We have a tendency to train through anything, don’t we?
For some, it’s because training has become such a stress relief they don’t know how to live without it.
For others, it’s because they are certain if they don’t train all their fitness will magically disappear.
Sometimes though it’s important to take a step back and ask, “Am I hurt or am I injured?” and from there decide if jumping into the next session is right.
As athletes, we hurt a lot.
Muscle soreness can be a part of everyday life because of the incredible efforts we are putting in.
Being 90 minutes into a two-hour session hurts.
Most of these things are ok to train through. That niggle in your calf could just be tightness that will go away once you’ve warmed up.
The pain you feel in your stomach (from either over- or under-fueling) most likely isn’t going to kill you.
If you are trying to decide if this is just a “hurt” ask, “Will the root issue be resolved if I stop the activity?”
If the answer is, “yes” then it’s most likely ok to keep going. But notice it’s the root issue we are targeting. Not necessarily what you are feeling in that very moment.
I’ll keep this short. You should never do something in training that will aggravate an injury.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t train, you just definitely shouldn’t do movements that greatly activate the injured area.
Sprained ankle? Pull and stroke drills in the pool are ok. Kickboard and running are not.
Shoulder issues? Probably shouldn’t do pull-ups, stick with running and riding inside where you can avoid putting much weight on the handlebars.
As you are recovering from an injury, always refer to your healthcare professional and coach, follow the recovery they have for you!
If you aren’t working with someone, it’s better to be safe than sorry. 5 days off is better than 5 years off because you refused to allow an injury to heal.
Differentiating between them
A headache hurts. A blow to the head is an injury.
An interval hurts. A ripped hamstring is an injury.
If it’s still an issue after a warmup, stop. You can turn “hurts” into “injury” so be sure that doesn’t happen.
Every situation will be different, and what you can do while you are hurting or injured is going to be different.
If you aren’t sure whether you should proceed with training, consult with a local physical therapist. Call a gym near you and I’m sure they’ll have recommendations for good ones!
Do your best with what you can (refer to training with an injury above). If you can’t train recover as best you can! What sets a lot of pros apart from amateurs is their willingness to give the body the recovery time it needs.
When was a time you were hurt or injured? How did you approach it?