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Friday, April 10, 2015

Why working through legitimate pain is great advice...

This past week while training one of my long time clients, I heard about a comment one of my coworkers made to her. About a week and a half ago, my client had re-injured a pulled muscle. We did some alternative workouts so as not to aggravate her injury. She came in another day for a workout on her own during which she tried to do a core exercise but discovered that it hurt her injury.  She verbalized an "ouch!" that caught the attention of a trainer at the gym who was nearby.  The trainer told her not to worry about the pain and to just work through it. Um.  WHAT? I was livid when she recounted the conversation to me. It drives me absolutely crazy when I hear people talk about continuing through pain.

Working through legitimate pain doesn't make you a badass.  It makes you stupid. If you are trainer who recommends that--it makes you dangerous.

It is never, not ever, ever, ever, a good idea to recommend that a client continues through real, legitimate pain. We aren't talking about a client who is just a little uncomfortable and looking for a way out. In my years of experience with my (awesome) clients, I have never had that client (the looking for a way out type).  My clients and I have a great rapport that if something is bothering them  pain-wise they tell me.  They know to tell me when they haven't eaten that day because all of their meetings ran long, or when they haven't slept well because their kiddo was sick all night long. I take all of that into consideration and adapt my plan as necessary.  Please don't expect anything less than that from your trainer. If your trainer sees you in pain or throwing up or about to pass out and celebrates....FIRE them on the spot. (It goes without saying that your trainer needs to have a legitimate certification and preferably education in this field).

So are any of you flashing back to my Nike Women's Half Marathon experience of 2013 when I ran the last 9 miles of the race with a torn MCL. Im not sure at what point I technically tore my MCL, but if I hadn't continued on, there is the chance that I wouldn't have torn it, or minimized the tear at least. The extenuating circumstance at that race is that there weren't many other options than continuing. I knew I wanted to meet my husband at mile 8, and since the Boston Marathon bombing was just a week before that race, I was worried that he would be worried something would have happened to me if I didnt show up.  I also don't remember seeing any medical tents until Mile 10. My plan was to make it to my husband and talk with him about continuing or not. Unfortunately because of construction on the metro, he couldn't get to Mile 8 so he was waiting for me at the finish. I hobbled, walked, jogged, ran backwards (yes, I literally did this), skipped, did anything to get to the finish line. I found him immediately and praised God that he was able to take such good care of me in such pain. Even with those circumstances, it was still a bad idea. I had no idea that I injured my knee that badly and the same is true for anyone. Pain is a signal that there is something wrong. Listen to it.

So on that note, it is so regrettable that I made the decision to not run my half marathon this Sunday.  I mildly re-injured my knee a few weeks ago that has prevented me from training as well as I want.  I am particularly worried about my knee inflammation and injuring it further.  I am so bummed but I know that in making this decision (that was supported by my physician) I can leave options open for doing a half in a couple of months as opposed to risking much more injury.  A weekend of disappointment is much better than months and months of rehab and missing out on activities (and income!!).

Hopefully with a little more rest I can find another half to do later this spring/early summer.

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