Quick Tip: Knowing the Difference Between Pain and Soreness

In last week’s quick tip post, I talked about the importance of listening to what your body is trying to tell you.

But what happens if you’re not exactly sure WHAT your body is trying to tell you?

No message from your body is more confusing, especially to new runners, than the difference between pain and soreness.

What is the Difference Between Pain and Soreness?

If only this were an easy question to answer.

Knowing the Difference Between Pain and Soreness

Knowing the Difference Between Pain and Soreness

Trying to define what constitutes pain and what constitutes soreness is like asking someone what constitutes pretty and what constitutes ugly.

In short, it’s going to be different for every individual.

That said, when you’re feeling discomfort before, during, or after a run, how would you describe it?

Sharp? Intense? On fire? Burning? Throbbing?

Achey? Stiff? Tight? Dull? Lingering? Heavy? Dead?

The first group of words are the type of adjectives more often used when describing pain, and the second set is much more likely to describe soreness.

Knowing the Difference Between Pain and Soreness is Important

Why does it matter?

You shouldn’t try to run through pain. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is legitimately wrong, and if you keep running odds are you’re going to make the situation worse.

And you don’t want to do that.

If you’re dealing with pain during or after a run, take a few days off and reassess the situation. And if you need/want a second opinion, let’s talk and I’ll see what I can do to help.

But if you’re just dealing with soreness, you’re probably ok to push through (if you want) without worrying about doing any additional damage.

That said, you may want to dial back the intensity and/or shorten the distance of that day’s workout. The soreness is your body’s way of telling you that you it’s still recovering after a previous workout, so it is definitely prudent to not push too hard if you are pretty sore.

Still Confused?

Go ahead and press play below, and I’ll get into a few more things to consider when it comes to the difference between pain and soreness for runners.



How Do You Define the Difference Between Pain and Soreness for Yourself?

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