Couch to 5K
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Wk7 R2 - Successfully Slow - Niggles best not ignored

That balance we need to strike between putting up with some discomfort and taking care to avoid being laid up with injuries is something I'm having to try and strike again.

For a while now, I've had a tight right hip whenever I wake up (and numb toes to various degrees), but all that goes away when I get up and active. If I sit in this chair at the desk, I can sometimes feel the niggles coming back, but if I get up it'll ease, and if I go for a run it'll all vanish and become comfortable.

Now from what my online research has led me to so far, this kind of thing is often a "weakest link in the chain" effect. From the tips of one's toes to the base of one's skull, all the moving parts are interconnected, and interactive. So sometimes your sore back is actually the result of your knee problem, in concrete terms. The knee gives warnings you don't detect, your chain of bones, muscles and tendons all accommodate those knee warnings, and a few steps up the chain the back gives in, unable to do what's needed.

Well in my case, I have the feeling that my left knee has been giving in a way that puts a corrective strain on my right hip. Result: Those muscles end up wanting to stiffen up when they rest after over-work. Maybe. I'm not even an experienced runner, let alone a physiotherapist. What has definitely happened is as that hip has improved over time, my left knee is beginning to "talk to me". I wouldn't even call it pain, yet, but something's not completely tickety boo there.

I'm a bit paranoid about that knee, because it's the one that once gave me black pain, the like of which I've never again experienced. I got water on the knee, and for a while my patella lay at 90 degrees from its normal position, straight up instead of flat. That was a long time ago, and it's actually the other knee (which someone drove straight into the ground just before some tryline, many years ago) that has given whatever knee problems I've had. Anyway, at this stage I need to be careful of that knee, lest it go from niggly to injured on me.

So, having become wiser by mixing here with you folk, I decided to take this run much easier. I went up my friendlier hill, taking care to keep those joints moving in a straight line, and not pushing too much; I went down the other side with enormous restraint instead of bounding off to reap my reward for climbing; and I finished on a chugg in which my attention was again all on making sure that the motions were not harmful. As a result I was quite a lot less tired than I've lately been, once it was all done. The care taken made me a bit stiff (as in tensed up), so there was no sprint left in me at the end, but even though I ended more tired, recovery came very quickly.

So it was a slow run, with which I'm well pleased, if not quite as delighted as something more reckless would have made me. If this helps with the niggles, I'll carry on this way; if they persist, I'll back it off a bit more; if they get worse, I might even go and take a preemptive visit to a physio. Hopefully by run 3 I'll be throwing this cramped caution to the wind, and go flying over the roads. I definitely feel a lot more comfortable now, some hours after the run, than I usually would be.

6 Replies

Glad to hear you're taking your body seriously and thinking through the situation. Don't feel diminished by running slow, though. A good run doesn't have to be a fast run, especially if it's a training run or a run for fitness. Slow runs are an important part of your running schedule, as it improves your aerobic metabolism - just make sure you run at a pace that keeps your heartrate and breathing at a non-elevated level.


Now you mention it, I would say that although I probably had elevated heartrate and breathing (I mean somewhere over where I'd imagine the "non-elevated-border" lies) they were quite a lot down on what they normally are. Certainly right now, long after it's all over, I'm glad I have less aches and pains.


cannot recommend this book (and the websote highly enough.

The 'X-bone/muscle/ligament connected to the Y...' thing is something I nver cease to become more aware of on my fitness/injury journey.


Thanks. I've bookmarked it.


You're absolutely right about everything being connected. I occasionally go into my chiropractor telling her that my lower back is stiff, for example, and she'll tell me that actually it's my neck that's the problem, and by the way, have I been having headaches over my left eye? Erm... yes. I wouldn't have mentioned those because I wouldn't have connected them with a lower back pain. She gets extremely annoyed when I mutter that it's black magic and tells me that it's years of training, exams and experience.

Glad you are finding the slower pace more comfortable and helping with the niggles for now. Hopefully as you say they will improve but if not, definitely investigate more so that you can get it sorted before it becomes a bigger problem. Happy running :)


Well the slower run led to reduced post run soreness, but going to bed still makes that hip go stiff. If it was just the muscle stiffness, I think I'd just wait it out, because it's really not that bad. However, I also get numbness in the feet, and sometimes the leg, and that's not something to leave be too long. I think this afternoon I must see if I can see a physio. My doctor's on holiday at the moment, but at least I can get started with having this checked by someone professional.

I was a bit of an idiot. On the day of my checkup, recently, everything was fine, so I forgot to mention this.

Looks like the worst case is that it's a disc herniating and pinching a nerve in some postures, but that the sciatic nerve is probably a likelier suspect. But stop playing doctor, Gary! Go and get the bloody thing checked out by someone who knows about these things!

Thanks, you guys.


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