Aches and Pains versus Injury– Do you know the difference?

We are approaching the half way mark of the 2019 OCR season and I am sure many of you are feeling those aches and pains and are covered with “Spartan Kisses”.   I think I have seen more people taken out this year due to serious injury than ever before.  Could this be due to the amount of people running now, or because every year we push ourselves harder and harder?  It seems to me that there are so many Pro/Elite athletes that have been sitting idle for months, more then ever before, due to injury.

I myself suffered a Grade 1 ankle sprain back in early April at FIT Challenge (if you have not run FIT Challenge you really should look into it), but rather than resting it I continued training for the Spartan NJ Ultra.  I am very happy to say I was able to finish the Ultra and earn my buckle but it took me over an hour longer than last year because I limped through the second lap.  Looking back, I love my buckle, but I really should not have run that Ultra on my ankle.

I’ve always been under the mindset that if it isn’t broke keep going, but the older (and hopefully wiser) we get we really should be listening to our bodies.  In my case if my ankle is hurting and it’s all bruised, I should probably shut it down to give it time to recover.  Not shutting it down has now caused an IT Band flare up in edition to my ankle issues.  I know it would have healed quicker if I had just addressed it and taken care of it in the first place.

Now, I know many of you feel that we can’t rest because we want to keep Racing, Running, and Training, but we need to consider the long term effects of what we are doing to our bodies.  There are some athletes out there that believe they can push through an entire season with a sprained ankle, or a muscle tear, or even a broken bone but we need to ask ourselves –  “Should I keep putting my body through this?”  I would rather shut it down for a few weeks or months than loose an entire year….or more.   And yes, we all suffer from normal aches and pains through the OCR season.  However, we need to learn to listen to our bodies to understand the difference between an ache and a serious injury.

by: Justin Termini
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