Real Life Runners with Angie and Kevin Brown

328: Understanding and Managing Running Discomfort: Fatigue, Soreness and Pain

October 12, 2023 Angie Brown
328: Understanding and Managing Running Discomfort: Fatigue, Soreness and Pain
Real Life Runners with Angie and Kevin Brown
More Info
Real Life Runners with Angie and Kevin Brown
328: Understanding and Managing Running Discomfort: Fatigue, Soreness and Pain
Oct 12, 2023
Angie Brown

Send us a Text Message.

Feeling fatigued, sore, or experiencing pain after a run? You're certainly not alone. On today's Real Life Runners podcast, we're diving into understanding these discomforts and how to manage them for a better running experience. We break down the difference between fatigue, soreness and pain and discuss how recognizing these signals can help in making informed decisions about your running progression. We're all about effort-based training and believe that while running should be comfortable most of the time, embracing discomfort can lead to progress.

It’s easy to ignore fatigue, but we share how to recognize when your body is crying out for more rest and recovery. We also explain how fatigue can manifest as an aching or burning sensation during a run. 

We then navigate through the topic of muscle soreness and stiffness, offering practical tips on staying active to alleviate discomfort. We clarify the difference between stiffness and soreness and the role of post-run recovery in reducing them. We also discuss how to encourage your body’s natural repair process. Lastly, we explore when discomfort might signal a serious injury and when it's okay to push through. So tune in for an episode jam-packed with insights, tips, and advice to boost your running journey. Remember, understanding your body is the first step towards a more effective and enjoyable running experience.

Sign up for the workshop at www.realliferunners.com/workshop

To join the Academy waitlist, click here.


Thanks for Listening!!

Be sure to hit FOLLOW on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player

Leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Your ratings and reviews really help and we read each one!



Grab your free Strength Guide for Runners here.

Interested in our coaching program? Check out our coaching options here.

Grab your free copy of the Running Snapshot by clicking here.

Come find us on Instagram and say hi!





Don't forget: The information on this website is not intended to treat or diagnose any medical condition or to provide medical advice. It is intended for general education in the areas of health and wellness. All information contained in this site is intended to be educational in nature. Nothing should be considered medical advice for your specific situation.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Feeling fatigued, sore, or experiencing pain after a run? You're certainly not alone. On today's Real Life Runners podcast, we're diving into understanding these discomforts and how to manage them for a better running experience. We break down the difference between fatigue, soreness and pain and discuss how recognizing these signals can help in making informed decisions about your running progression. We're all about effort-based training and believe that while running should be comfortable most of the time, embracing discomfort can lead to progress.

It’s easy to ignore fatigue, but we share how to recognize when your body is crying out for more rest and recovery. We also explain how fatigue can manifest as an aching or burning sensation during a run. 

We then navigate through the topic of muscle soreness and stiffness, offering practical tips on staying active to alleviate discomfort. We clarify the difference between stiffness and soreness and the role of post-run recovery in reducing them. We also discuss how to encourage your body’s natural repair process. Lastly, we explore when discomfort might signal a serious injury and when it's okay to push through. So tune in for an episode jam-packed with insights, tips, and advice to boost your running journey. Remember, understanding your body is the first step towards a more effective and enjoyable running experience.

Sign up for the workshop at www.realliferunners.com/workshop

To join the Academy waitlist, click here.


Thanks for Listening!!

Be sure to hit FOLLOW on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player

Leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Your ratings and reviews really help and we read each one!



Grab your free Strength Guide for Runners here.

Interested in our coaching program? Check out our coaching options here.

Grab your free copy of the Running Snapshot by clicking here.

Come find us on Instagram and say hi!





Don't forget: The information on this website is not intended to treat or diagnose any medical condition or to provide medical advice. It is intended for general education in the areas of health and wellness. All information contained in this site is intended to be educational in nature. Nothing should be considered medical advice for your specific situation.

Speaker 1:

This is the Real Life Runners podcast, episode number 328. The difference between fatigue, soreness and pain. If you're looking for ways to bring more joy into your running and you want to be a physically and mentally stronger runner, you're in the right place.

Speaker 2:

This is the Real Life Runners podcast, and we're your hosts, Kevin and Angie Brown. Thanks for spending some time with us today. Now let's get running.

Speaker 1:

What's up? Runners, Welcome to the podcast today. Before we jump into today's episode, I just want to give a big shout out to all of our brand new Academy members that decided to sign up for the Academy last week when we were enrolling new members. We're so excited that you guys have decided to invest in yourself and invest in your running and your health, and we're so excited that we are now on this journey with you.

Speaker 2:

I always love the new runners. New runners are coming in.

Speaker 1:

Kevin was like looking at me. It looked like you wanted to say something.

Speaker 2:

I feel like I want to say thank you also, but you're in the middle of a sentence.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and shout out to all of our runners that ran the Chicago Marathon and all the races that they ran last weekend. All of you are so inspiring and it's just. We are so grateful and so blessed to be your coaches and be a small part of your running journey. To all of you that listened to the podcast, thank you for being here, even if you are not technically one of our clients. We like to think of all of our listeners as our runners as well, and hopefully you think of us as your coaches also, or get some sort of coaching advice from us by listening to this podcast.

Speaker 2:

I feel like there's probably people that listen to ours and a few other podcasts also. We're one of multiple running coaches that they have. Totally, I mean, I'm okay with that.

Speaker 1:

I have lots of business coaches and business mentors and they don't know and they don't know, and that's totally cool.

Speaker 1:

So, whoever you are and however you choose to invest your time, your energy, whatever it is that you're investing here at Real Life Runner, just know that we appreciate you and we see you and we are so grateful to be a part of your journey. So today we are talking all about pain, fatigue and soreness, because these three things are very different and they are often confused, and so today we really want to talk about what the difference is between pain, fatigue and soreness, so that you can make decisions that will help you in your running, because running, especially any faster, longer or challenging types of workouts, can be exhausting, and the body's job is to keep us safe. The brain's job I should say not really the body, the brain's job is to keep us safe, and so whenever we push ourselves hard, whenever we push ourselves out of our comfort zone which, let's face it, sometimes just going out for a run is putting us outside of our comfort zone- yeah, I know, I agree with that.

Speaker 1:

So, especially if we're trying to push ourselves harder, if we're trying to get faster, if we're trying to run longer, if we're trying to do speed workouts, our body is often sending warning signals to protect us, and I think that oftentimes we get these signals confused. We interpret them either correctly or incorrectly. We interpret them to mean something, and so today we want to help you kind of sort through those things and like the signals that your body is giving you so that you can figure out what you want to do with that information.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's going to be a remarkably uncomfortable podcast for everybody involved here.

Speaker 1:

Why.

Speaker 2:

Because we're talking about pain and fatigue and soreness. It's going to be an uncomfortable podcast. That's one interpretation.

Speaker 1:

Excellent.

Speaker 2:

Well played.

Speaker 1:

I don't think it has to be uncomfortable.

Speaker 2:

I was just trying to go for the pun. It's all I was going for. I was aiming for the pun. An uncomfortable podcast.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, because it's all about nothing. No.

Speaker 2:

Dang it. I'm getting the same look that he got from our teenage daughter when I dropped another dad pun on her.

Speaker 1:

Bruh, bruh, what are you doing, bruh, no, Sorry, no, I'm your dad, do not call me Bruh Okay, so that's what we really want to talk about today is we want to talk about some of these signals that our body sends us and then figure out what we want to do with them. Because oftentimes, if you are getting these types of signals from your body and when we talk about what signals that we're talking about signs of discomfort, of uncomfortableness, from there you go, there, you go For Kevin, but at any sign of discomfort, if you stop or slow down anytime you feel uncomfortable, you're just not going to make progress in your running. We'll just, we'll just put it out there, right there, because there is an element of running that is uncomfortable, especially if you are trying to push yourself beyond your current limits. And if you listen to this podcast for any length of time, you know that we are big proponents of easy running and effort-based training.

Speaker 1:

I know that some of you joined me last week on my effort-based training class that I gave out. We did a. I did a free class last week and that was a lot of fun to connect with you and teach you more about effort-based training. And we are big proponents of effort-based training and, specifically, running easier for longer periods of time, not pushing yourself so hard so that you can get better results. And with that being said, we also know that there are some things that we have to do in running, especially if you want to improve, that are not comfortable, and so if you stop or slow down anytime discomfort happens, you're just not going to be making the progress that you want.

Speaker 2:

Right, I feel like a lot of people like to clean the idea that running is always uncomfortable and it's not. Running should be comfortable most of the time, but when it's uncomfortable, you kind of have to lean into that uncomfortable aspect and be like that's actually what's supposed to be happening on this particular workout. That's how I'm supposed to be feeling, not. Oh, that doesn't feel perfect, so I'm done running for today, or I have to slow down, I have to cut the workout short. Whatever it is, you don't. If you're in the middle of a difficult workout, it's going to feel not like you know, rainbows and unicorns, like it's going to be uncomfortable.

Speaker 1:

Right. So let's go into the three main things that we want to talk about this today, which are fatigue, soreness and pain. And let's start with fatigue, because fatigue is part of the process. There are going to be times where your legs feel tired, your body feels tired. There are just going to be times when you are tired.

Speaker 1:

I woke up this morning exhausted, and not because I've been working out really hard lately I mean, I've been consistent like I always am and but we were out of town this weekend for one of our daughters Dance competitions, and so it was just a lot of time in the car, traveling, sleeping in a bed that was not comfortable and a much smaller bed than we're typically used to Eating food that I'm not used to eating. So, like our whole routine and my body and everything was just kind of off, and so when I woke up this morning, my body definitely felt it. I was definitely tired when I woke up this morning. Welcome to life. Right, there are going to be days that we're tired, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't run and that does not mean that we should just skip a workout Just because we're tired, because if we skip a workout or if we skip a run Every time we're tired. It's probably going to lead to not getting faster and not improving your endurance very much.

Speaker 2:

I mean, if I'm skipping every workout until I don't feel tired, I think I'll work out again once the kids are off to college. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

Speaker 1:

But then we're going to be older too, and so then you're just going to be. You're gonna be older and you haven't been working out. I've been working out so you're not gonna have like the energy from exercise and you're probably going to not be as healthy as you currently are, right, so that will probably make you even more tired.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so I'm just gonna go ahead and go for it like right.

Speaker 1:

We joke that you know you're just chronically tired after you have your first child, right like for the rest of your life. I think I saw a meme about that the other day. That was just like laugh out loud. Yes.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean that seems right like you're always gonna be in a little bit and there are days that you're not. There are days that you Feel fine. There are days that you're like you know what I actually did? I got good sleep last night and now I feel fine, but it's okay to be a little bit tired and to still go out and run. It just it's part of your existence. You don't want to be constantly Unbelievably exhausted, dragging yourself out of bed, being like, alright, I still have to get in my workout, because that leads to problems also.

Speaker 1:

Right, and that's the difference between acute fatigue and chronic fatigue, and chronic fatigue is Problematic and can be problematic, and that's really where we would start to look more to. Are you over training? Are you overdoing it? Are you getting enough sleep and rest and recovery, or are you just kind of burning yourself into the ground? That's a different story. That's not what we're talking about today, necessarily. When we're talking about Fatigue today, we're talking about, you know, those days where you wake up You're feeling tired. Maybe you're Feeling okay overall, but your legs just feel tired. I know that you were experiencing that today after your long run yesterday.

Speaker 2:

I mean I've got a combination of fatigue and soreness, I'd have to say, but I definitely I overslept my alarm this morning. I was going to get up and run, and After this weekend you tend to oversleep your alarm a lot on.

Speaker 1:

Monday yes, yeah, if I go, you think that's a case of the Mondays, or do you think that is more related to your Sunday long run?

Speaker 2:

There's a hundred percent a case of the Sundays is what that is Like. If I go real long on Sunday or if I ever do like a big double weekend, like a Saturday and Sunday, I Very often oversleep that that Monday.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I would say. There's many times that you oversleep on Monday over the last couple months.

Speaker 2:

And if I've got, I've got the the cross country season sort of planned out. So I also have it in my head and it's not like a conscious decision, but I have it in my head that I know what the cross country team is going to do today, whether I would be able to run during practice or not.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so you always have that backup. Well, I think that sometimes, or a lot of times, when we give ourselves a backup, then that will give us more of a tendency to just go ahead and hit this news button and not get it in, because we know that we have a backup plan when I sleep, when I oversleep, I have no idea.

Speaker 2:

My alarm went off. Yeah did you hear my alarm? I did not hear my alarm this morning?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I don't think so.

Speaker 2:

No, not at all.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean, sometimes I hear yours, but oftentimes I don't like. You very rarely wake me up in the morning Until you come back from your shower, and every now and then the our bedroom door will open and I will be. I will be awake and Hoping that it's you leaving for your run and not coming back from your run, because you leaving front for your run means that I get to sleep for like another hour and a half and you coming back from the run means it's time to get up now, angie.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, last week I came back from a run, I cracked the door and you immediately cursed at me.

Speaker 1:

I did not. I did not say a bad word, I think it just grunted.

Speaker 2:

No, just an endless string of profanity, as Angie is is prone to doing when she first wakes up in the morning.

Speaker 1:

Actually, I did not curse at you, did I?

Speaker 2:

think you know I did not.

Speaker 1:

I don't believe you.

Speaker 2:

I think I was like, uh, like I think I grunted at you, I mean you didn't let out a string of profanity, but I'm pretty sure you said a bad word.

Speaker 1:

Which one?

Speaker 2:

I think it may have started with S and ended with hit, oh man.

Speaker 1:

Well, you know, sometimes we're just tired and you, we can't control we can't control what comes out of our mouth.

Speaker 1:

So If, if you know so, when we kind of go into figuring out, okay, is this fatigue, is this soreness, is this pain? Fatigue can start to feel like that aching, burning sensation that you get in your legs during a run or during a workout, especially if it's a harder run or a harder workout and your body starts to produce byproducts, like whenever you burn energy, whenever your body is Metabolizing energy, there are byproducts that are produced in your legs which lead to fatigue because you're not able to convert enough energy to supply the muscles and all the body Systems with the proper energy that that they need in order for you to be able to sustain that level of running.

Speaker 2:

So you just start getting tired, like if you're out there and the workouts getting long or the you're doing a long run and you're on the back half of the long run and you've been out there for a while. That's just fatigue. Everything's kind of achy and and burning in your pace may start to drop off. You may be thinking to yourself I'm, I feel like I'm still running the same effort level, but I definitely just hit my last mile 20 seconds slower and the one before that even 20 seconds slower, or or you're you're tied to that watch. Maybe you're that person that's tied to the watching like I keep hitting the same Mile splits, but my effort level is definitely increasing. This was an L2 out of 10, but then it kind of climbed into a 3 and maybe a 4 and I might be a bit of 5 by this point in time. That's fatigue. That's fatigue coming on and you know there's, there's byproducts in there. There's little micro tears and muscles, depending on if you're going long or if you're going fast.

Speaker 1:

What kind of things micro tears are more related to soreness, though okay. So we're talking about right now is more fatigue, because when we're talking about fatigue, we're not talking about tearing muscles and and those kinds of things, but we are talking about running out of energy.

Speaker 1:

Well, yeah, yeah, we're basically talking about running out of energy and and this often improves with sleep with you sleep, you're going to be less tired, right, and Fatigue if it. If it's fatigue, one of the things that you will notice, too, is that, as the workout gets longer, you kind of continue to get more and more tired, unless you stop and take a break, hydrate or refuel.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so if you're looking at something where you're literally just running out of gas, if you do something that helps put more gas back in the tank Whether it could just be a fueling is a hydration issue, but it it's probably like a caloric issue.

Speaker 1:

So if you take in some sort of energy and you start feeling better, that was probably simply fatigue that was going on in there right, and so what you often want to keep in mind too is that other life factors or other stressors in your life can be Contributing to your sense of fatigue. So, for example, maybe you did get a bunch of sleep last night. Maybe you are thinking to yourself I don't understand why I'm so tired. I've been getting sleep all this week like I've been getting seven to eight hours of sleep, so I don't know why I feel so tired. I hope I'm not getting injured.

Speaker 1:

Why are my legs feeling so heavy? Like because have fatigue often feels like burning, aching, heaviness feeling in the legs, and Sometimes that happens because of all the other stuff going on in your life. Stress has a sensation of heaviness, at least the way that I experience like. I think that, like when I have a lot of stress in my life whether it's physical stress, emotional stress, mental stress there's just this sense of heaviness on top of me, and I think that that can sometimes translate into my running.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so I feel fatigue. I think that it kind of splits depending on whether you're going. You're doing like a faster workout and you're getting towards the back end of it. Then you start getting this like burning sensation because you're like, alright, I am tired and I would like to be done with this wrap, this set, whatever it is. Or You're going off on a long run and you're getting towards the end of it and you're just you're completely running in both of them you're running out of fuel. I feel like one of them shows up as burning and one of them shows up as heavy, and Both of those are our fatigue issues. If you have life fatigue on top of it, both those sensations whether the burning in a speed workout or the heaviness in a long run they're just gonna show up earlier. Is really what it is, because you're already starting essentially like Pre-fatigued, because you're mentally tired, before you physically start putting a challenge on to it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, because we all know that there's a huge mental aspect to run in. So if you're already fried mentally because of other things that are going on, it's going to be very hard for you to complete a harder run, a longer run, a longer workout, because of the mental focus and Mental endurance that it takes for you to be out there and be able to push yourself to certain levels.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean some of the workouts that we've been doing with our cross-country team lately. I've been pacing a lot and high school kids have crazy amounts of stress, not even for the most stressful things. Don't get me wrong. Some of them have huge, actual stresses in their life, but most of them blow up minor things to huge, unbelievable, life-changing consequences that don't actually exist. But they're under this enormous stress. So when we go out and it's like all right, we want you to try and hit this this time for your particular workout. It's a whole heck of a lot easier for them to just run next to me, run right behind me, stay right in front of me, whatever it is, then to try and figure out what that paces themselves, because it takes the mental challenge out of it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, which is good and bad, right like it's. It can be very useful If we want them to hit certain times or to be able to push themselves to certain level, to just turn off their brain and go. Part of that is also showing them that they're able to do that, that they are able to. In fact, when you turn off your brain, you are able to hit these kinds of paces right, so that's a very helpful thing. At the same time, you're not in the race with them, so they do need workouts that also challenge them mentally so they can develop that mental strength and mental endurance for Racing on their own.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean this is a good, good point for Anybody training for racing at any level. If you're always doing workouts with your group of friends and your friends aren't doing the same race you are you're gonna need to figure out how to train, how to pace yourself on your own, yeah. And or if during some of your work, during some of your workouts not all of them, like you said like you can get some benefits from this, but you can also get benefits by purposely avoiding this and putting the mental challenge of trying to hit your paces.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so you can tell its fatigue if it improves with rest, with fueling, with hydration that those are usually good signs that in fact it was fatigue. Okay, moving on to soreness. So, like I just said before, fatigue is part of the process there. You're just going to feel tired at some point during your running. Sometimes it's before, sometimes it's during, sometimes it's after, sometimes it's all three right.

Speaker 1:

Soreness is also part of the process. When you are trying to get stronger, you are going to very likely Experience soreness. Soreness is not necessary. It is not a sign that you're doing good workouts, right? And we talked I talked a lot about that on when, my episode with dr Shannon Richie, so that's probably a month or two ago. If you guys want to go back in the archives and catch that episode, we can link it in the show notes as well. But Soreness is not required on every single day. You should not be sore every single day of your life. That's not what I'm saying, but it is part of the process. Whenever you're trying to get stronger, soreness is a natural byproduct. But what we don't want you to see is you taking too much time off Because you're sore all the time. Because if you take too much time off just because you're sore, then you're not going to be making the progress that you want to be making, because you're gonna be missing valuable training time.

Speaker 2:

Right like this is. This is the balance that you have to have. Every workout should not lead to soreness. But if, if you get sore, you don't have to immediately take two days off and then hit another workout that gets you sore and take two days off and then another workout that gets you sore, you should be able to go out and have runs that are comfortable enough that you don't get sore and have to then follow them with time off. You should also be able to handle some level of soreness and then still be able to go work out the next day.

Speaker 1:

Right, because soreness is a normal training adaptation. This is one of the things that happens, because when we work out, we break our body down. So, especially if you're strength training, if you're doing speed workouts, if you're doing runs that are longer than your normal runs, any time you're pushing your body, what you are doing is actually breaking your body down during those workouts, and it is during the rest and recovery and refueling process that the body builds back stronger than it was before. So how do you know it's soreness? Oftentimes, muscles and joints may feel achy, sore or tender to touch, and usually soreness is movement related.

Speaker 1:

Right, I think that a lot of people Experience soreness and they think, oh no, something's wrong. There's, there's an injury flaring up. I better take some time off. I just I'm not gonna run for a couple days Because I don't want to be injured. And they often see soreness as a huge red flag Versus kind of a yellow, orange flag of hey, you know, pay attention a little bit. This is not something that we want to just completely ignore. We want to pay attention to soreness, but it's not something that we need to automatically take multiple days off and not work out again Until we don't feel sore anymore.

Speaker 2:

Okay. So when you say this is movement related, do you mean that moving Increases the soreness, or like you got sore because of movements that you were doing? Like what does it is movement related mean because it's?

Speaker 1:

actually both. Okay it's yeah, but when I, when I wrote that it's it's movement related, that's usually when you feel soreness, like you can feel sore just sitting still like if you're really sore. You really soreness but like, oftentimes it's, you know, like after leg day, when you're like getting up and down off the toilet, that's when you feel sore. Right, it's that sitting motion You're like oh, here we go. You know, that's what I mean. It's like that's muscle soreness that's caused by exercise. You often feel it when you're changing positions or moving around.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so today I was fatigued and sore because when I was sitting at my desk, I wanted to take a nap, because I was tired. Yeah but then when I had to get up from my desk and like, walk around the room, talk to students, go to the bathroom, I was walking a little funny, especially for like the first five to ten steps. So that's the movement related soreness.

Speaker 1:

It is and this is the funny part because it is movement related and, at the same time, gentle movements and activity often help to relieve the soreness.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, because when I get up and start walking, it's those first few steps, and everybody knows right, those first few steps are brutal. Like you look like the tin man walking around, like you're like I kind of feel like I should move my knee, but it almost feels better if I just walked with perfectly straight legs. No, it doesn't like, just try to walk as normally as possible and after a few steps You're going to be able to start actually walking normally exactly, and I think that this is one of the things that people do wrong.

Speaker 1:

Also is they kind of baby the area and they don't want to move it through the full range of motion because it's sore, especially, especially at the beginning right, like especially those first couple of steps or those first couple of movements. But the more you actually move through the range of motion gently, the better you're actually going to feel gently.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and that's the key and that's one of the things we talked to. Like our marathoners about, those of you that you know Did Chicago over the weekend First of all, congratulations, that's amazing. Second of all, going out for some gentle like walks, or even like walking in the pool, or some gentle swimming, can often help to relieve a Lot of that post-race soreness that people experience, versus just lying down and taking a nap.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean post long run. Sometimes, especially over the summer, I like to end in the pool One, because it's four billion degrees here, but also all in in the pool, and then I'll just sit on the steps and let my legs float around for a little bit. I'll do like you know, kicking my legs and Chris.

Speaker 2:

Chris, crossing my legs and stuff like that, just moving them in a different range of motion and that's one of the other things is not just the same running motion but like a side-to-side motion, a different range of motion, so that everything's not just so stiff and tight, because I feel like stiffness and soreness are related to each other. Is there a reason why those are related to each other? Is like my body over compensating for, like this muscle being so tired and beat up? You said this is where the micro tears are actually coming in. So do I have. Like my primary muscle is like beat up, so my secondary muscles are overworking and overcompensating for what?

Speaker 1:

So, talking about stiffness or soreness.

Speaker 2:

So my, my quads are stiff, so in your mind.

Speaker 1:

What's the difference between stiffness and soreness?

Speaker 2:

I feel like they're very related to each other.

Speaker 1:

They are like what I'm, but you just brought them up as like two different things.

Speaker 2:

So okay, so when I like, in your mind.

Speaker 1:

How do you think about it?

Speaker 2:

when I'm sore, I feel like I walk really, really tight and I I therefore like, I look like I'm all stiff, but what I actually am is sore, so I don't know if they are the same thing or not.

Speaker 1:

They are related there, I would not call them the same thing. Well, like, okay, think about, think back to your physics. Here we go. Okay, I know you're like math teacher now, but you're also a physics teacher, right, I am dual certified. What is what is stiffness Like it's, it's a property of an object, Sure Right. So what is stiffness You're?

Speaker 2:

in a civil engineering?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so resistance to change Sure Isn't that essentially what stiffness is Okay?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean, we could, we could look it up and get some definitions. I mean you gave me the definition of inertia there. But yes, I'll, I'll go with stiffness as a resistance to change.

Speaker 1:

Okay, that's true, inertia is resistance to change, and that is the physics definition. But when I was thinking of stiffness, I was thinking of, I guess, more of like firmness, hardness, not, uh, resistance to bending, not wanting to bend or break.

Speaker 2:

Right, so you were thinking of, of stiffness, like a spring, which makes the most sense from your you know Kinesiology background Exactly. Right, I was thinking stiffness, like an iron beam, like you can't bend it, but it's really more like a spring, like you can't stretch it as much Like it's a stiff spring. It's both. It is both yeah.

Speaker 1:

It is both, but that's kind of what I was thinking about. So specifically muscle stiffness, right. So when we have soreness it's a result of the body being broken down and creating those micro tears in the muscle, because we're breaking the body down and then the fixer cells come in and make the body stronger than it was before. So when that is happening, when that inflammatory process is happening in the body, there is resistance to change. We want to keep everything kind of tight and packed in so that they can kind of go in and do their job. So the equivalent of construction being done on the road and they're blocking off that area so that they can do construction on that area and not be bothered by all the other movement and traffic going on.

Speaker 2:

It'd be really hard to like repave the road if you also had cars driving on it simultaneously.

Speaker 1:

Exactly, and so that kind of is what happens in our body as well. We essentially the construction crew comes in, the fixer cells come in and they kind of block off that area as much as possible, and that's what the stiffness and the soreness help to protect, because we don't want, like the fixer cells that are coming in to try to repair that area, are trying to do so with as little disruption as possible, and the more we move, the more that area is disrupted. Does that make sense? That makes sense.

Speaker 2:

But if we have like a lower level of inflammation, the fixer cells come in and they do their job. We're going to get a little bit of inflammation. People get freaked out. They're like I'm all inflamed. I got to, you know, ice bath and this, that and the other thing.

Speaker 1:

But some of them. We want inflammation.

Speaker 2:

We want appropriate levels of inflammation so we can actually like then improve from that point. But you said that movement is a good thing when we're a little bit sore and feeling stiff. Movement is a good thing because it prevents us from getting too inflamed. It prevents the construction crew from just like taking a lunch break and setting up shop there and hanging out like what do we got?

Speaker 1:

here. That's a great analogy. Yes, because oftentimes our body can overdo things and does not always know when to stop or when to quit, kind of like a three year old Sure Right. So it's like when, when you're or someone's singing that song that never ends, right, like there's, you have to cut it off at some point, and sometimes our body gets into a cycle of inflammation, and this is when inflammation can become. A problem is when it's a cycle that, like the body doesn't know how to shut it off or when to shut it off, like, essentially, what should happen is you break down that part of the body. The body comes in with an inflammatory response, it fixes the area and then it leaves, but it doesn't always leave as quickly as it should.

Speaker 2:

So to encourage the leaving you move. Gentle movement helps the blood flow, helps helps clear the it helps clear the cleanup crew out of there.

Speaker 1:

Exactly. It's like you know you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here. It's like the end of the night, right. Like you want the, the cleanup crew, to get out now. Like you've done your job well, done, now, get out, right.

Speaker 2:

But that's we're going to start playing piano man, we're going to turn the lights on and we're going to go for an easy jog, because everybody needs to go home.

Speaker 1:

Right, and that's why gentle movement can actually help stiffness the beginning, like when you first get up out of the chair right, like when you're in that long car ride. Like you, we sat in a car for four hours yesterday. You had run 18 miles on a treadmill. I ran seven miles on a treadmill and then we spent the rest of the day at a dance competition and then we got in a car and drove for four hours on the positive, I moved a lot before we got in the car there was a lot of movement.

Speaker 2:

I think that was helpful.

Speaker 1:

It was for sure. It's not like you ran the 18 miles and then got right in the car which would have been rough.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, because any, but anytime and I think we all have experienced this on any level of road trip or airplane trip, really any any sort of travel if you're sitting in one position for an extended period of time, your body stiffens up because it's just, it's not movement, you're resisting the movement. So when you first stand up, you feel a little stiff, you feel a little sore, because fluid has kind of accumulated in your joints or in those muscles and so you brought your body. When you start to gently move, it starts to kind of flush those things out and it takes those shortened muscles that have, like, if you've been sitting, your hip flexors are in a shortened position, and now you stand up and all of a sudden you're lengthening those hip flexor muscles and your body's like whoa, what's going on? Yeah, right and so. But the more you do it and the more you gently move through your range of motion and kind of move into some of those more uncomfortable ranges, your body starts to like oh, yeah, yeah, this, this is good, this feels good.

Speaker 1:

And oftentimes when we're sore or when, when some people are sore, I see them avoiding movement, which is really the opposite of what you want to be doing. You want, like if you are sore, you want to be moving through as much range of motion as possible. You want to gently be kind of doing those movements. I was about to say stretching, which is why I hesitated. You shouldn't be stretching per se, but it's just more moving mobility.

Speaker 2:

It's the range of motion that you're working on here, which is why it was a good thing. Like I missed my run this morning, but then I was able to run with the kids at practice and their paces and my paces are not exactly the same thing, so I was able to run and pace the kids through through some of their their workout that they were doing because I got to run and keep taking regular breaks in the middle of it, Like it was a great way for me to get in a relatively easy run for me.

Speaker 1:

Right, and one of the things that I want you to understand is there is this phenomenon called DOMS, which it stands for delayed onset of muscle soreness, and it usually happens one to two days after exercise, one to two days after a harder workout, and if it lasts one to two days, it's totally normal and totally fine.

Speaker 1:

If it lasts for more than two days, that could be a sign of overtraining or under recovery and that can lead to injury. Okay, if, if you just continue to train and your soreness is just lasting and lasting and lasting, or if it's getting worse, those are kind of the signs that you want to think of as more red flags of okay, maybe I need some more recovery here, maybe I do actually need to take some time off, maybe this is something more than soreness, okay, and that's what we're going to get into in the next part. But for what we're talking about right now, if you are experiencing muscle soreness, it's something that is gradually improving. It lasts about one to two days after a harder workout, and movement gentle movement usually helps it feel better.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so I have a question on doms delayed onset, muscle soreness. Do you feel sore after the workout?

Speaker 1:

Like right after yeah, not usually, not usually, not for, not for dons, not for dons, like there are different. There's another type of muscle soreness that you feel sore right then, like during or right after the workout.

Speaker 2:

So the fun part of the workout and soreness is that you could feel sore afterwards. Then it kind of recovers, as as the day moves along you feel better and then you wake up the next day and you're all sore again.

Speaker 1:

Right. So a lot of times the stuff that we experience right like during or right after, is more fatigue versus actual soreness. I think there could, there can be a level of crossover Right, because you are actually tearing the muscles right, like those creating those micro tears in the muscles, and so you can experience some of that soreness. You're oftentimes it's more fatigue than soreness right away.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and it's fatigue, so any slight soreness that you're feeling is probably exacerbated in your head because you're mentally tired.

Speaker 1:

Exactly, exactly. So let's move on to pain. So before, in parts one and two, so far, we've talked about fatigue is part of the process. Soreness is part of the process. Number three pain is optional. Okay, and this is where I think a lot of us sometimes get it wrong. We think that pain is part of the process, that it's just, it's supposed to be painful, it's supposed to hurt, it's supposed to hurt all the time, and I think that that's where we runners tend to get it wrong a lot. We think that pain is normal and we just keep pushing through and oftentimes, if we keep pushing through, pain not soreness, not fatigue, but actual pain that can lead to injury and actually having being forced to take time off in order to recover.

Speaker 2:

And I mean sometimes if you push too hard through fatigue, that becomes like that chronic fatigue. If you push too hard through soreness, you're sore one day and you're like, yeah, they said that movement's good and they said that gentle movement's good, but I don't like to do things gently, so I'm gonna hit another hard workout. Now you've put soreness on top of soreness and then what the heck? Let's follow it up with a little more soreness and some fatigue on top of it and some fatigue on top. You're now moving from combining so much soreness and so much fatigue that it could just naturally glide its way right into pain.

Speaker 1:

Right, and I think that's where that's what happens a lot of times and that's what makes this confusing, because pain doesn't always feel like that sharp shooting, stabbing sensation. Sometimes it does Absolutely, and if it's a sharp shooting, stabbing type of sensation anywhere other than right under your rib cage, like a side stitch, you wanna stop whatever you're doing and reassess and figure out okay, do I need to actually take a break? Do I need to stop my workout? That's a different story. But like any sort of sharp shooting, stabbing type of pain, a side stitch is an exception. Like I and I tell our cross country kids this all the time. They're like coach, I can't even breathe. It's a stabbing pain. I'm like it's gonna be fine, it's a side stitch. It's a side stitch. It's not going to create any long term issues. If you have a stabbing pain in your calf muscle while you're running, that could create a bigger issue if you continue to run on it.

Speaker 2:

I've got another question, though what about the sharpness of plantar fasciitis?

Speaker 1:

Oh well, I mean you're getting into some very specifics right now I know.

Speaker 1:

But before we jump into that and remind me if you really do want me to answer that question, okay, but before we jump into that, going back to how this can get confusing, because I don't want to glaze past this when we are fatigued and sore, then, yes, day upon day of fatigue and soreness kind of just getting compounded on each other.

Speaker 1:

And when we're sore and we don't get enough sleep and we don't get enough recovery or we're not fueling the body, well, that can lead to fatigue on top of soreness, and fatigue and soreness can definitely lead to pain, and a lot of the times that pain is a dull, aching, burning type of sensation that we feel in the body. So it can be hard to distinguish between is this soreness, is this fatigue, or is this an actual pain? That I need to pay attention to, and one of the big ways that you can figure that out is how long does it last? What brings it on? How severe is it? Like? There's several factors that we can look at, and one of the big ones is is this an everyday thing? Is this getting worse? Is this getting better? Does movement help? Does sleep help? What is helping me to feel better, or is this just kind of there all the time, and it doesn't really seem to be getting better, no matter what I do.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean. One of the big ones that I've always been told since I got into running decades ago was does the pain only show up when you're running or does the pain stay with you once running is done? When you stop running, does the pain stop? Because I had shin splints when I was in high school and that pain lit up when I started running and then it would kind of fade away just because I was used to it. It was still.

Speaker 2:

It was kind of painful. It was not comfortable when I started running and it wasn't comfortable really when I ended running, but it was the same pain and so it was just what happened and when I stopped it felt fine. So I would throw ice on it on a regular basis and just kind of kept going through it until I stopped growing so much through high school and I kept strengthening calves and eventually it stopped being an issue. But that was just like a continuous pain. But it never got worse. It was just there when I would run and it didn't progress beyond that too. Pain all day long as I walked around.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and that's a lot of times when what I talked to about our cross country kids and this is the funny thing for me, being both a coach and a physical therapist is that sometimes I have to remember which hat I'm wearing and there's a huge overlap. I also have to understand that in order for me to coach these kids and also make progress. Maybe I'm not as conservative as I might be. I tend to be a more aggressive physical therapist. Anyway, in general, I'm not someone that just says, oh, we'll just take a couple days off. That's not how I treat really anyone. There's a lot of physical therapists and a lot of doctors out there that do. That is their advice.

Speaker 1:

Well, if it's hurting when you run and just stop running for a couple of days, then your pain should go away, which that's a lie. Please find somebody else if that's what they're telling you, because it's not that simple most of the time. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does go away, but if you're not actually treating the underlying cause of the problem, then most likely when you resume your activity level it's going to come back. But that's another topic for another day. What you just said there about the symptoms worsening is a really big key here Is that, yes, you have the pain and it's there, but is it getting better? Is it getting worse or is it not getting worse? Are you able to run through it Like it's there, you definitely can feel it, but it's not getting worse when you're running? I think that that's an important thing when you start to determine is this something that I need to take some time off? Is this something that I can run through? What should I do here?

Speaker 2:

And I think it depends on where the pain is, what the plan is. Do you have a race coming up? Is this something that perhaps not that you necessarily need to take time off, but maybe pull back on your running, increase some strength? Maybe you are experiencing pain because of a buildup of fatigue and a couple days off might give you a little reset in that fatigue.

Speaker 1:

It might be a really good thing.

Speaker 2:

Right, but just taking a couple days off and then going right back to grinding it out day upon day, you're gonna be right back where you are by the end of the week.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, well, and that just goes back to being able to identify the underlying root of what's going on. Is it over-training? Are you running too much? Are you doing too much hard workouts? Are you not strength training? Are you not doing enough mobility work? Are you under-fueling? Are you not getting enough sleep?

Speaker 1:

It's like going into problem-solving mode, like as coach, and this is one of the things that I love helping our runners do inside of the academy, because people think that we, as coaches, it's just our job to give advice, and that is not how I see my job as a coach at all Like.

Speaker 1:

Is advice part of it? Yes, it's a part of it, but I find my job as coaches to ask questions, ask really good questions to help the athlete figure out what's going on, because you know your body way better than I do. You know your lifestyle and your stress and all of these things way better than I do. There's no way for me to know what exactly is going on in every single one of my clients life down to the minute, the hour, the life stress, the family stress, all these things that are happening, but they know it. So me, as the coach, I need to ask the right questions to get them thinking okay, what could be at play here and what do I have control over, so that I can get this under control before it turns into a bigger problem?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean you went through a few underlying issues. It could be overtraining, and overtraining itself is a huge umbrella. Yeah, maybe it's it's doing too much hard work, maybe it's doing too much volume, maybe it's not recovering enough, maybe it's not fueling enough, like there's a lot of things that all kind of fall into this giant umbrella of overtraining, both whether you're pushing too hard or not recovering enough through either sleep or food.

Speaker 1:

Well, and that's what a lot of people are saying now too, there is no such thing as overtraining. There's only such a thing as under recovery. That's one of the trends out on social media.

Speaker 2:

There's a really cool, snazzy phrase. It's called overtraining.

Speaker 1:

It's just like the semantics. Yes, is it stiffness or storn? It's just linguine.

Speaker 2:

It might just be linguine. Linguine might be the answer. If you had a hard workout, you want to make sure that you're properly fueling, linguine might be the answer.

Speaker 1:

Yes, absolutely. But if you have pain and it's getting worse and it's doesn't seem to be getting better, no matter what you're doing, like if rest isn't helping, if fueling isn't helping, then you might need to get evaluated by a professional. If it's not improving after a few days or after a week, if you're doing things and you're seeing your symptoms improve, that's a good sign, right. Then maybe it's more of the soreness and the fatigue side of things and it's not an actual pain and actual problem with structuring your body.

Speaker 2:

Yes, if it's sharp and shooting and stabbing and it's not a side stitch and it's their day upon day. It might be really a good time to talk to a professional.

Speaker 1:

Exactly, so hopefully you guys understand or have a better idea about the difference between fatigue, soreness and pain. So the question then becomes how should we react when we experience discomfort? And there's a couple of questions that we want you to ask yourself to help figure this out.

Speaker 2:

I believe the answer is just panic. Right, is the answer panic.

Speaker 1:

Oh my god it's happening, oh no oh no, there it is.

Speaker 2:

It's the discomfort, it's happening, Okay.

Speaker 1:

so the first thing you want to ask yourself is how should I be feeling? Okay, what would be a normal thing for me to experience in this situation? Are you in the middle of a race? If you're in the middle of a race and you start having pain or discomfort or fatigue or soreness, all of those things are normal, right?

Speaker 1:

You're doing it right, you're doing it right, right, Like pain. Racing is a painful process and you know, painful, discomfort, uncomfortable, whatever term you want to use Like should you be having that sharp shooting, stabbing pain anywhere other than your side stitch? No, that would be something that you would want to kind of stop and reevaluate. But if you're in a race and you're starting to feel any other sort of discomfort, that's probably a part of the process. You know, I think that we oftentimes know in our gut whether or not it's something that's actually problematic.

Speaker 2:

If we're being truly honest with ourselves, I mean most of the discomfort that shows up in a race and you can call it pain, but it's soreness and fatigue.

Speaker 1:

And sometimes it feels very painful.

Speaker 2:

Soreness and fatigue can feel very painful.

Speaker 1:

Right, exactly. So just calling it soreness and fatigue does not undermine the severity or the intensity of the sensation that you're feeling.

Speaker 2:

No, but there's a difference between your legs feeling super heavy and like they're on fire and, and you know, tearing your ACL Like those are two different levels of pain.

Speaker 1:

Right, and the thing that you want to think about, too, is if you are having pain or discomfort in the middle of a race and this is a really big goal race for you, say, you've been training for months or years and you're running your first marathon you might be willing to run through the pain, regardless. If it's fatigue, soreness or actual pain, like you might going back to your plan or fascia issue or a calf issue, like you might actually have something physically wrong with you that is painful due to like a problem with a muscle or a joint or a bone, and you might make the choice to keep running Because during that race, that race or finishing that race is important to you and you are willing to not run for four, six, eight, 12 weeks afterwards if there's an actual problem and you, as a human with agency and free will, are completely allowed to make that decision.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean my first marathon. I at one point in the race it was Chicago, so good, shout out to our Chicago runners. I was stopped on the side of the road and my calves were completely seized up and I did not think that I was going to make it to the finish line. But there was a girl waiting for me at mile like 20, what six, 21, 21.

Speaker 1:

Well, I was. I was like between 20 and 21. And then I was at the. I was past that one yeah.

Speaker 2:

Because? Because I was sitting on the side of the road around mile 22. And then you were down the finishing straightaway and I knew that she was waiting down the finishing straightaway for me to come running through. So I had to figure out how to get my butt off of the ground and go another four miles to the finish line, because that's simply what had to happen and I didn't know what was going wrong with my calves and the problem was.

Speaker 1:

Did you actually think of me in that moment?

Speaker 2:

Yes, I knew that you were going to be down the final straightaway, and this is the thing is my head was not working properly. It didn't occur to me that there would literally be thousands of people and I didn't even know if you were going to be able to get near the fence, if I could see you down the final straightaway. But in my head there were going to be like 10 people down the final straightaway and one of them was going to be Angie. Like in my head, this was going to be like a high school cross country race and you're just going to be like who go? And that's not what happened. There were thousands of people down the final straightaway. But, yeah, at mile 22, I'm like, okay, my calves are completely wrecked and I am going to hobble around for a week after this, but we got four more miles to go, so get up and start moving forward.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, and so I think that that's important to know is what's the point right and how do you think you should be feeling if it's? Is it a race? Is it a workout? Is it an easy run? Like, if you're feeling a bunch of discomfort on an easy run and the point of that workout is supposed to be an easy run, you might want to stop. You know, you might want to add more walking breaks, you might want to just forgo the run that day and be like, Nope, this is not happening today. This is too uncomfortable. I can't keep this a level two. I'm just going to like this is this one? This one's not happening today.

Speaker 2:

And I mean that often happens when you have outside physical, mental stress is coming in and it's supposed to be an easy day, and just it feels physically exhausting to put your running clothes on, let alone then lace them up and head out the door. If it can't be an easy run when it's supposed to be an easy run, that might be time for an off day.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, exactly, and so it's just it's important to know what, how it should be feeling for you. How bad does it hurt? And then what's the point of the workout and how much am I willing to push through now, knowing that there may or may not be physical consequences? If there is physical consequences, if this is actual pain and this is going to cause a problem for me, is it a good idea for me to keep pushing? Is it a bad idea for me to keep pushing? What do I want to do in this situation? And our hope is that this episode has Shine some light on some of those differences so that you can make that decision more well informed.

Speaker 2:

Yes, yes, because an informed decision is what you want. Like we're not saying that you have to shy away from pain. What we're saying is that if you're in a hard race, a hard workout, that in all likelihood what you're feeling is Painful soreness, but it's probably soreness, and if you keep pushing it might lead to pain for a few days afterwards. But if the race really matters, if the workout is super important and you think that you've got to get this thing done, you probably can step up and overcome a lot more than you think you can right, and that goes back to what the point of your current training cycle also right.

Speaker 1:

Are you just building fitness, are you running for health or are you training for performance in a specific Performance type of goal? Those are different types of mindsets for you to be, and if you are training for overall health, it doesn't matter if you take a couple days off. It might be better for you to take a couple days off. If you are training for a specific performance goal, you might not want to take those days off, or you might want to take those days off because it might benefit your performance in the long run. So it's again, this is a very individualized thing and it but hopefully you now have more information to make the decision that is right for you.

Speaker 2:

This is an excellent episode.

Speaker 1:

Glad you liked it. I really wish you guys so About. I don't know 30 minutes in or 25 minutes in. We had an excellent discussion about stiffness and fixer cells and Inflammation and all sorts of stuff and then I realized that we had been talking for six minutes, over six minutes, and not recording.

Speaker 2:

So there were so many good jokes and I apologize that they're gone.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean, maybe they were only funny to us, though, so maybe they're gonna like this episode better.

Speaker 2:

You know what a lot of jokes that I tell are only funny to me and I'm okay with that.

Speaker 1:

But, as always you guys, if you enjoyed this episode, please share it with a friend, and if you haven't yet, please leave us a review. On Apple podcast, you can hit pause right now. If you're in the middle of a run, just hit pause. It'll only take you about 30 to 60 seconds. Go to that podcast app, scroll down the page to where you see the ratings and reviews, tap on write a review and then give us five stars and tell us what you enjoyed about the episode so that we can Continue to make episodes that will benefit you and all the other runners out there that are trying to run their life. So, as always, thanks for spending this time with us today. This has been the real life runners podcast, episode number 328. Now get out there and run your life.

Pain, Fatigue, Soreness in Running
Understanding Fatigue in Running
Understanding and Dealing With Muscle Soreness
Understanding Stiffness and Soreness
Understanding Muscle Soreness and Pain
Managing Discomfort and Recognizing Serious Pain
Understanding Pain and Pushing Through
Pause, Review, and Continue