I did 8 miles on my treadmill. Two days later, I did a 5-mile tempo run on it. I really feel the treadmill changes my stride, but it was my only option.
Two days after the tempo run, I noticed my left calf was sore. I massaged it, but then noticed one area was painful when I pushed on it, and I knew right away I might be dealing with a a running injury.
I’ve been through this before, except last time, I continued to run. I ignored the pain. That’s what you shouldn’t do. Here’s what you should do if you suspect you might have a running injury:
If something is painful when you are or are not running, that could be a warning sign. Stop running for a couple of days. If, in 2 to 3 days, the area isn’t painful anymore, try a short, easy run. If the area starts to hurt, or hurts afterward, then stop. Check out sports podiatrist Dr. Stephen Pribut’s article on pain in athletes if you need help assessing the degree of your pain.
Call a professional
If you’ve taken several days off of running and you are still having pain or soreness in the area, call a professional. That could be a sports injury doctor, a physical therapist or a podiatrist — whomever you believe would be the best expert to assess your injury. Try to ask for someone who specializes in running injuries or, at least, is used to working with athletes.
As always, getting a second opinion may be in order. I had a friend who saw a doctor that told her she should just not run. Ever again. For the rest of her life. Naturally, she got a second opinion and was back to running over the next few days — just in a smarter way, and with good tools and advice to keep from getting reinjured.
Most running injuries mean you will have to stop running for a certain amount of time. Instead of picking up the hobby of couch potato, think of your down-time as a good excuse to try some different sports, such as swimming or pool running, and cycling, if you’re allowed to bike. You may even want to join a gym for a few months.
Take the opportunity to work on other parts of your body. At the gym, try a rowing machine. If you can’t use your legs at all, just place them on the floor and do upper-body rowing. Join an abs class. Try spin. Discover the elliptical machine. Or sign up for masters swimming. As long as you get okay from your doctor, the exercise possibilities are endless. Check out these non-running cardio ideas from a former Navy SEAL and fitness author.
Keep your chin up, and your fitness, and you’ll be back to running in no time!
For more information on sports injures, see the 2Toms Knowledge section.