running injury

When to Stop Running: How to Become a Better Runner in 30 Days

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#15 When to Stop Running


Choosing a right turn or left turn on our running route is quite easy but deciding when you should not run at all is mentally exhausting.


After 17 years of running training, I have found a few road blocks causing me to stay inside, cross train, and seek help. I have also spent many a mornings or afternoons either making up excuses or wishing away real reasons I could not run. So I hope my experiences will help you the next time you hit a road block or low motivation.

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Increased Pain While Running - If a pain gets worse while you are running, STOP. Stretch the surrounding areas and then try again for a few steps. If the pain is still worsening, call for a ride home. (Caution a several mile walk home may end up extend your recovery time.)

Limping While Walking - Mailbox test. If you can’t walk to your mailbox without pain or a limp then you can’t run. Doesn’t count if you just got off the sofa, warm up a bit by moving around the house before preforming this test.

Past Injury Symptoms Reoccur - Take the day off and do your rehab routine. Hopefully an extra day of rest and PT exercises will stop the possible injury before it becomes a problem.

Sickness Below the Neck - NO RUNNING! Seriously don’t even think about it.

Swelling - No running, swelling is a hint from the body that something is not right and your body is trying to heal. Patience please.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stroke, Frostbite - When the temperatures are extreme, prepare for the situation and be alert watching for symptoms.

Overtraining - Know by heart the symptoms of overtraining and watch out for them in yourself and your training partners.

Thunder or Lightning - Not worth the risk! Find shelter!

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Mild Sickness Above the Neck - Easy light running can help a clogged nose or little headache.

HIGH Level of Emotional Stress - Easy running only. Be careful to not train hard during high emotional periods of your life. Your immune system is responsible for fighting sickness, when during a chronically stressful period there is less communication within the immune system and therefore less healing in the body.

You’re Not Ready - Whether it be low fitness level or the injury recovery stages, there are fitness/strengthening levels to achieve before taking the next step. Be patient and allow fitness adaptations and strengthening to occur before attempting the next challenging. Build a solid foundation so you don’t topple over later.

Dark Sky - Don’t run in the dark unless with a headlamp, safety vest, and training partners.

Snow - Slow down and watch where you step! Enjoy the beauty and peaceful surroundings.

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Life Responsibility Obstacles - Babysitter cancelation, child meltdown, alarm clock malfunction, way to much to do in the first hour of the day, work meeting that you never thought would end. Well, make the best of the situation, strategize, and find a solution. If you absolutely can’t make your running schedule, cross train and get your heart rate as high as if you had run..

2 Left Shoes - Everyone has done it, bought two left running shoes to the trailhead or YMCA and left with a frown. (Tip- Always stash an extra pair of older running shoes in your trunk.)

OUT of Time - If you only have 30 minutes to start, do, and finish a run. Great! Go for it. Make it a short but awesome run!

Boring - Alrighty, first boring is an attitude not circumstances. Second, freedom! You have so much freedom, whether it be taking a left or right on your running route, or your speed, elevation, and amount of time on a treadmill. Shake up the routine. I bet you can find fun.

Rain - Wow, a workout and a shower all in one! I love to run in the rain. It is refreshing and reinvigorating. Take the next chance you can to run in the rain, puddle jumping and all!

Too Tired - Run anyways and then go to bed earlier.

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STOP RUNNING - Admit when you are injured

BE CAUTIOUS - Watch for warning signs

START RUNNING - Plan ahead and be flexible in order to overcome obstacles and excuses

This 30 day series is a quest for me as a writer, coach, and runner. I promise to write about running for 30 days in a row. In doing so I intend to gain in knowledge and expression of running and daily life. My hope is that we all grow together.

Shelly is not giving medical advice. Just sharing from her own personal experiences. Please consult a doctor for all medical advice.