This week's post is all about pain...???
by on Monday, May 11, 2015  (2 comments)

I hope nobody gets the wrong impression. I really don't think running should be such a painful thing. That said, I have two pain related topics for today. Gender specific injury prevention and our memories of painful events.

Gender specific injury prevention

This seems like an interesting topic to me. Let's be honest. As much as I love the sport of running because it's so open to all people, all ages, all genders, men and women are different even when it comes to running. There are some differences in our physiology that simply can not be overlooked.

How might those differences affect our susceptibility to injury? Well, Alex Hutchinson came across an interesting study on that topic.

Comparing within each sex, the injured female runners displayed greater hip rotation than healthy female runners. The same pattern didn’t show up in men, though; instead, injured male runners had greater ankle rotation than healthy males. So while the end result is the same, “females develop this injury from a hip-down perspective while men develop it from a foot-up perspective,” Ferber says.

Now, that's an interesting result. The suggestion was that women should focus on hip strength to reduce injury risk while men should focus on foot and lower leg strength. I'd suggest that all runners should pay at least some attention to all these areas but it may be worth considering where an additional focus is given if you have a history of problems.

Our memory of pain

Think back to your last marathon. If you haven't run a marathon, think back to your big race last year. What do you remember? The accomplishment? The sense of achievement you felt when you realized you hit your goal? Oh yeah, it hurt some also, didn't it?

I suppose this shouldn't be surprising but you probably have forgotten more about the pain than about the accomplishment.

In short, that's exactly what happens. You remember the sense of accomplishment. The memory of the pain it took to get there fades.

What can we do with this? The article suggests trying to associate the pain during a race with the sense of accomplishment that is coming at the end because that's what your future self will do. More practically, I'm not sure but it's interesting to think about and I thought worth a share.

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Its funny that when the going get tough during a race We just want to finish, when you are huffing and puffing is hard to think about the accomplishment ahead, but its possible if you put the head down and try to focus on the task at hand!

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I can easily think back on races and recall the ones where I focused on the accomplishment I was going for and how much it would mean to me compared to the ones where I simply wanted to get to the finish line. I'm sure anyone could guess which mindset led to the better results and which led to letting off the gas pedal just a bit.

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