|We hear all the time that it is important to push……to get the most out of your workout.
…to get the highest grade.
…to be the best that you can be.
…to beat the other team.
You get my point. We hear it all the time. In fact, I can still hear high school coaches yelling from the sidelines about pushing harder to beat the other team and my parents pushing me to study or work harder. At some point, though, it becomes our responsibility to not only push ourselves harder but to also know when to stop. If you don’t know when to stop or seek help, you risk injuring yourself.
Let me tell you a little story about my injury. Several years ago, my heel started hurting when I ran. The pain would go away after I was warmed up but it was definitely there when I started. Because the pain went away after a bit of time, I thought nothing of it and kept running. I was lucky; I had a doctor’s appointment already scheduled so I decided to just wait for that appointment to ask about this pain. The doctor told me that she thought I had plantar fasciitis.
For those of you unfamiliar, the plantar fascia is a ligament that connects your heel to your toes and supports the foot arch. When you strain this ligament, it gets weak, swollen and irritated (otherwise known as inflamed). This causes pain in your heel when you stand or walk. As you walk and move, the ligament becomes stretched and warmed up which causes the pain to subside which is why typically at the end of my run the pain would be gone. The doctor prescribed Naproxen (an anti-inflammatory), I bought a new pair of sneakers, and my heel recovered fairly quickly after that.
Fast forward about 3 years… Last spring, my heel started hurting again. Thinking that I knew what it was – I took ibuprofen and bought a new pair of running shoes. Only this time, the pain didn’t stop. I knew that I should see a doctor but just didn’t because I thought that it would eventually go away as it had previously. I kept running for about 8 months and the pain became worse and worse. When I finally saw my doctor, she prescribed an anti-inflammatory and sent me to a podiatrist. A confirmed diagnosis, night splint, orthotics, and three cortisone shots later… I really wish that I had listened to myself and seen a doctor as soon as I felt the initial pain.
I haven’t run since the cortisone shots in January and I still feel heel pain. This is a case where I really wish that I had listened to my gut. I knew that the pain was getting worse but I thought I could push through it. It is important to push hard when you exercise but sometimes we push too far and get injured.
So, my question for you is, how do you know when to push and when to stop? How do you know when you’ve reached the limit?