Updated: Jul 26, 2019
As athletes we all experience discomfort during training. We have all felt it in one way or another. A little pain in our shoulder while swimming, pain behind the knee when cycling, calf pain while running or just feeling sore after a hard day for example. When should we push through and when should we hold back? Giving yourself honest feedback of how you are feeling and taking the proper steps is a great way to keep you training and racing.
First on the mild end of the spectrum is fatigue and soreness. This is the body’s natural response to the physiological stress to training. This type of fatigue often presents itself in the form of delayed onset muscle fatigue 24-48 hours after a hard session. This type of pain often subsides after proper recovery, rest and my personal favorite-active recovery days, such as an easy run. If you are feeling fatigued all the time or the same spot is constantly sore its time to reevaluate your training load or consult with a specialist such as physical therapist.
Next we move to mild pain during or after training. This type of pain can be classified as uncomfortable but bearable. Yet we do need to be very careful with these mild pains as they can be a warning sign for a deeper issues. When these mild pains occur the first defence is often making sure our bodies muscles are activating properly and that warm ups & cool downs are being executed accordingly. More stretching and rolling is a common defence for mild pain during or after training as well. In many cases as long as the pain is decreasing over time training can be adjusted to help the injured area heal while not stopping the activity.
Taking the pain to the next level is pain that starts out mild and increase with the duration of exercise. This pain indicates that the activity needs to stop immediately and steps need to be taken to rehabilitate the injury. This is when taking steps to see a specialist should be taken.
Finally is pain that persist outside of exercise and is very painful when training. Once again this pain indicate that exercise needs to stop immediately. Keep in mind this pain can happen instantly such as a calf strain or overtime like a stress fracture. Just like the previous recommendation a specialist should be visited immediately and training needs to be adjusted to not cause any type stress of to the problem area.
One of the great aspects of being endurance athletes is that we are great at self feedback. Knowing the origin of a pain and severity are the first steps in keeping us training healthy. Keep intune with your body and keep yourself loving what you do!