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Ache vs. Pain (Read 48 times)

Bluejayfeather


    So, it seems that running through pain is common.

     

    But I want to tease this apart.  What is the difference between an ache, and the pain of an injury?

     

    In other words, how do I know if I am running stupid and making an injury worse, versus just having some sore achiness to run through?

    JMac11


    Benevolent Leader

      Unfortunately it's sort of one of those "you know it when you feel it" type things. How do you know the day after going to the gym whether you hurt yourself or you're just sore? It's the same thing for me with running. I'll also say general soreness warms up through runs, and pain is never above a 2 out of 10.

      5K: 16:51 (8/19)  |  10K: 34:49 (10/19)  |  HM: 1:16:21 (3/19)  |  FM: 2:44:43 (4/19) 

       

      Next Race: Suffolk County Half Marathon (10/27/19)

        So, it seems that running through pain is common.

         

        But I want to tease this apart.  What is the difference between an ache, and the pain of an injury?

         

        In other words, how do I know if I am running stupid and making an injury worse, versus just having some sore achiness to run through?

         

        Pain is a different perception for everyone. Someone said that "great runners can tolerate pain, and Prefontaine could tolerate more than anyone". I say; if pain is the only limiting factor to performance, just shoot up with some heroin and go out and win the Olympics. Who needs training?!

         

        But seriously, for me an ache is a fairly constant thing that isn't painful enough to alter your gait, but it still lets you know it's there. True pain is something more stabby that happens only during a particular phase of your gait, such as when your heel lands or when you push off, but isn't there otherwise.

         

        Like JMac11 said, an ache will often go away as you warm up (about a mile for me), but pain that gets worse the further you go is a sign that you need to STOP and rest/recover the injury for a few days to weeks before doing much more running. 

         

        Muscle soreness and tendon tearing are two different things, and achy, sore muscles aren't something to be concerned about (it's actually a good thing, because it means you're going to recover stronger). But anything with a tendon/ligament such as PF, achilles, IT band, knee, hip, etc. should cause you to proceed with caution.

         

        Anecdotes:

        I had PF a few years ago, I know what it feels like, the bad and the recovery. I could barely walk on it when it was bad, and after 5-6 weeks of no running I started up again, and it hurt, but not as much if I went slow. It took 6 months of it aching while running before it finally faded away. About 2 weeks ago I got the feeling of a strained Plantar and took it easy. Last weekend I did a 50k trail race and felt the Plantar with every step, but it wasn't painful, it was an ache, and it didn't get worse as the race went on. I can't feel it at all today.

         

        I had a twinge in my achilles about 7 years ago, and because I had never had a running injury before just assumed that I was stiff and could "run it out" and kept going. 3 miles into my run I was limping, and had to walk limping all the way home. I couldn't run for 6 months, and I still have problems TODAY if I try to do very much fast-paced running. I over-did it last Spring getting ready for a 3k and had to take a month off.

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