Running Through Pain – When to Stop, When to Keep Going

Photo By: carlos.a.martinez

We all come to those moments in our training where we will feel pain while running. Pain is a common occurrence while running, both competitively or recreationally, but it is sometimes hard to realize when to worry about the pain you are feeling and when to push through.

Running through pain is something we all do, but below is a list of common problems runners face that may be more serious than just a minor ache and pain. Remember, when in doubt rest up and follow the RICE treatment (rest, ice, compression, elevation). If you feel like you are getting worse – see your doctor.

  • Muscle Pain – while running you are working your muscles and it is common to feel sore after a run (or more than likely between 12 and 48 hours after a run). This is normal and is usually not a major concern. Sprains and strains in the joints and muscles are also common while running and are a concern if the pain last longer than usual, you cannot put weight on the specific joint, or there is major swelling.
  • Blisters – another common pain while running, blisters can be more annoying than painful (at times). If not properly taken care of, blisters can provide severe pain to runners. Prevention is the key for blisters which thrive on wetness, friction and extreme temperatures (mainly heat, but cold as well). Make sure not to tie your shoes too tight and wear moisture-wicking socks.Running through pain from a blister may sound easy, but some can be very painful and get worse. Always take precautions.
  • Achilles – running for long periods of time, especially when training in mileage that you may not have done before, can cause stress on the Achilles tendon (located above the ankle on the back of the leg). It is normal to have soreness from time to time, but any type of pain last longer than normal soreness may be the start of Achilles tendonitis, which in turn is the start of a Achilles tendon rupture.
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome – is a common pain felt among runners usually on the hip or outside of the knee. ITBS usually is caused by inflammation of the fibers due to overtraining, overuse or bad running form.
  • Shin splints – the pain for this injury is usually felt in the front of the leg where the shin is (duh). This type of injury is also usually caused by overuse, which puts stress on the lower leg.
If you have any of the above pain it is recommended to perform the RICE treatment and rest as much as possible. If training for a big event, it may be beneficial to see a doctor to make sure any injury is not serious and that training to run, lets say a marathon, will not injure you long-term.


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