injured in the past, we are wearing all kind of masks to protect ourselves from being hurt again. We are afraid of our own feelings and emotions, we are afraid to love again, because we know with love comes pain. But, if we knew then, what we know now, would we still run towards what will be the edge just before our way down? You bet, we will. There is no view as the one we see right on the brinks of the edge. For a moment in our life we experience a 'high' that we cannot relate to anyone nor repeat. 

The art of running, 2017.
Yesterday I passed the 500 miles mark of my annual goal to run 1,000 miles - meaning I have run about 6.4 miles daily. That is a lot of mileage. So I thought about pain. Runners are most vulnerable to injury during the initial 4-6 months of running, upon returning to running after an injury, and when the quantity (mileage) or the quality (speed work) is increased. Rapid changes in mileage, increased interval training, inadequate stretching, insufficient rest, or shoes that do not fit are common sources of injury. Sharp snaps of pain suddenly interrupt our motion flow. A familiar routine suddenly falls away in split seconds. We may be stunned, shocked or even feel punished. For dedicated runners, injuries are devastating. Acute symptoms and overused muscles can benefit from ice massages, stretching, counter- muscle strengthening, and a short course of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. Shoe modification and a change of running surface alter gait and might help prevent certain injuries as stress fractures, nerve irritation, pain, swelling or join locking. 

A good injury preventive treatment after a run is R.I.C.E:

  • Rest. Rest to protect the injured or sore area. Change, or take a break from any activity that may be causing pain or soreness.
  • Ice. Cold will reduce pain and swelling. Apply an ice or cold pack for 10 to 20 minutes as soon as possible to prevent or minimize swelling. After 48 to 72 hours, if the swelling subsidizes, apply some heat to the area that hurts.
  • Compression. Compression, or wrapping the injured or sore area loosely with an elastic bandage (such as an Ace wrap), will help decrease swelling.
  • Elevation. Elevate the injured or sore area on pillows while applying ice and anytime you are sitting or lying down. Try to keep the area at or above the level of your heart to help minimize swelling.
We need to remember that pain is only temporary. Our body has an amazing way to heal, if we allow it to recover. Soon we will be running again. Of course we will head straight towards that edge again. The view is not to be missed.