Muscle soreness: When to push through the pain

Those of you who read my blog post on Tuesday know that I had an epic day of household chores and spent three hours weeding my gardens. I am not yet in “weeding shape”, so I woke up Tuesday feeling VERY sore in the hamstrings and back. image (4)

Monday was my day off of training, but unfortunately I forgot how hard weeding is on your body. I am now in the “build” phase of my triathlon training, so I couldn’t very well take an easy day on Tuesday just because I was sore.

On Tuesday, I had a 3X8 minute tempo run workout in the morning, and then a 4X500 meter swim workout in the evening. I knew the swim wouldn’t be too bad because it was just my legs and back that were sore. I was concerned about the run though. My concern made me remember some guidelines I give my athletes when they are dealing with muscle soreness and wonder whether or not to push through the pain. I often ignore my own advice, but his time, I decided to “obey” it.

1) If your soreness/pain is affecting your gait (your running form), you should not run.

2) If your soreness/pain increases while you run, you should stop.

3) If your soreness/pain decreases once you are warmed up, you are good to keep running.

4) If your soreness/pain worseness the following day, you did too much and should back off.

Well, right from the start, I was feeling stiff, but I didn’t notice my form being affected. Also, as I loosened up, the soreness seemed to subside, so I decided to continue on with the workout. Thankfully it was “just” a tempo, so the pace wasn’t crazy fast. When I finished, I was tired and felt pretty stiff, but not worse than when I started. DSC05400

Wednesday morning I woke up feeling sore still, but not AS bad as Tuesday morning. I had a VERY hard bike workout scheduled and was super nervous about it, especially since I wasn’t feeling 100%. The workout was 2X20 minutes at 96% of my max FTP. I’d never done that before, and it sounded nearly impossible to me. I told John I wasn’t sure if I could do it, so he told me if it was too hard, I could just do a recovery day. I don’t know if you’re like this, but whenever my coach tells me I don’t have to do a workout if it’s “too hard”, I automatically tell myself I’m going to conquer it! Psychological, I know, but I knew before I even got through the warm up that I was going to make myself do the workout. It was SUPER hard, but my hamstrings felt fine the whole time, AND when I finished, I actually wasn’t sore anymore! I made sure to have an extra serving of Recoverite after so that I didn’t get sore from the bike workout :) So far, so good this morning. Hoping for a successful run workout today!

What do you do when you’re feeling sore from a workout a day or two prior to your next workout? Do you take a recovery day, or do you power through? Have you ever hurt yourself because you pushed through the pain?

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