There’s always a fight. Some go down kicking and screaming, others with quiet resistance, but there’s always a fight.
We all run for LOTS of different reasons. It can keep our minds sharp. It can be relaxing. It can be the only bit of peace and quiet we get in our crazy lives, so when we pick up a little ache or nagging pain, we just keep quiet and carry on running.
But when that little pain that seemed to happen every now and again, grows into something we can’t get rid of, we KNOW the sensible thing would be to stop running – but we don’t.
We might be scared of losing fitness, or gaining weight, or we might just hate the idea of not being able to do the sport we love.
It’s like we somehow feel that we’re letting ourselves down, or we’re being “weak” or that by stopping, we’re actually quitting.
In most cases though, it’s not like we’re talking about permanantly stopping – just until the pain is sorted.
But even then, we find it hard to accept – so we keep trying to battle through our run training, and the pain, until it gets so bad that eventually, the running stops being enjoyable, then we’re happy to stop.
The problem is, that by this stage, the muscle tightness that’s causing the pain takes MUCH longer to get on top of and we end up spending MUCH longer not running.
Now before you panic, I’m not advocating that you should stop running at the first sign of every little ache or pain.
Nor am I suggesting that simply stopping running will do the job of getting rid of your pain – it won’t. Of course, it’ll help that you’re not aggravating the symptom by running, which will make it feel better, but as soon as you start running again, it’ll come back.
But there are MANY benefits to stopping running so that you can get on top of your muscle tightness issues and get rid of your pain:
1. You will increase your blood flow to your muscles which means you will recover quicker from your exercise, have less muscle soreness and be able to train for longer before fatigue
2. You will reduce the stiffness in your joints which means that when you get back to it, running will actually feel easier than it did before you stopped.
3. You will reduce the amount of effort it takes to move your body which means that you will actually run FASTER than you did before you stopped.
Stopping running doesn’t sound so bad now, does it?
But the REAL question is: should YOU stop running?
And the answer to that is…it depends – because it’s a balancing act between doing enough mobility to get on top of your issues, and you doing some training (which is creating the muscle tightness in the first place).
To help you decide, here’s my 4 step process:
1. Add mobility training to your regular schedule – keep training as normal – if after a few days you’re not seeing the results you’d like to, move to step 2
2. Increase the amount of mobility (you shouldn’t need more than 30 minutes each day) – keep training as usual – if you’re not seeing the results you’d like to within a few days, move to step 3
3. Reduce the amount of training (either in volume or intensity) – keep the mobility levels the same – if after a few days you’re not seeing the results you’d like, move to step 4
4. Stop training to focus on your issues completely (replace your training time with mobility time)
Then, once you’re on top of your issues, gradually add in small amounts of running, keeping your mobility levels up and build how much you run as long as you’re pain free.
So, how do you get started with mobility?
If you want to reduce your muscle soreness after training, be able to train for longer without fatigue, if you want your running to feel easier and you want to be able to go faster then I’d like to invite you to check out my Hip Flexors 5 Ways video – simply fill in your details below!
It’s a great one to get started with, so go ahead, check it out and start improving your running today!