So much training strategy revolves around the fine line between health and pushing your body too far. Inevitably you end up with niggles. Niggles are the little injuries and pains that aren’t bad enough to stop you from running but that leave you a little on edge. How do you determine which pains are okay to run through and which should stop you? Well, I’m no doctor but you need to turn off your OCD for a second and use some common sense. If it’s a sore muscle, you can probably suck it up. If it’s more serious muscle pain, then you should figure out if you’ve torn something. Run to the doctor. Okay, I’m hedging! If it feels like a bone problem, STOP!!! If it’s a tendon or ligament, it depends on the injury. I try to err on the side of caution when I don’t know what I’m dealing with. It’s better to take a few days off than to turn a small ache into a big problem. And it’s amazing how much anatomy you’ll learn in a short period of time when you’ve got an injury.
Right now I’ve got a few niggles going on. I’ve got a calf that feels more like a sock filled with rocks. My massage therapist worked on it for at least a half an hour last night and that wasn’t enough time to work it out. She said it felt like I had marbles in my calf. Not good. On the bright side.. it seems to loosen up with use so I’ll run with it (and do a whole lot of self massage!). Niggle number two is the ache in my left hip. It’s not the same side that took me out in the fall, but it hurts in the same place. I think it’s the hip bursa. Now given my history, I’m quite a bit more cautious with this one. If I let it get too inflamed it could take me out for a long time. I blame running 10 miles on concrete Tuesday. So I’m going to be cautious and play it by ear. I moved my Wednesday run to tonight and I’m planning on running on the soft grass at the Cal State San Marcos track. I also planned to wear cushy shoes. The danger is that it’s not healed, I aggravate it, and then I miss 14-15 miles tomorrow. I’m scheduled for an easy 7, but I’ll call it quits if it barks. Better to take a few days off now than a month later. We’ll see!
I think I’ve been pretty lucky in the injury department. That or I’ve played it smart enough to avoid the big ones. I went a year and a half with only minor ailments. I might miss a week or a few days here or there, but I’d never missed more than that until my hip injury last August.