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Hi all! New runner here- starting week 6 of couch 2 5k tomorrow!
I am curious about how new runners decide when to "power through" pain and when to rest? I am reasonably fit (always worked out, but never good at running,) and I've found myself in a decent amount of joint pain since I began running 5 weeks ago. I do take the rest days, but the pain seems to be persistant regardless. I've never experienced this kind of pain before- I'm used to sore muscles but this is more of the "omg its killing my kneed to walk down stairs" kind of thing. To top it off, my boyfriend is one of those people who has always run and never trained, so he can't offer me much advice.
I'm the type to work through injuries even if it's not the best, but I'm wondering if I'll be causing myself long-term joint-related issues. Any advice on when you KNOW it's time to stop? Also, before anyone asks, i do light weight training and my legs are actually very muscular (if not lean) so I don't think it's an issue to being too weak, more likely an issue of bad form...
Well you said you're following c25k so I'm assuming you're not trying to do too much too soon. The next thing I would check is what shoes you're running in. A good pair of running shoes, preferably from an actual running store that will evaluate your gait, are a must. If you decided to start c25k and just threw on whatever gym shoes you had laying around, that's got bad news written all over it.
Is your pain while you are running, as well as after?
When you are a new runner it would be best not to power through the pain. You need to buildup the running muscles, which are different than the muscles you use when you weight lift. I have always had very strong legs, but that only helped a little bit when I started running.
When I feel something's not right during a run, I slow down and see if it works itself out. One day (within the last month) I went out a half mile and the tendon behind my knee hurt. I stopped, massaged it, walked for a half mile, then ran 5 miles as if nothing had happened. It's hard to say what you should do. Obviously, listen to your body. If you need an extra day to rest, take it. It's better to go slow, than to have a injury that will keep you from running.
If you are doing light weight training for your legs, I will tell you that I usually work my legs the morning after I run. I can adjust the weights much easier than I can adjust my run.
If it hurts to walk down the stairs after running, you should reduce either your mileage and/or pace or add an extra day of rest, then slowly build it back up.
Are you warming up before running and stretching after? If you are sore use ice or compression sleeves/socks right after running. Limit Advil, etc. to those really bad days.
Jeb's right about the shoes. Do you have good running shoes? When I started running I pronated, and had stablity shoes. I hated those shoes (and running) at that time. I now have comfortable neutral shoes and my running improved a lot. Weightlifting helped me with my stability issue.
Whether you're a new runner or an experienced runner, pain in a joint either during or after running is not normal. Trying to power through the pain is a good way to turn an acute injury into a chronic one. The classic RICE treatment (rest, ice, compression, elevation) is usually helpful in the short term, but you need to address and solve the root cause of the pain. Otherwise you can get into a cycle of frustration where you rest for a while but the pain returns as soon as you start running again. Knee pain can have a large number of causes, but most of them are either related to bad biomechanics (overpronation, underpronation, overstriding, etc.) or to training errors (running on crowned surfaces, doing too much too soon, too much speedwork, too many hills, etc.)
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