Niggle: a trifling complaint, dispute, or criticism
If you run, you’re going to get niggles. They’re those little aches and pains. They’re what crop up during the taper, making us doubt ourselves and wonder if we’ve injured ourselves. They’re those little pains you just can’t seem to shake — or the pain that starts out of nowhere.
Last week, the day before my long run, I suddenly felt some pain in my calf. Like the residual pain from a Charley Horse, which thankfully I’ve only experienced a time or two. Only I hadn’t had one. Oddly my hamstring had cramped up out of the blue that week, but my calf was fine.
So what’s a runner with a niggle to do?
Don’t pop that analgesic!
I almost never take anything for niggles. Analgesic mask the pain, which could mean you’ll run harder than you sure and deepen the problem.
What I do instead: I use Doterra Deep Blue Rub. Yes, it’s expensive, but it lasts me for years; you can get it from Amazon here (Amazon Affiliate link). You can also get it in single use packs, which I use for travel — order that from Amazon here.
I’ve tried a few other topicals, but frankly this is what works for me. Often I will also tape the offending body part, but since my compression socks covered my calfs (and that’s the second thing to do — compress!), I didn’t feel the need to tape.
Pay attention to your gait
Is the pain altering how you run? Are you limping? Are you shortening or elongating your stride? Are you changing how your foot strikes the ground? Any change in your gait is a signal to not run, and give it a couple of days of rest. At least one day of rest!
Pay attention to how you feel the day after you run
You might feel completely fine when you run. Endorphins are a wonderful thing — except when they’re masking the pain. If you’re limping the next day, or the pain worsens, you need to take a couple of days off of running.
Taking time off of running while you’re training for something is a pain. But sometimes it’s a bigger pain if you try to tough it out. Even taking time off of running when you’re not training for something can be difficult, because so many of us use running as our “therapy”. — Chocolaterunsjudy
It’s never quite this easy, of course, to know when a niggle really requires rest and when it doesn’t. We runners are a stubborn bunch. If the pain continues and you’re altering your gait, with lingering pain the next day, it’s time to either give running a rest and/or seek some medical help (preferably someone who is well schooled in running, and won’t just tell you to stop running without getting to the bottom of the cause of your pain.
My personal motto is live to run another day. Unless I ignore all of the above, in which case it’s do as I say, not as I do. As for me, the calf pain disappeared as mysteriously as it appeared — and thank goodness for that!
When do you know that it’s time to take some time off of running?
Is it easy or hard for you to take time off of running?
What do you do when you’re sidelined from running?
This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.