Pain is your friend and a personal guide to listen to and you need to listen to it just as you would listen to a person who is a friend. It communicates with you, it can help you in many ways.
The term “No Pain, No Gain” is a term that gets misused a lot. Yes, it’s true that to get stronger and faster you may have to push through some discomfort or pain to go beyond what you thought was possible for yourself. In fact, there is an awesome book called “How Bad Do You Want It” where the author sites that in scientific studies with athletes pushing hard in a sports event, the brain signals to back off because of pain or discomfort but in reality the athlete can have as much as 40% more to give.
It’s important as an athlete to test your limits in a smart and safe way to get stronger and faster. Where the “No Pain, No Gain” slogan does not work is when you feel like you may have an injury. If your body is giving you pain signals that you may have hurt yourself, it really is NOT wise to push through and keep training. This kind of pain is your body giving you feedback to pay attention to the problem. If you listen and back off, tell your coach about it or get an evaluation from a physical therapist or other sports professional you can usually fix the issue rather than pushing through and ultimately making it worse.
I use a number scale for myself and my athletes. You can have an injury and still train. Doing nothing is actually really bad advice (more on that later) The pain just needs to be a 5 or less on a 1-10 pain scale. One, is zero pain, 10 is something is broken or torn. With a five or less, you can do good pre-hab exercises and dynamic stretching and or foam rolling so you can still train. If the pain gets higher than a five, you stop! If it stays less than five, or ideally getting back to zero, you can keep training. Stress plus rest equals growth…
Another book recommendation;
Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success
Erinne Guthrie is a USA Triathlon Level II Certified Coach since 1999 and Chief Motivating Officer at Full Circle Coaching, LLC since 2010. She has been training, racing and coaching triathletes since 1997 and is currently taking a recovery year after two consecutive years racing at Long and Short Course World Championships. She is also a CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level 3, USMS Master’s Swim Coach, Motivational Speaker, Mom and much much more.
Full Circle Coaching
Where Performance Meets Balance