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Am I Injured?
November 26, 2007 - Erik Brown
Some injuries announce themselves in an unmistakable fashion. A sudden “pop” or tearing sensation followed by severe pain, swelling, bruises, etc. that leaves you barely able to walk, let alone run. These injuries are undeniable, but not all injuries occur this way. Some sneak up on you and disguise themselves as something less significant. So, how do you know when the pain you’re feeling isn’t “normal”? Sore muscles go with the territory for any athlete. Runners certainly know that. How can you tell if you’re injured, and more importantly, how do you decide when its time to stop and let yourself heal?
Give yourself a quiz
Here are some questions to ask yourself the next time you’re dealing with uncomfortable pain on a run:
1.) Is the pain isolated? If both of your legs are sore in the same areas, or if it’s difficult to pinpoint the pain to a specific spot, you are probably dealing with normal soreness. In that case, I’d recommend plenty of slow, gentle stretching followed by 5 to 10 minutes of warm-up (walking or easy jogging) before you begin your run. You should loosen up within the first mile. On the other hand, if you can pinpoint the pain, and its somewhat isolated, you may be dealing with an injury.
2.) How is my stride? If the pain you’re feeling causes you to alter your stride, or limp, it is definitely time to stop. You might try some stretching that targets the area where you are hurting. But if you can’t run without limping, you need to stop immediately before you do yourself more harm.
In my next post I’ll talk a little bit about dealing with injuries. In the meantime, you can avoid injuries by following these suggestions:
1.) Warm up! Start each workout slowly with some easy jogging or, if you’re a beginner, some walking. Break a sweat before your start to push yourself. First mile, worst mile, last mile, fast mile!
2.) Do some stretching during your leisure time. Instead of watching TV from the comfort of your couch, spend some of that time stretching out.
3.) Never “bounce” while stretching. Slowly, gently, stretch your muscles. The old-fashioned bouncing your way down to your toes is a recipe for an injury.
4.) Do as I say, not as I do. I’ve been known to break some of my own rules, and it always gets me a predictable result. I felt a fairly significant "twinge" during a run about a week ago. It affected my stride, so I stopped and walked home. So far, so good. However, I just had to test it each of the next two days. Both times I only made it about a half mile before my leg tightened up to the point that I knew I had to stop. But, I still wasn't convinced. So, I tried to play some flag football on Thanksgiving day. Did I warm up? No. Did I stretch? No. Did I make it worse? Yes, much worse. Now I'll be sidelined for at least two weeks, and had to be a spectator at the Hollidaysburg Area YMCA Turkey Trot this past Saturday.
Speaking of this year’s Turkey Trot, it was a huge success with over 350 participants including 30 under the age of 13 and 15 over the age of 60.
Ryan Walsh was the first male overall in the 5 mile race with a time of 25:32. Emily Ingle (yes, the same Emily Ingle who won the gold medal in the 1600M at the 2006 PIAA State Track & Field Meet) was the first overall female in the 5 mile race in a time of 31:44. Wayne Hooper won the 2 mile race for the men in a time of 19:13 while Edann Etters was the ladies' 2 mile champion in a time of 11:56.
Thanks to all of the folks at the “Y” for another great event!
The Central Cambria Girls Cross Country Team, coached by Randy Wilson, had a great day at the Footlocker Northeast Regional on Saturday at Van Cortlandt Park in the