It’s a popular saying, and one that I often live by when it comes to training. As a keen runner, when trying to up my distance I particularly feel the need to push through that final mile even though my legs are screaming at me to stop. I also have workouts where I’m not in the mood, too tired, or just plain can’t be bothered. These are times where I’ll live by this saying.
But what if you have an injury? It’s one thing to push past mental thresholds, muscular fatigue or even a little muscular pain in the right circumstance, but ignoring injuries could lead to huge problems. If you’re getting constant pain, worsening pain, or pain that doesn’t go away when you’ve stopped whatever it is you were doing – you could have an injury that needs attention.
I’ve personally had 2 experiences where I’ve ignored developing injuries, and they (cumulatively) have taken me away from training for over a year, and even left me on crutches at one point. These were injuries I knew weren’t simple muscle pain, but my love for training (and pig headed refusal to stop) meant I ignored them.
So what to do if you think you have an injury? First port of call is resting and using ice to take down any inflammation, but unless you’re a professional have someone else take a look. Don’t be afraid to go to your GP, tell him what’s wrong, and ask for a referral if you think you need it. Often, physiotherapy or a trip to a chiropractor is needed. Injury is sometimes occurs because of problem with technique or a misalignment or incorrect mechanical movement that needs attention. The biggest advice I can give is if your practitioner tells you to rest – REST. Sometimes that is the only treatment you can give to an injury, particularly if you have over trained.
Recently, professionals have encouraged things like balance training – combining two complimentary exercises to prevent over training in one area. Lots of runners swear by yoga, it stretches areas which become incredibly tight during running, and I have found it has really encouraged healing during my rehabilitation.
I know the idea of no more training can be scary, but you can still maintain your fitness. Of course, ask your practitioner before you do anything but in particular stationary strength training could be a great idea if you have a hip or lower body injury, and stationary cycling could be used during an upper body injury. Strength training is known to help with joint stabilisation, which – as mentioned before – could be the problem in the first place.
So back to the header, is it really a case of no pain, no gain? Use your own common sense, your body will tell you if something is really wrong.